The Journey of Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous in 30 days
Seventh in a Series
December 23, 2015
So Be Good for Goodness Sake!
Arf…Arf…Arf…The noise of a rhythmic monotone barking resounded in the background of my dream. Arf…Arf…Arf…The sound persisted without variance like the metered measures controlled by a metronome. Arf…Arf…Arf… “What is that sound?” I found myself asking the metronome that barked. This was no dream. This was our guest Weasley, the yellow lab, announcing his desire to reenter the house. Arf…Arf…Arf… I exited the guest room to see about our good friend.
At that moment, the brothers bounced the door from the garage open with gusto announcing Paul’s entrance with excited barks. He was holding a Starbuck’s coffee. “They made me do it!” He looked at the addictive drink in his hand as he said this. “They demanded that I take them for a car ride, and Gracie Bird’s comments didn’t help matters any.” I had heard this story before, rolling my eyes in response. “How’s Kim?” I asked referring to the cheerful Starbucks employee that always hands him the coffee. Kim once helped organize a very successful adoption event at Starbucks. “She loves the little Chihuahua mix that she adopted and everyone’s fine,” he replied. Paul spent so much time at Starbucks I felt related to the staff. They always tried to have a treat for the dogs at the drive thru and address them by name.
“Where’d ya go last night?” Paul asked. “Was I snoring?” “How would I know?” I replied. “I was up into the wee hours playing musical chairs with the dogs until everyone found a spot where they wanted to sleep. It just happened that Thor, your physical therapist’s dog, wanted to sleep on my pillow.” “It’s only for a week,” he jovially reminded me. “A week…I can do a week,” I thought looking over at the happy springer spaniel.
Arf…Arf…Arf…Weasley’s pulsating sounds brought me back to my forgotten mission. Weasley Poole was bouncing like a spring at the kitchen door. Arf…Arf…Arf…The sound punctuated each jump. In came the ecstatic Labrador and out went “the brotherhood” with Phillip following closely behind.
Once outside, Stan the Man went back to the mole tunnel excavation project. The digging distracted Bone-it-a, the large Pyrenes, from her patrol duty along the perimeter of the fence. She left her post to help out with some much needed “girl power”. Stanley graciously accepted her assistance as she added some mighty muscle to the process. Rocks, leaves, grass, soil, and loose fur went flying under her determined “Rosie the Riveter” take charge attitude. Soon both dog’s heads were engaged not only in concentration, but hidden in a knee deep hole just waiting for an accident to happen.
Loki, the small Pyrenes, was stationed under the bird feeder buffet ready to ambush the rotund squirrel should it dare show its fluffy tail. When he noticed that the larger Pyrenes had ceased guard duty, he took charge of the vacated post.
Phillip bee-lined it to the spot that he had buried the bowl of potato soup yesterday. He solemnly carried the freshly unearthed encrusted soup bowl in his mouth to the ever deepening communal dig. Paul said,” Look at that! Phillip wants to give that potato soup of yours a proper burial. I told you he wasn’t a vegetarian!” “Enough with the vegetarian jokes, you meat eater!” I countered.
A jogger raced down the road. Loki gave an excited warning bark making himself sound fierce as the rest of the pack rushed to Loki’s aid adding to the chorus. The valley eerily amplified the echoed barking sounds. The jogger took notice and sped up. In the midst of the chaos, Cindy Lou, the Bassett, slept undisturbed in the sunshine. “That’ll teach that jogger what happens when you run down our road!” Loki’s bark made certain.
Phillip felt more comfortable outside than indoors since that is where he had lived most of his life until now. We were also very aware of the sensitive nature of his naked skin to the elements. His outdoor time would be limited over the next few weeks. To make his indoor stay more inviting, we hid enticing hotdog treats in his crate. He was allowed free access to the kitchen since baby gates kept entrances secured from other rooms ensuring the safety of the parrot and cats. Phillip seemed to like heading straight to the crate to check for tasty gifts throughout the day. The blankets were changed often to help keep his skin cleaner as it healed. If we left the house, he went into his safe zone…the “man cave”.
Paul must have gotten a whiff of the bedding as he said temptingly, “I know where we can find a really good air freshening candle at the vet’s office. Let’s give Phillip his breakfast in the crate and get you that candle!” “Phillip,” I called. “Get in this house!” Across the yard Phillip rushed toward me, proudly carrying the potato soup bowl in all its dirty splendor gently placing it in his crate…his special place, and tucking it out of view under clean blankets.
The awareness of what had just happened floored us both. Phillip cherished this bowl…not for the potato soup, but because I had given it to him. For an animal that had known so few luxuries in his life, this bowl was his treasure. It was the only thing that he could call his own, and he wanted to keep it safe. The act meant nothing to me at that moment when I handed it to him, but it meant everything to him. It was his way of knowing he was worthy. Someone thought enough of him to give him “a bowl.” This bowl was filled with something that I was eating. To a dog their food dish is an insurance of survival, and a food deprived dog does not share its food with others. I had unknowingly let this rejected, homeless, mange ridden, mixed breed mutt know that he mattered to me with that simple act.
I looked at the creature that had never known love, yet had not given up hope. He was trying so hard to fit into our family and please us. Phillip was happy with so little in return. “Imagine cherishing a soup bowl because it came from me,” I thought as I felt humbled by his devotion. His past people had given up on Phillip, but Phillip had not given up on people! I knew that no gift would ever be taken for granted by Phillip. “I bet he didn’t get many toys of his own in his past,” Paul stated with a concerned expression. “Well, that’s going to change!” I told Phillip as I stroked his scab covered head. “This year you made the “Nice” list and Santa Claus is coming to town!”