The Journey of Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous, in 30 Days
Fifteenth in a Series
December 30, 2015
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News!
The holiday spa for animals officially closed its doors for the season as Weasley and Thor returned home to their families. When the two vacationing canine house guests vacated the premises, the impact they had on our lives was noticeable. There was the silence of “no Weasley” outside the door rhythmically yipping with every bounce to wake me. As I descended the stairs, I missed the racing blurred shadowed forms of the black friends brushing against me. Exhausted animals slept late as I busied myself looking for extracted stuffed toy squeakers that no longer littered the floors. It was as if they had come and gone leaving nothing but happy memories of their time spent with us this Christmas of 2015.
I was not the only one that felt the absence of these travelers. Phillip arrived here only hours before the canine tourists and immediately accepted them as part of this new family. With his nose to the floor, Phillip was in a full blown search mode as he followed the invisible Thor trail. Up the stairs he went with his tail wagging happily knowing that he would sniff the missing friends out of hiding. Instead he found the cushion, formerly known as my pillow, that had supported a sleeping Thor during the past week. He let out a small whimper as his search proved fruitless.
Climbing over a sleeping Cindy Lou, he rested himself on the back of her chair. Cindy Lou was not bothered by Phillip’s attention these days now that he was getting the homemade food to supplement the dry chow. Phillip always ate with gusto occasionally pushing small bits of food from his bowl. Perhaps he did this on purpose to gain Cindy Lou’s affection since Cindy Lou was ready, willing, and able to tidy up his spills. She had become ever so tolerant of his tasty presence in her family. As far as she was concerned, wherever Phillip went good things followed. He had won her heart with kibble.
Phillip gazed out the window with the expectation of seeing his missing pals standing in the lawn or rounding the corner from a romp. Instead he spied Paul coming toward the house with the morning newspaper and something wet. Forgetting all about his troubles, he greeted Paul with his wiggles and wags like he had been gone days rather than minutes. “Look what I found outside,” Paul said holding up Weasley’s still saturated ball. “Let’s put this away until his next visit,” he said. Without missing a beat, Phillip took the ball from Paul and hid it under his crate’s blankets for safekeeping until the senior citizen could return to claim it. Phillip was glad to be the chosen caretaker of another treasure.
Weasley’s ball represented everything that was delightful and joyous in the world of “WOOF!” Truly, Weasley was never unhappy in its bouncy round presence. The object was having the same effect on Phillip. “I can’t believe Weasley would leave his ball behind,” I said thoughtfully. Paul smiled down at the contented pup. “What if all life’s problems could be resolved with a game of fetch?” I concluded. We watched the transformation as the magic of the ball cast its spell over the once anxious Phillip. Just maybe the wise old Labrador did “save the day” after all.
“I have an appointment for Bone-it-a today with the vet. Her ears are giving her trouble again,” Paul announced while placing the dog dishes in the sink that were thoughtfully prewashed by a helpful Cindy Lou. “Let’s take Phillip along to check his progress,” I suggested getting leashes for the two canines. “Go for Ride! Go for Ride!” Gracie Bird squawked. We barely grabbed our jackets before the rest of the sleepy heads nearly beat us to the door.
Bone-it-a came to us as a foster dog two years ago. Originally, we called her “Boney” because she was just a bag of bones. The huge toothless Pyrenes showed up weighting only forty-one pounds, and was hairless due to a severe flea allergy. She arrived on one of the coldest days of that winter and her survival without intervention was questionable. Little was known about her other than she was just another Benton County stray. Like the lady she was, she kept everyone guessing her real age. The only thing that could be agreed upon was that she was ancient. That was of course before she grew a full triple layered fur coat, developed a muscular athletic body, and went into heat. Bone-it-a wasn’t quite as old as we thought, but she’ll never tell.
The years of neglect resulted in an auto immune deficiency making her susceptible to chronic recurring ear infections. When the likelihood that she would never find an adoptive family of her own became a reality, the toothless, white haired, woman of questionable age was welcomed into our home just the way she was for the rest of her days. She proved herself useful by keeping all the mole tunnels excavated and patrolling the perimeter of the property with her formidable presence. “BEWARE ALL YOU TRESPASSERS AND MOLES! YOU WILL BE GUMMED! RUFF!” she said.
Doc stuck his head out of the exam room inviting the pair to join him. “Phillip weighted in at a solid fifty-one pounds and he still has some loose skin to grow into. That’s great for his first week. His whole demeanor has changed. Phillip has gone from a totally dejected animal to one that appears to be very happy now,” Doc continued. We beamed down at the crusty scabby skinned wonder like the proud foster parents we were. Paul grabbed my hand as he shot a smile in my direction. “Perhaps I should give Phillip’s new dietary protocol to Bone-it-a as well,” I suggested as we placed the dogs in the car.
“You know he has three strikes against him finding a home quickly, don’t you? He is black, a large mixed breed, and an adult. We know how many dogs just like Phillip get overlooked every day at shelters,” I stated solemnly. “It is such a shame since Phillip comes with so many good qualities that make him special. He deserves of a loving family of his own,” Paul continued nodding. “So, we think outside the box! We will make Phillip known worldwide! How does Phillip, the Fabulous, sound?” I said excitedly. “I’ll try to write a blog so that everyone will get to know him right along with us,” I said convincingly. “I will enroll him in a beginning level adult dog class to train him in the basics. Cultivating his intelligence and increasing his socialization skills will help open up more adoption opportunities,” Paul added. I laughed at our combined efforts.
Phillip, the Fabulous, sat enjoying the fresh air from the open car window as it filled him with the bright promise of a new life. Prayers for a family of his own were carried by the wind along with the white tufts of fluff that escaped from the 1996 Honda Civic. These next few weeks would certainly be a ride to remember.