The Journey of Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous, in 30 Days
Sixteenth in a Series
December 31, 2015
I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999
“Surely, I could build a blog site,” I thought to myself. “After all, I’d spent most of the past twenty years in the company of computers at my job,” I reasoned. Yes, I had indeed decided to write a blog to help Phillip find a forever home. “Build Your Own Free Website! Choose from Over Three Hundred Themes! Be Up and Going in an Afternoon!” were some of the statements advertised by the provider I’d chosen. Instead of being “up and going” in an afternoon, I had spent the past several days worked on this endeavor. I was completely stumped with such foreign ideas as tags and widgets. Overwhelmed by the vast assortment of backgrounds, styles, and available options, my head ached as I rethought the necessity of this latest blog scheme.
“How’s it goin’, hun?” Paul asked squeezing my tense shoulder reassuringly. “I just wanted to remind you that when I first started taking pictures of the dogs at the Humane Society for Animals to place on the Petfinder.com website, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a hard time figuring it out, too. Do you remember telling me that the dogs needed me to do this for them? Keep in mind that you are doing this for a really great dog named Phillip. He is with us as he transitions into his new life. Soon he will be ready for his forever family. What if those people are looking for him right now? I’ll leave you alone and take the brothers for a play date at the dog park.” The noise level exploded as Paul reached for his jacket. “The brotherhood” raced from their various resting stations around the house to rush the door for the promised playtime with excited voices. As usual, the barking intensified when Gracie Bird announced,” Go for ride! Go for ride!”
With his belly full of breakfast, Phillip napped in the crate surrounded by his treasures. I watched his over-sized marshmallow paws make running motions as pure joy crossed his face. What sweet dreams those dark chocolate eyes must be replaying! Perhaps he was enjoying his own play-date with his best friend, Thor. “Phillip, my boy, someday you’ll grow into those big feet,” I whispered not wanting to wake him.
Kind words, regular feedings, playful pals, and a few rag tag possessions were accepted with gratitude by this dog that had known nothing but hard times. He embraced the changes with the same gusto that he devoured his breakfast kibble. Phillip never looked back at his past, but eagerly plowed forward to his future. This sweet boy deserved my best efforts and I couldn’t give up.
I suppose when Leslie of Wheels on Meals Helena/ West Helena Dogs rescued him, she had no idea that he would wind up in Northwest Arkansas surrounded by our love. Even though she did not know how his future would unfold, she made an effort to change his present. Just like Leslie, Paul and I were somehow selected to become involved in this dog’s path, and we had no idea where that would lead us. We promised our home and help to remove the suffering from this animal and replace it with heaps of love. That “Phillip love” needed to be shared with the world to fulfill the plan that brought him here in the first place. The frustration I felt at building a website was replaced by the humbling honor of being chosen as a player in the wondrous metamorphosis of Phillip, the forgotten, to Phillip, the fabulous. With renewed determination, I saw for the first time a tab that led to a tutorial. The step by step instructions had always been there, but I needed to let my heart do the thinking to find them.
Sometime during the next few hours, Paul and the brothers returned smelling of foreign dogs that Phillip found intriguing. The pack yipped their stories of the afternoon’s adventures to a focused Phillip who sniffed each friend thoroughly as introductions with invisible playmates were imagined. Stan-the Man opened the door into the yard to share some new games with Phillip who following closely behind. As the boys exited, the music of excited barking was replaced by classic rock oldies when Paul found a suitable station. The festive rhythms filled every room creating a party atmosphere.
“Tap, Tap, Tap,” I heard a sound on the office door later that evening. I opened the door to find Phillip sitting with his very best proud look. His tail was swinging happily as it knocked against the barrier beckoning my attention. At that moment, I saw past the healing sores and patchy skin to the young man that glowed from within. The saggy skinned black body sported a white patch emblazoned down his chest and white feet that were much too big for the rest of him. He resembled a scrawny teenager that had borrowed his over-sized father’s tuxedo and spats to take his best girl to the prom. The rope toy was at his feet, and he nosed it in my direction like a young man that offered a box of candy to his gal.
“Why looky there!” Paul said. “He’s wondering if you have plans for New Year’s Eve. I think he wants to take you dancing,” Paul snickered as the sound of Prince’s “I’m Gonna Party Like it’s 1999” pulsed through the house. I picked up one end of the rope toy and Phillip took the other as a game of tug became a celebration dance. The rest of the pack rushed to join us as each dog took turns twirling around mom, dad, and their foster friend, Phillip…that is all except Cindy Lou. She continued sleeping in the chair. “Woo Hoo! Woo Hoo!” Gracie Bird enthusiastically added as this eclectic family wholeheartedly envisioned the uncharted yet wonderful future for Phillip as well as homeless dogs everywhere in 2016.