The Journey of Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous, in 30 Days
Twentieth in a Series
January 2, 2016
I Can’t Drive 55!
It is time to return to our regularly scheduled programming after the late breaking news on Fabulous Phillip interrupted the journey of his healing. The story continues…
“How about it, boy?” Paul asked Phillip as he fished through his pockets for car keys, “Do you want to go for a ride today?” Everyone knew what those words meant and soon the whole gang was packed tightly around the man in hopes they would be the chosen few. Phillip had never been “for a ride”, but understood that it was something that caused his canine friends a great deal of excitement. He joined the varied yips with deep howls and playful jumps of his own. “Go for ride! Go for ride!” Gracie Bird added just in case one of the pack had not noticed. They each barked pleading their case, “Pick me! PICK ME! I’m here! ME, ME, ME! What about Loki?” Everyone chimed in except Cindy Lou who noticed the still warm vacated chair that would be perfect for an extended morning nap. Paul’s hands slowly produced the hidden keys from the searched pocket with a jingle that could only mean, “Let’s go!” Three dogs rushed into the garage before the door closed. The rest reported back to me with increased determination to convince me to open that door and give them another chance at a ride. All was forgiven when homemade “liver doodle” snacks were distributed. Cindy Lou demanded her treat be served room service style with her mournful Bassett wail. They soon forgot the car driving away and thought themselves winners as they chomped the liver flavored delicacy.
Surrounded by my books of herbal remedies, the memory of Phillip’s scarred flesh lingered in my mind with the sick realization of the sad life he once knew. I found it difficult to concentrate as I envisioned that trusting vulnerable tummy exposed for a loving stroke and receiving the sting of a burning cigarette instead. My eyes could not focus on the words for the tears that filled them. The sound of the phone ringing broke my concentration.
“Hello,” I answered thrilled to hear from our friendly local shaman. “I just thought I’d wish you a happy New Year and “check up” on you both,” Kit replied. It is uncanny how she always just happened to know when to “check up” on us. “What ideas do you have for Phillip’s latest problem?” I pressed her while blurting out the cigarette damage story. As always, she emphasized that God “the Creator” provides for us as she asked cryptic questions about the plants that “just happened” to grow in our yard. I was convinced that those weeds were God given Phillip pharmaceuticals by the end of the conversation. I thanked her and the plants as I got busy on another homemade concoction.
“Woof, Woof, Woof,” barked Bone-it-a heralding the approach of the dog filled 1996 Honda Civic complete with human chauffeur. The door to the garage opened as three dogs rushed in and two rushed out to greet the man who tried to remain upright while balancing coffee cups in both hands. The dog pack circled, barked, and sniffed each other sharing the sights and stories of the latest adventure. “Have you become a two fisted coffee drinker?” I asked viewing the cups from Starbucks and Daylight Donuts that Paul gripped during the dog chaos. “As you can see, I had a bit of a mishap,” Paul replied looking down to his shirt. A coffee stain from a recent spill was visible.
“I will need your help before taking Phillip on any more rides,” Paul explained. “I opened the car window at Starbucks to get my drink, and Phillip jumped out! The man in the pickup truck parked behind me rushed out to help me catch him. We ran all over the place trying to corral him until Phillip noticed a full figured babe in the form of a Mastiff sitting in the front seat of the same man’s truck. He hopped right into the truck and made a move on that lovely lady,” he continued. I laughed, “So, you’re telling me that Cindy Lou is no longer the object of his desire.” I imagined the scene complete with canine passengers cheering their approval of the events that opportunistic Phillip had enjoyed as the humans pursued him. Even in my mind, the noise from the car must have been deafening. With a smile Paul continued, “After all that chasing around, I thought I’d better do something to get their attention and settle them down. I went over to McDonald’s next door and got one of those $1 sausage breakfast sandwiches. I thought that I’d tear off some pieces for treats to get their focus. I had broken off small bites for everyone and was ready to take just a taste for myself when I found the rest of the sandwich missing. It had somehow vanished in mid-air between my hand and my mouth.” “Who would do a thing like that?” I questioned. “Someone was trying to help you with your resolution to eat better,” I added in defense. Phillip burped. The smell of sausage filled the room.
“Phillip hasn’t been given the chance to associate car rides with fun times since memories of being tossed out the window and getting poked by vets are probably still present. I’ll get some treats and go with you to the Humane Society for Animals. There is a storm coming tonight, and I imagine they could use some help winterizing the place. Let’s go!” I said justifying another errand. “Yep, a storm’s a brewing!” Paul chimed in satisfied with the plan.
Bribed with “liver doodles” and kind words, Phillip climbed tentatively into my lap in the front seat as we got ready to go. I noticed that black and white peach fuzz had replaced the mangy scabs that were washed down the shower drain with his first bath. He felt as soft as a velveteen rabbit surrounded in a halo of newness. Touching his baby downy fur was addictive. I don’t know who enjoyed the ride more, Phillip or me.
All the shelter volunteers were introduced to Phillip, who praised him with words, treats, and tears. As beautiful as he was becoming to us, his past was still visible to them. Despite the kindness that surrounded him, Phillip also noted the desperate sounds from dogs missing families they once knew…unsure why they now lived here. Others were happy and ready to move on into their new lives after being cared for and loved…maybe for the first time. We placed Phillip back into the car and quickly went to work helping these animals in transition get warm and comfortable for the coming cold snap.
“Why look who learned how to drive!” Paul said approaching the car with Phillip sitting proudly in the driver’s seat and munching on something. I opened my door to find the crumbs from newly emptied bag of Daylight Donuts. The memory of the emblem on the second coffee cup returned. “I wonder what a bag of donuts is doing in Phillip’s seat?” I teased. “Perhaps, he is helping you keep that New Year’s resolution.” Paul’s face flushed as his secret life was exposed. Yes, indeed he did have a sweet tooth. “I just wanted to show Phillip to Suzette at the donut shop, and I had to buy something,” he justified. Suzette had adopted a cocker spaniel and shared her dog stories with us. We knew so much about her dog through her tales that we felt like family. “I hid those donuts under the seat really well. I don’t know how he found them. You didn’t think that I was planning on eating them, did you?” Paul explained away sheepishly. Phillip burped again!
From that day on, Phillip never had another problem riding in cars. Phillip felt he was a much needed member of “team Paul” with a very important job. He was always the first in line for rides and ever ready to dispose of any remnants from the man’s hidden stash of sweets before that gluten free, no sugar vegetarian could discover his secret.