Wet, Cold and Afraid

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The stray Mr. Biggles

The all-grown-up musician son rings at 12.30 a.m.

Which, despite him being all grown up, always makes Dad’s heart miss a beat.

“Dad, there’s this little white dog running around in the street in the rainstorm by the Watercare plant. He has a collar on. What do you think I should do?”

Father and son over the years have had many conversations like this. Pretty much always, we agree that “something has to be done”.

And, usually, we end up doing it, because ain’t nobody else interested.

So Junior brings home said dog, who is wet, cold and a bit nervous. But he’s no dummy.

Warm is Good

He immediately grasps that being in our warm, dry basement, complete with years and years of doggy smells, is WAY better than being out in the storm.

Even though the pooch seems happy, Dad is cautious, and explains to Junior EXACTLY how you should handle a stray dog, so that you don’t spook him and get bitten.

The full-grown professional musician, as per always, accuses Dad of being paranoid and “thinking you know way more about dogs than you really do, just saying, so don’t get all offended.”

Then Junior does about 93 things that my sister and niece (Dog Whisperers, both) have taught me that you should never do with a scared, stray dog – things like grab their tail, point at them, or put your face near the dog’s and make squishy-squeaky sounds).

Innate Good

But, of course, the pooch senses Junior has a heart of gold, so all is good.

In fact, said dog soon thinks he hit the lottery because, heh, having two people scratch your ears and back and dirty tummy, in a warm dry dog-friendly room beats the absolutely crap out of being scared and alone in a thunderstorm.

All settled in, Dad decides to call the police. No help. Just a worthless loop recording.

Dad then calls the Humane Society. Their unhelpful message basically says, “Look, why are you calling us at this hour! We are a volunteers. We are ONLY available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Who do you think you are ringing us now??? DON’T YOU DARE call Doreen unless it is between 9-4. We are all freaking volunteers for crying out loud, and we work from our OWN PERSONAL HOMES! And don’t even think about leaving a message because you can’t.” Click.

As a last resort, Dad checks the city council website, which, historically, has been about as helpful as teats on a boar hog.

I search for “what do you do with a stray dog?”, and up pops helpful information including, you will not believe this, a phone number that is staffed 24 hours a day.

Soon I am speaking to Lonnie, who thanks Junior and me profusely for taking in the stray terrier who, I advise, very much likes to have his ears and tummy rubbed and to be dried with a fluffy towel. Lonnie promises to send an animal control officer within the hour.

So I happily go back down to the rumpus room, which is now heated to a toasty 115 degrees. Father and son chat about guy stuff while jointly drying and massaging and scratching the terrier, who thinks he has died and gone to doggy heaven.

Junior and Dad decide to get off the cold concrete floor and into the recliners.

Not THAT Friendly

Because we are all best friends by now, the toasty-warm terrier gets a gleam in his eye, smiles with his big terrier teeth and decides that now is the perfect time to chest hump Dad.

Not so much.

Dad stands straight up, and the happily humping terrier falls to the floor, only to immediately bounce into Junior’s chair to begin his pecker dance anew.

Junior, of course, does exactly the WRONG thing – shouting and forcing the terrier down — which, of course, works a treat. The terrier parks his pecker and behaves himself.

We’ve been waiting about 90 minutes when I hear the Crack Puppy go ballistic upstairs in the master bedroom, spraying the entire perimeter with her Gatling Gun retort:

Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark

Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark

Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark

And she can keep this up for hours, perhaps days, seemingly without breathing.

It is a gift. Or something.

The Crack Puppy has come unglued because the Council Dog Warden, at 1.45a.m., decided to walk right up, without calling, and bang on the front door. (Note: this thrilled the Missus no end.)

It breaks my heart when the happy, horny, terrier – who by now I am calling ‘Mr. Biggles’ – immediately hunches down in the dark street and looks so afraid as the warden deposits him into the truck cage.

She drives away thanking us, and promising to find his owner.

Even so, we keep wondering whether we did the right thing with Mr. Biggles.

If Junior had left him alone, would he have returned safely home? Or been run over in the downpour?

You never know about these things. You can only do what you think is right.

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