A Month of Love #18

Paula Light says, “Let’s celebrate the month of lurve (aka love) by posting one thing we love every day throughout February.

Now the truth is that I’m not really a romantic guy, so I might be hard pressed to come up with 28 objects of love, but I think I should be able to come up with 28 things I like a lot.

Today is a double love post. First, there’s Ocean Beach, which was just three miles from where we used to live in San Francisco. We would often ride our bikes there from our house, or drive if we were feeling lazy. Or, if we were feeling really energetic and ambitious, we would occasionally walk there.Second, our dog, who we lost this past fall. We loved her dearly and she loved for us to take her to Ocean Beach, where we would toss her ball into the surf and she would jump in, retrieve it, bring it back to us, and drop it at our feet — again and again until either she or we were exhausted.

I loved living so close to the ocean and I loved our dog. We can still take an occasional drive to Ocean Beach, but not with our dog anymore. 😢

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

This is a true story, the memory of which was triggered by this Morguefile photo that is featured in Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. So apologies in advance to Roger, as this is not a flash fiction tale, and it does not fit within his suggested 200 word limit. But I think this story may be worth telling.

The incident took place maybe around fifteen years ago when I let our dog out in our backyard dog run for his last bathroom break of the night. He apparently smelled something that required him to go investigate.

Hearing his exciting barking, I hurried over to see what had attracted him and saw that he had cornered a skunk and the skunk was not a happy camper.

Knowing what was about to happen, I reached out to grab my dog to pull him out of harm’s way.

Too little, too late. The two of us got sprayed.

I lifted the poor dog and carried all 70 pounds of him into the house, frantically calling out to my wife, “We got sprayed.” I asked her to Google what to do when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk.

I grabbed a few towels from the laundry room and started to pat down the hapless dog. My wife came back from her Google search saying that we needed to bathe him in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid. She also said some sites mentioned tomato juice and vinegar. “But all we have in the house is the dishwashing liquid and vinegar,” she pointed out.

Reluctantly, I drove to the grocery store to get tomato juice, peroxide, and baking soda. The good news was that it was 9 p.m. and there weren’t very many people in the grocery store. The bad news was that those who were there looked at me in horror and moved away from me as quickly as they could. Having just been sprayed by a skunk, I stunk terribly.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

When I got home, my wife and I bathed the dog in the mixture of ingredients. Twice, in fact. Unfortunately, there was no salvaging the clothes we were wearing or any of the towels we had used to dry the dog. Those were tossed into a large trash bag for disposal.

I spent the next half hour scrubbing myself down in the shower, trying as best I could to get the stink off of me.

Our dog recovered from his skunk encounter, although whenever it rained and his fur got wet, even years later, the faint smell of skunk would return.

Post-Surgery Instructions

The veterinarian told us to be sure to keep the protective cone collar on our dog for two weeks after the operation in order to prevent her from gnawing and picking at the area where the surgery had been done. He said that no matter how eager we might be to take the collar off, we should exercise patience and abide by his instructions to not remove the collar for the full two weeks.

It was hard to keep the cone collar on our dear dog, especially at night when she couldn’t get comfortable. We figured at night she’d mostly be sleeping anyway, so we decided to remove the collar in the hope that she…and we…could get some sleep.

Fast-forward one week, when we were back at the vets so he could treat the infection around the surgical site. He looked at and chastised us for not following his instructions to the letter.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Just Jot It January prompt, where the word is “letter.” Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (operation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (gnaw), Word of the Day Challenge (picking), Your Daily Word Prompt (eager), The Daily Spur (patience), and MMA Storytime (fast-forward).

Pet Pourri

“What the hell, Ellen?” John said as he walked into the family room. “There are two kittens in our bedroom. Would you mind telling me what’s going on?”

Ellen clicked her tongue. “Oh, don’t get your bowels into an uproar, John,” she said calmly. “Mrs. Ferguson from down the street, well, her cat had kittens and she came over today and said, knowing that we don’t have any pets, perhaps we might like one.”

“But there are two there,” John said.

“I know,” Ellen cooed. “Aren’t they the cutest little kitties you’ve ever seen? And you know we’ve been talking about getting a pet. It’s serendipity, isn’t it?

“First of all, Ellen,” John said, “I never agreed to us getting a pet. Second, if we were to get a pet, my preference would be to get a dog, not a cat, much less two. I hate cats.”

“But John,” Ellen said, “dogs require much more work. They need to be taken out for walks all the time. But you’re never around, what with all the traveling you do for your job and the long hours you work when you’re not on the road. So the task of walking the dog would fall upon me. The wisdom of having kittens is that they’re much easier to take care of. They somehow automatically know how to use a litter box and you never have to take them out in the freezing cold of winter or the heat and humidity of summer for them to do their business.”

“Well, the answer is simple, then, Ellen,” John said. “I don’t want a pet and I certainly don’t want any cats underfoot. So call up Mrs. Ferguson and tell her to take back her damn kittens.”

“I refuse,” Ellen firmly stated. “You’re never home, we don’t have any kids, and I want — no I need — these kitties for company and to take care of. I’m not giving them back.”

John shook his head. “Fine,” he said,” consider my letting you keep these kittens to be my propine to you. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to clean up their litter box.”

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (tongue), Ragtag Daily Prompt (kitties), Your Daily Word Prompt (serendipity), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (preference), MMA Storytime (wisdom), Word of the Day Challenge (propine).

“Propine” is a word I’d never heard before, but according to the Word of the Day Challenge prompt, it means to offer as a present or a gift. Were it not for that word prompt, my last sentence would have read, “…consider my letting you keep these kittens to be my gift to you.”

First Line Friday — Meant to Be

The black dog followed them home. Eric knew this would be trouble. He and his wife, Rhonda, had lost their beloved black shepherd/Lab mix, Shadow, in November and Rhonda had begun talking about getting another dog. But Eric was dead set against it. “Having a dog will tie us down, Ronda,” he argued. “We finally have the freedom now to travel and go where we want for however long we want to go any time we wish to.”

“We’re in the middle of a goddam pandemic,” Rhonda argued back. “They’re ordering us to stay home and leave only when it’s essential. So where is it that you think we’re going to go?”

As they approached their house, Rhonda looked back to see the dog stop and look at her with its sad, brown eyes. She leaned down and motioned for the dog to come forward, which it slowly and cautiously did. “Look, Eric,” she said. “No collar, no tags.” Getting down on her knees, she hugged the dog and the dog rewarded Rhonda by licking her face. “We can’t just leave this sweet dog out here. It’s starting to get dark and it’s supposed to get down into the thirties tonight.”

Eric knew his wife well enough to know that there was no point in arguing. “Fine,” he said, “we’ll bring this mangy mutt in, give it some food and water, and we can take it to the vet tomorrow to have it checked out. But then we have to find out if he’s anybody’s pet dog and, if so, to see if they’re looking for him.”

Rhonda smiled, “It’s a her, Eric, and she looks so much like our Shadow, doesn’t she? It was meant to be, Eric.”

Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where the first line is “The black dog followed them home.”