I did the unthinkable today.
I (almost) lost the dogs.
While they were procured by my wife and I, maintained by my wife and I, provided for by my wife and I, they belong to my daughter. I’ve written about her before (see http://www.acollisionoffaith.com “My Daughter, in whom I am well Pleased”).
Today, however, in my haste to go fishing, I failed to fully close the front door of our condo.
I had decided to ride my bike to a nice fishing spot and spend a few of my precious off duty hours fishing.
The dogs, who had spent the entire preceding day, sleeping in the back seat of the car while I drove to Tampa, frolicking on the beach, getting fed snacks by every person that saw them, and then sleeping on the way home, were unhappy with being left home for two hours, and decided to take advantage of my lapse of ensuring the door being fully closed.
If the above doesn’t make it obvious, these dogs are spoiled. My daughter has turned these dogs into Y.A.Ps (Yorkshire American Princesses)
They expect to sleep on the bed.
They expect their food to be heated.
They expect to sit on the couch.
They expect to be treated as royalty.
At the point where I was about four miles from the condo, I heard, a miracle in itself since I am practically deaf, my cell phone ring.
Now bear in mind, I was riding a bike at the time.
While I am living proof that once you learn to ride a bike you never forget, I was seriously out of practice.
And, true to my generational disregard for safety, I was not wearing a helmet. I was wearing a Yankees hat.
But, I fearlessly took one hand off the handlebars, the one coincidentally next to the only working brake on the bike, squinted at the display, gave up trying to read it, and took a shot that the ring tone I selected signified someone important.
She was in Rhode Island questioning me on my location, at that precise moment, while I was in Fort Myers Florida.
I failed to recognize the panic in her voice, I failed to understand the significance of her asking me, WHERE ARE THE DOGS?
I replied with my usual aplomb, ” The dogs are at home, probably on the couch, I am riding my bike to go fishing, why might you ask, oh child of mine”
“BECAUSE I HAVE SOME GUY CHAD CALLING ME TELLING ME THAT HE HAS MAX, HE CAN’T CATCH RALPH, AND THE FRONT DOOR TO THE CONDO IS WIDE OPEN”
So I recognize an immediate problem. My leisurely ride to fish is over.
I have to ride unleisurelylike back the 4 miles or so and make sure I recover all of the dogs.
If I don’t, I am going the way of Aristotle, by Arsenic.
So, I turn around and pedal as if the “Nothing” from the “Never Ending Story” was behind me.
There were of couple of old ladies out for a nice stroll on this sunny day.
They are used to bikers coming up from behind, gently warning them a full five or ten seconds before the arrive with the genteel “on your left”.
I screamed, “GET OUT OF THE WAY, NOW!”
(I went by later, no evidence of any Rescue or Police activity so I think they survived).
I come screaming into the complex, frantically scanning for Ralph.
Ralph was named for one of my best friends, dependable, loyal, and a bit free-spirited.
I pull up to the door of the condo, heart rate approaching overload, and I meet Chad.
Unit 1207 Chad, never met him before.
He tells me he managed to catch Max right away.
No surprise there, Max is loyal to whoever pets him and feeds him.
The rest of the story was different.
Ralph was more elusive.
Ralph likes his freedom, Ralph likes to be unencumbered, Ralph likes to be free, thus the genesis of his name.
However, one of the neighborhood kids that like to play with Ralph and Max knew the secret.
“Just say cookie” she told Chad
“Want a Cookie” Chad said
So by the time I had returned, the dogs were safely back in the condo, door secured this time, Chad enthusiastically thanked, and all was well with the world.
Except I had to explain the episode to my daughter.
A happy ending was insufficient.
Mea Culpa, inadequate.
I threw myself on my sword.
So, in the unlikely event this ever happens again, the follow-up story will be my epitaph.
He Lost MY Dogs, He’s DEAD!