Friday, April 30, 2010

Even Shitty Days Can Have Happy Endings

I had one of those days yesterday. You know the kind, the ones that start out shitty and end shitty?

Yep. That was my day. When I went into my office, I discovered my dog, Delaney, the one with the fecal fetish, had dirtied the carpet for the first time in his three people years. It might have been easier to clean up had it not been liquid, but I did the best I could.

Then there was the middle of the day, which was just so-so as opposed to being shitty, so we’ll skip that part.

Around 7-ish, I took the dogs to The Barking Lot for their daily constitutional, which is what I do when I am not able to walk them. I take them there so they can run and wrangle with each other and get worn out so they won’t bother me by asking to go out and come back in all evening long.

Upon arrival at the dog park, I stuffed my keys in the right front pocket of my shorts and grabbed the bungee cord that the owner of the blue heeler, which bit my left calf, gave me to secure the gate. Here’s what the bite looked like the day after:

See, my little Hughdini, aka Huey, is an escape artist. He lifts the “S” chain off the back gate with his paw and bolts up the bluff to Pinnacle Hill, which he has done at least four times. So the blue heeler’s owner saw my plight, and feeling apologetic about his nippy dog, gave me the rubber cord so I could one-up Huey. I’ve learned to keep Huey on the leash once we enter until I check all the gates because the little devil has popped through the big gate before when the padlocked chain on it was too loose. If there is a 4- to 6-inch clearance, Huey’s a goner.

So I got the gates secured and let Huey run. Then I went around and cleaned up the dog leavings with plastic bags. I also tossed a couple of tennis balls for Sally and Delaney to retrieve, which, of course Delaney does because he is a retriever and Sally does not because she is only half-retriever. It was during this activity I saw Huey on his hind legs trying to lift the chain and chew the bungee cord. I cut a diagonal swath the length of the former football field to get to him before he succeeded at either. That’s when I realized my keys were not jangling in my pocket. I looked down and they were gone. Oh, great. It was around 8 p.m. and darkness was falling. It didn’t help that I was wearing my Ray-Bans either. So for the next half-hour I searched, trying to find my keys, frantically trying to figure a Plan B because I have no relatives here to help me out of a pinch. Finally, I had no choice. I called my neighborhood pet sitter, who knows where I keep my spare house key, and asked her to go inside and get the box where I keep all my spare keys. Before long, she was there and I was able to get the dogs in the car and put on my regular specs so I could see to drive home.

Next morning, I resumed my search about 10. A former co-worker was there with her young daughter and their dog and offered to help. I, of course, had Huey along and had to secure all the gates before I could look.

I searched and searched to no avail. The parks guy drove up and I asked him where I would go to find something that had been lost. He said City Hall. He, too, offered to help me look, which he did until he got a call to attend to something else. None of us could find the keys anywhere. Then I saw Huey trying to gnaw his way through the nylon leash I had put on the big gate as insurance; he almost succeeded, too. I unhooked the leash, got him a drink from the doggie fountain, locked him in the car, and went back for the bungee cord.

As I was leaving, my friend suggested I put a note on the bulletin board at the local market. Great idea, I thought, so after inquiring at City Hall and leaving my name and number there, I went to the grocery store and left a note saying: “LOST. One set of keys with rectangular garage door opener. If found, please call …” Then I came home.

At 7:10 p.m., I got a call from a woman who said, “Did you lose a set of keys at the dog park?” I replied in the affirmative. She said, “You are not going to believe this, but there is a note at the top of the board that says: ‘FOUND: One set of keys with rectangular garage door opener. If found, please call Bear at …”

“Bear is a dog,” I told her.

See, Bear is a fluffy white male Great Pyrenees, who really likes me and is about twice my size. He also belongs to the owner of the blue heeler. So the woman gave me the number to call, which I did. I punched in the number and asked for Bear, I heard the owner’s voice say, “I’d let you talk to him, but he is asleep and he is a dog.”

“I know,” I said. “Is this M----? This is Eileen.”

“Why, yes it is.”

“How did you find my keys?” I asked.

“I didn’t find them. Bear found them and I noticed he had something in his mouth so I took them from him. I knew they had to belong to somebody.”

I asked where he had found them and he said by the front gate, which meant as soon as I had entered the dog park, they had worked their way out of my pocket when I was wrangling the dingoes. Then I explained how I had heard about the note he posted and he told me he would put the keys in his mailbox. I drove over about 8 p.m. and got them.

From start to finish, it took only about 24 hours to lose and find my keys. Times like these make me thankful to live in a small-enough town where I know many of the people who live here. It’s a great place, populated with helpful, honest folks for the most part (more on that in future blogs).

After I got home, I let the dogs in to eat their supper and hunker down for the night. I sat down at the computer to let my Facebook friends know I had gotten my keys back. Then I heard this slurping sound. I looked to my left only to see Delaney, my dog with the fecal fetish, licking the carpet where roughly 36 hours before he had left his leavings.

It was then that I realized, the shitty day had come full circle.