A Goose on the Loose!

It was a beautiful and relatively cooler morning when I met my friend Regena at the New Moon CafĂ© in downtown Aiken for our traditional breakfast of a warm cranberry nut muffin. We were lucky enough to snag an outside table for two and chatted away, glancing every now and again at some of the other outdoor diners. Two well-behaved dogs were tethered at two different tables and were content to lay at their owners’ feet, hoping for crumbs.

Several feet away, another man sat at the table across from his companion…a large white goose with a pink satin bow adorning her neck and a frilly pink petticoat somehow attached to her under feathers. She had a delicate pink leash and was gently pecking away at the muffin in front of her. This was too much for the younger dog, which in dog-like fashion, crept and crawled over toward the goose when suddenly the goose leapt from her throne and attacked the dog. The poor animal was beaten with ferocious wings and fur was plucked from his body! The dog managed to retreat beneath the table and cowered at his owner’s feet, refusing to even look at the goose. The owner of the goose, plucked his prized possession off the sidewalk, dusted her off and placed her back on the chair. Her bow was retied and she began to peck at her muffin nonchalantly.

Regena and I left, careful to avoid the goose, and went to the farmer’s market. Later, as we drove down Laurens Street I caught a glimpse of the goose, waddling after her owner as he entered the hardware store. I smiled and wished I had taken a picture. I was sure no one would ever believe this golden egg of a tale!


A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there were three dogs locked away in a hot, dirty dungeon…

It was truly a stroke of luck that Chase insisted I update his status on Facebook. I would log into his account a few times a month and Chase had considerably less friends than me so I was able to view my New Jersey childhood friend’s status pleading for help rescuing dogs out of a high kill “shelter” in Rome, GA. I quickly logged back into Facebook as me and sent a message that, if needed, I would drive the two hours to get the dogs and find a meeting point on 95 South to make a transfer.

After a few text messages back and forth, I finally fell asleep, still unsure if I needed to provide transportation in the morning. Somehow, in the middle of the night, Gerylee pulled off what seemed impossible and was put in contact with a rescue organization that pulled the dogs out of the shelter moments before tragedy. This woman transferred three dogs to another Jersey girl, now living in Georgia and I left my house to travel through Atlanta traffic to reach Jen’s home two hours later. I wore appropriate sparkly flip flops, leaving the heels behind for this mission. I met Peanut first: a peanut-colored tiny female who was very affectionate. Next I met Piglet, a sweet black and white mix who greeted me shyly and with some hesitation. Finally it was Guinness’s turn. The brindle pit bull mix was a lively sixty pound beast who liked to jump on me. A lot. Guinness also liked my cell phone but her attempts at thievery were foiled.

After spending some quality time with the dogs, I figured I had missed the rush hour traffic in Atlanta and it would be safe to leave. I still have a lot to learn about Atlanta…especially Interstate 75. The dogs slept through it all and I returned home to pick up my 95 year old grandmother and her walker to head to South Carolina and my parents’ house for the night. Three dogs, two people and one walker were packed all into a Ford Focus that I had borrowed for the dog transport. I made it to South Carolina in record time, all the while planning out the logistics of getting man and beasts into the house.

I pulled into the driveway and walked Piglet and Guinness. I then put them into the laundry room with a big bowl of water, beds and some food. Next I walked Peanut. I lugged her crate from the car into the house and placed her inside. Finally, I pulled the walker from the car and helped my grandmother inside. It was time for bed!

The next day, Gerylee and I chose a meeting point in Dunn, NC. I spent the morning walking the dogs and playing with them. Peanut stuck to me like…well…peanut butter! Finally it was time to reload them into the car and we headed off on the next leg of the road trip. I made sure I had towels, water, a small bowl and shiny pink stilettos.

I reached Dunn, NC well before Gerylee and her friend Heather. By their mile marker updates it would be an hour before they reached me so I continued on 95 South. I hoped that we could meet at the outlet malls but shopping was not clearly in my plan. Finally, I pulled off at exit 116. Gerylee had told me it was raining where they were so I pulled under the gas station shelter. I tugged Guinness out of the car and gave her some water. I was debating the possibility of getting Piglet out next when Gerylee pulled beside me. It was the first time I had seen her in 29 years but all she could focus on was her dog. I forgave her even though I was looking especially cute in my Barbie shoes. She took Guinness for a walk while I begged Piglet to come out of the car. She dug her little toes into the upholstery. I gave her leash a tug. Nothing. I pushed the driver’s seat forward and squeezed into the back seat and grabbed Piglet in a hug. As I backed out praying I wouldn’t twist an ankle in my fine footwear, I managed to pull Piglet with me. I turned her over to Heather for her walk and a drink of water. With both Piglet and Guinness safely tucked away in Gerylee’s car, it was time to get Peanut out of her crate in the back of the Ford Focus hatchback I had borrowed. She came out easily and took a few laps of water. Gerylee managed to walk her just before the storm reached us. We quickly said our goodbyes as I headed South and they headed North with their newly acquired angels.

Determined to get some shopping done, I pressed the accelerator urging the four-cylinder car to make it to the outlets before the storm caught up with me. The shopping gods were not smiling favorably on me and I regrettably continued past my Garden of Eden with all the temptations flashing “SALE” in the shop windows. It was very quiet in the car and I realized that I had been having one-sided conversations on the trip north. I pulled into a Cracker Barrel and got an audio book for the long trip home.


The “Howl”elujah Chorus

Nearly every day I am treated to a special a cappella recital by George, Charlie and Molly. George begins with the prelude as a low whine from deep down in the secret, dark places of his body. The whine turns into a wail and as it begins to grow louder, Charlie joins in with perfectly harmonized staccato yips, performed with a unique falsetto. As the wail becomes a howl flowing from George’s lungs and increasing in volume, Molly adds another level of low moans in a lovely alto voice. The trio continues for a brief moment until the finale. Molly and Charlie abruptly end their serenades while George finishes the masterpiece with a quivering cry quickly descending into silence. Once the canine cantata is complete, the dogs resume their normal activities of eating, drinking and sleeping…unless a special encore is required.


All Paws on the Poop Deck

It was a hot summer and it rained frequently. For the first time in years, Georgia was not experiencing a drought. The grass and weeds were healthy, green and tall. Very tall. Tall grass was not a problem for Chase. He trampled it, rolled on it and used it as camouflage to remain invisible as he stalked birds. The height of the grass proved daunting for Charlie, George and Molly who had considerably shorter legs. None wished to venture into the backyard jungle to do their daily doggy business.

The three vertically challenged canines solved their dilemma simply by lifting a leg to my potted plants on the back deck. Even Molly, the sole female of the bunch, lifted her leg in solidarity. Determined to end this rotten behavior, I armed myself with a bottle of non-environmentally friendly bleach and a hose. I blasted all traces of residue away from the upper deck as the three dogs scrambled out of the reach of the spray to the lower deck. I approached the railing and peered below. To my dismay, that area had been utilized as the “poop deck”. I could feel my blood boil as I raised the hose and blasted the lower deck clean. The dogs jumped into the grassy jungle for safety and I continued on my mission for cleanliness. They scurried to the back stairs and were now peering down at me from above.

I stomped up the stairs and led all three as far into the yard as possible where I ordered them to go to the bathroom. I was fully aware of the ridiculous scene and prayed that the neighbors weren’t watching. As I surveyed the yard, I spied the small green dog pool discarded beneath a tree. I gingerly gave it a tug and shrieked as a brilliant blue and green salamander slithered into the undergrowth. I looked around for my pack to rescue me but they were back on the poop deck. I dragged the pool to the lower deck and filled it with water. It was large enough to prevent any additional squatting in that area and provided a great summer activity for sixteen hot paws. Molly, George and Charlie pushed their way into the pool and splashed around in the cool water while Chase continued to roll through the weeds.

Still unconvinced, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. I placed the hose within my reach and decided I would blast away any future bad behavior. Completely pooped, I retreated into the house with my dog entourage and called it a day.