Here, as promised, is the story of Ping. Ping is what the kids named this white poodle that showed up at our house the other day. I call him 'Satan'. Oh, I know, he is a cute little thing. He doesn't LOOK like evil incarnate, what with his fluffy little ears and his delicate little pink toenails. That's how he sucks you in, see. And then WHAMMO, the maleficence starts oozing out, along with the reeking dog farts.
A few days earlier, I came home from work and heard about a little dog that had tried to get in the van. Hahahaha, that's funny, I said. Little did I know. If I had, I wouldn't have been laughing, believe you me. Then, on the day that I have come to refer to as the apocalypse, a little white poodle and a small black dog were careening around our cul-de-sac. I saw one of the neighbors chasing them, then ringing another neighbor's bell. Assuming that he knew where they belonged and was summoning the owners, I grabbed the white one as it went by. Maybe I should have gone for the black one; it was probably the Antiping.
You can imagine my dismay when the door-ringing neighbor trotted over and said, 'Hey, do you know whose dogs those are?' I dropped Ping as quick as I could, but the black dog was long gone, and he just wouldn't leave. Surely someone is looking for these dogs, right? Ping was nicely groomed, with clipped toenails and clean teeth, and he was wearing a little blue harness with no name tag. I hadn't yet learned to be suspicious about this, you see.
Thus began a quest to reunite Ping with his owner that consumed an entire weekend. First, my brother-in-law took him to the nearby shelter where we got Henry. They refused to keep the dog, but offered to scan him to see if he had a microchip. Sadly, he did not. We went to the pet store to put up an ad and spend a ridiculous amount money on holistic organic dog food and a leash. We put an ad on craigslist and painstakingly perused the lost pet pleas. We googled up and checked every single lost pet forum in the free world. We put posters up on the utility poles around town. Nada. No one, it seemed, was looking frantically for
Satan Ping. How could this be? We called up all the shelters that would answer the phone. No one was looking for a charming little poodle, and no, sorry, they could not take strays. He has to go to the county shelter. Oh, sorry, no it's not open, and yes, it's too bad it's at least an hour away from your house. And make sure you make anyone who calls identify him to you! Don't you dare let him go with someone until you're sure he/she is the legitimate owner! People do terrible things to strays! They go around collecting them! Craigslist puts out these warnings, too. Really? People go around answering ads and collecting strays so they can be cruel to them? Don't these people have kids to torture? It's much less hassle. KIDDING. But seriously, I don't buy it. Who would do that? I think it's just another fear-mongering scam, like the one about the pedophiles that will snatch your kids at the park if you turn your back for one second. Anyway, as you can clearly tell, we put in a major effort here. I DID draw the line at my sister's suggestion of hiring a pet psychic for $65-75 per half hour to ask the creature where it came from, because what if it was dyslexic and got its address mixed up? That would be money down the drain.
We tried to foist him off on my dad and my sister to no avail, and then resigned ourselves to hosting him for a day or two: Someone would call us soon, we were sure of it! He's so cute and well taken care of! He peed on the floor, but that's okay. Someone will be along soon. He can stay in the bathroom at night; that will work perfectly! It's just for one night; someone will come tomorrow, for sure. He's howling, we can't sleep! We'll have to let him out of the bathroom. But what if he pees or poops on the floor? We'll just have to clean it up. Check the email again, any responses from craiglist yet? COME ON, PEOPLE! One long, long night passed in this fashion and we awoke to poop on the floor.
The next day, Lloyd and Weston went fishing, and Shane and I needed to go to Target for soccer shoes for him and swim trunks for Weston. Oh, and to look for Squeaky, the green squeaking toy that's shaped like a star and doesn't exist. But what shall we do with Ping? I guess we'll have to take him with us. We can check the signs on the way and make sure they'll still up! I don't know why someone hasn't called yet. I tried to give him to the lady at the Starbucks drive-through, but that failed miserably. I guess I'm just not persuasive enough. Either that or I shouldn't have been calling him Satan while trying to convince someone of his many charms. Then, we courageously left him in the car when we went into the store. We came out with swim trunks, shiny flashing Spiderman shoes, three movies, five shirts and a green squeaking dog toy shaped like a bear, and cautiously peered into the car. Everything LOOKED okay- he hadn't chewed up the seats or anything. I opened the door and it hit me, a foul stench that could have come from only one place. Yes, the beast had pooped in my car.
Dammit, when does that shelter open? First thing in the morning, huh? Do not give him any more food; maybe he won't poop anymore. Phew, morning at last! Smell you later, Ping. May the force be with you. Then, just as I was getting ready to stock the car with Febreze for the trip, a miracle occurred. Shane and I were out front with Ping, planting yellow squash when a couple of teenage boys jumped out of a car and said it was their aunt's dog, 'Taco'. They looked a little sketchy, but didn't have any fillet knives in plain sight so I figured it was okay. Plus I would have given him to Michael Vick if he drove up, so it's Taco's lucky day. And mine.