Sunday, January 25, 2009

Say Goodnight Gracie

Long, long time ago in a state far far away. Ok it was North Carolina I lived on a large military post. I was a young mother of about 26 and a military wife living in military housing. Now I don’t care what people tell you there is good post housing and there is bad post housing. The one in which I resided was very nice. It was single family with a yard and a carport. They were built back after World War II and every single house looked just exactly like the house next door and the house next door to that and on and on and on. You literally had to look at the house number and the street sign to make sure you were on the right street and at the right house. I lived in the house with a small Yorkie named Shaniqa (pronounced Sha-neek-ka) and a black Labrador retriever named Gracie.

Gracie was a rescue dog. One day my husband called me from his office and said there was a dog down on the dock that was eating crabs and running around loose. I awed and oohed and cried until he finally asked if I want him to bring it home. I told him absolutely. You see I have the stray dog gene. I inherited it from my mother’s mother who had 4000 stray dogs that lived with her. Think Goldie Hawn’s character in “Seems Like Old Times” where she is the attorney and Chevy Chase is her ex-husband and she takes in stray dogs and stray people. Yeah that would be me. I again digress.

My husband arrived home that evening with the most beautiful black Labrador puppy I have ever seen. She was skin and bones but alert and happy. She didn’t enter our home timidly she bolted in like a bull in a china cabinet. Her tail was a weapon of mass destruction and her head was a battering ram. I immediately introduced her Wickers the cat and Shaniqa and she was instantly drawn to both. She had two new best friends. They chased one another around the house to the detriment of my knick knacks and furniture. The whole family instantly fell in love with her and because of her clumsy big footed spastic actions named her Gracie.

This story happened about a year after Gracie became a part of our family. She was the type of dog that was always ready for an adventure. You could not open the door without her bolting out and running the neighborhood. This is strictly not allowed on post. You have to have your animals leashed or fenced, no if ands or buts. It simply isn’t allowed to have animals running loose you and the animal will be in deep doo doo if you do.

One day I opened the door to take out the trash but Gracie was especially Houdini like that day and slipped out the door past me. I was livid and dropped the trash to chase after her. I ran down the street in my pajamas and slippers. I ran screaming for her to come back but all I saw was a sleek black Labrador butt running down the street and turning the corner. I knew she was gone and I would have to go after her. She would eventually come home but I couldn’t take the chance of the Military Police picking her up and putting both of us in the dog house. I did what I had to do. I grabbed the truck keys and my wallet and went after her. I drove up and down every street calling her name. I drove the alley ways and traced and retraced my path. I went to the school down the street to make sure she wasn’t chasing the kids playing kickball on the playground. I went down to the golf course to make sure she wasn’t harassing the retired generals and admirals playing the back nine. I went to the stables to make sure she wasn’t hanging with the horses. She was no where to be found.

Defeated, I started my way back home when I saw her sitting on the front porch of a house about a mile from my own. I stopped the truck grabbed her leash and a dog bone for a bribe and started toward her. She just sat and looked at me as I continued to call her name and approach her. Usually she would bolt and run or run and jump in the truck. This time she just sat and looked at me. I attached the leash to her collar and tried to walk her to the truck. She was having none of it. Instead I literally had to drag her to the truck. I tried over and over again to coax her into the cab, which was usually a treat for her. I finally wrangled all four hundred pounds of her into the seat and drove home. I had brought Shaniqa along with me and she wouldn’t have anything to do with her best friend. She instead crawled in my lap and growled at Gracie.
The whole drive home I admonished Gracie for running away and making me chase her down. I scolded and chided and made threats of pens and crates. I even told her that it was time to go to the vet and get “the surgery”. I was absolutely wrapped up into reprimanding her that I didn’t pay attention to where I had actually found her. We arrived home and I stopped the truck and looked up at my house. There on my front porch sat Gracie.

I had dog-napped and admonished a stranger. I had taken someone’s pet their family member. I looked at this stranger sitting in the cab of my pick-up and said “OH MY GOSH! I don’t know who you are!” The Labrador looked at me with those big black Labrador eyes. I swear she rolled her eyes. It was like I could read her mind. She said “Yeah Dumbass, I tried to tell you and so did your little ragmop.” I felt horrid. Then I realized I lived in the land of replication, the isle of sameness. I had no idea who this dog belonged to or what porch from which I had plucked her. I was a dog-napper and now instead of one bull in a china cabinet I would have two.

The story had a happy ending though. I put my dog in her pen and put the stolen dog in the truck and tried to retrace my steps. I drove around for four hours waiting for some sign from the Not-my-dog Dog to say “Yeup this is my house.” But it didn’t happen. What did happen was that school got let out and there was a little boy who upon his exit of the bus yelled at my truck “Hey Lady what are you doing with Sprinkles?” I knew it was his dog because Sprinkles got all excited and started whining and shaking and wanting to get to his person. I pulled over and opened the door and there was a huge reunion of boy and dog. I explained to the young man what had happened. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said “Man lady how stupid are you when you can’t even recognize your own dog?”
I guess I was pretty stupid.


Debbie said...

Oh my gosh. This is hysterical. I can just see you wrangling that poor dog home, only to find Gracie on our porch. Thanks for telling us this.

Unknown said...

Great story!
I can just picture the poor begotten dog napped lab giving you "the look", as well as the knows it all boy giving you the roll of the eyes, heavy sigh, whatever lady look.

Oh well, alls well that ends well!

Girly Stuff said...

That was very funny!

I am awful when it comes to cats...I think they all look alike. But I could care less about them too.

Glad your story had a happy ending!

Unknown said...

Great story. The things we go through with our pets (or what they put us through lol).

terri said...

Oh, man! How embarassing! And how frustrating it must have been trying to return that poor dog its rightful owner!

blogismycopilot said...

you tell the best stories! The beginning reminded me of the part in "the Black Stallion" when Black arrives in the states and makes a run for it, poor Alec. But I have to say, your story is even better!

I sent you an e-mail last night, but I fear it may have gone to your junk-mail. I would like to feature you as an "Official Co-Pilot" at Blog is mY Co-Pilot. Are you interested?

Cat said...

What a great story. I, too, lived in great base housing at McGuire Air Force base. They were slightly less alike than you had but still pretty much the same.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

What a wonderful and hysterical story. Gladys you have the best stories.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Too funny.

My husband was a Navy brat--I've heard you don't want to attract the attention of the M.P.'s.

Jean Martha said...


and we just watched that movie last week for the tenth time...

RANGER said...

Found your great story through your comment on Pioneer Woman's photography. You had me at: "I swane." I will definitely bookmark your site and, a-la-Gracie, pant for more.

Queen Goob said...

LOL - I was waiting for you to tell us Gracie had found her way home and you didn't recognize the house she was waiting in front of as yours. Either way....funny story!

The Texas Woman said...

We lived in off-base housing when I was little and I was always lost! I can definitely see that happening. Too funny.

The Texas Woman