My phone rang just as I pushed my way through the front door of the house. Laptop in one hand, keys and a thirty-two ounce soft drink in the other, I tried to do the multi-layered juggling act we all do while trying to not miss a call. Of course, this never works and the voicemail kicks in just as we (and by “we” I mean all of mankind) slide the little icon over to “answer”.
“Arghhh!” Is usually how I respond to this occurrence. It's how I responded this time as well.
The missed call was from a family friend, so it would wait. It's not like it was something urgent, like the guy from that company who bought one of our many past-due medical bills and wanted to settle for half what we owed. Half what we owed was still more than twice what we made, so that guy got urgently ignored.
Friends only get passively ignored.
“You called?” I asked Dawn later that evening.
Yes, the exclamation point is appropriate. People do get that excited when I finally call them back.
“I wanted to know if you would be willing to dog-sit for me while I'm out of town next week.”
“Sure. Wait...you have a dog?” I'm not a very attentive friend, either.
“Yes! You remember. Sandy? Remember? My Christmas puppy?”
I did some math. “That would make her about six months?”
“That's about the same age as my dog.”
“Yes, I know. That's part of the reason I thought of you. I think she and Phoebe would get along great.”
Daang. Dawn was really good at this friendship thing. She even remembered the name of my dog. I had already forgotten her mutt's name.
“Sure, bring...ummm...your dog over and we'll let them hang out.”
“Great! Thanks! I really appreciate this!”
Phoebe and Sandy did get along great. Sandy was a mild mannered, well behaved, dog with an exquisite coat of gold—silky and smooth. Phoebe, on the other hand, was hyper-active. I seriously considered getting one of my kids to act up at school to get my hands on a prescription for Ritalin. Medicating the dog seemed like a logical solution to me.
The first couple of days, the dogs seemed ecstatic with each other. Chasing one another around the yard, rolling in the grass, play fighting—all the things fun loving dogs just love to do. We had recently installed a new dishwasher and the box it came in was still on the back porch. The dogs dragged it into the yard and chased each other in and out of that thing for hours.
The morning of the third day was when I began to notice something different. Phoebe was her normal hyper self, hopping around the box, barking at the opening, then running around some more. Sandy, however, was nowhere to be seen. Phoebe suddenly grabbed hold of the box with her teeth and began dragging it around the yard. Still no sign of Sandy.
All of a sudden, the closed end of the box flew open and out came Sandy at a dead run. She made a beeline right for the patio door.
She slammed against the glass and began frantically pawing at the door. Almost like she wanted in. I sipped the coffee in my hand as I watched Phoebe bear down on her from behind.
The rest of the week Sandy escaped the yard twice, only to nearly tear my arms off trying to avoid being put back, where Phoebe immediately began to chase her round and round non-stop. By the time Dawn showed up on Friday to pick up her beautiful, silky haired, dog, what she found was a bedraggled nervous wreck who nearly jumped onto the ceiling feet first when Dawn first attempted to pet her.
Dawn later told me that Sandy did nothing but sleep that entire first weekend home. She hardly ate or drank and was skittish of being touched.
“I think your dog ruined my dog. Thanks a lot.”
“No problemo. Happy to help anytime.”
“I'm serious. I think I need to take her to a doggie shrink or something.”
“Hey, don't look at me. You're the one who left her here.”
“I didn't know your dog was psycho.”
"Stop being such a baby. By the way, we're going out of town next weekend, so I'm going to need you to return the favor."
What can I say? I have a way with people.
About the Creator
Joe Moreland is an award winning writer who is an experienced script and short story writer as well as an aspiring novelist. He worked for many years as an actor/writer/director for several theatrical companies/touring shows
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme