None of us know when we’ll be tested in life. Some tests are big. Some are small. A test my husband Randy will never forget came on a June night in 1995 involving several confused neighbors, two police cruisers and a Chihuahua named Poopsie.
That late afternoon I’d brought Poopsie home from the pound. Our two little boys, ages 5 and 2, were ecstatic. “We have a doggie!!” Patrick and Paul shouted, jumping up and down.
I smiled, trying to avoid my husband’s horrified stare. I have few natural talents but picking out ugly mutts is right up there. And with this dog’s bat-like face and rodent body, Poopsie was no exception. What can I say? There was something sweet in his eyes.
On the spot, we decided to rename him. There was no way we’d have a pet named Poopsie.
My Mom and Dad were there. Things were going fine till that fateful moment someone decided to let Poopsie off his leash. Surely this animal will stay close, we thought.
Quicker than you can say, “Ay! Caramba!,” Poopsie bolted up our driveway, took a left and disappeared into the mist. The adults stood in shock. Five-year-old Patrick started crying. “My doggie hates me!”
Randy and my Dad looked at each other. “I’ll get the car,” said Randy. My father sighed, “I’ll come with you.”
On the road, a kid on a bike pointed to where he’d seen a yellow dog. Randy and my father parked the car. To their horror they had to traipse through people’s properties calling for “Poopsie!” Everywhere they went, someone had seen the dog go that-away.
Hours later, they came back empty-handed and disappointed. My parents left. The kids went to bed, crying.
“Let’s report this to the police,” said Randy. “You never know.” We settled in for the night, not sure if we’d see Poopsie again. An hour later the phone rang.
“A large Chihuahua’s been spotted by the Merritt Parkway,” said a police officer.
The Merritt Parkway is five miles away. Wow, I thought. Poopsie’s fast. Once again, Randy got into his car cursing the moment he set eyes on this mutt. No dog was found.
He started heading back when a mile from our home he spotted a line of cars creeping along, trying not to hit a small yellow animal trotting down the center. Randy knew this could only be one creature.
Two police cars were parked on the side, watching this spectacle. Randy pulled up beside them. “That’s my dog,” he said. “I’ll try and herd him home.”
With their help, Randy managed to get behind Poopsie, finding himself lead car in this odd 4 m.p.h. motorcade at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Following behind were the two cruisers and an ever-growing line of peeved and confused motorists.
Then came the tricky part. With our street in view, Randy sped ahead, angling his car so Poopsie was forced left, down our road. When the dog came to our house, Randy again maneuvered his vehicle, coercing the animal sharp right down the driveway. A Montana cattle rancher would’ve whistled in wonder.
At last, Poopsie was corralled. The police officers pulled up behind Randy in our driveway, congratulating him for a job well done.
Meanwhile Poopsie stood watching all this. Randy finally went to scoop him up when the dog bolted, disappearing into the woods behind our house.
By now, even the cops looked dejected. They showed their lights into the trees but there was no sign. “You might want to consider another pooch,” one advised and they left.
Randy came into the house, by now exhausted. It was past 11:30 p.m. “Maybe we could go back to the pound tomorrow,” I suggested. My husband glared at me. All I kept hearing was Patrick’s words, “My doggie hates me.”
Half hour later Randy went to lock the back door and noticed something sleeping outside on our chaise lounge. He stepped out, not believing his eyes. Poopsie had found his way home.
This time my husband didn’t waste a moment. He picked up the animal, bringing him to Patrick’s room. “Look who’s here,” he said to his sleepy 5-year-old. Patrick sat up, bleary-eyed. “My doggie!” He crashed back to sleep.
I looked at Randy and knew my husband had passed a test that night. He was officially in the club of men who would do anything difficult, ridiculous or heroic for their children. He could officially call himself a Really Good Dad. He had brought home Poopsie.
(Postscript: Poopsie was renamed “Ren” after the equally-attractive cartoon character and was a loyal, loving dog for 10 years. He never ran away again…that we know of).
— Laurie Stone
Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Connecticu. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. She draws inspiration from her poor, unsuspecting husband of several decades, two grown sons, family and friends (including the furry ones). You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.