I had an eventful Memorial Day weekend so am writing my thoughts on it down before they are lost forever. Life has a way of erasing the old to make room for the new - lots of details and feelings I don't want to forget, and one incident I can't ever forget.
My weekend kicked off Thursday at around 11am when I left the office for an employee lunch at an apartment complex in KCK we own and manage. I would not return to my place of business until Tuesday morning, promptly at 8:15ish. I am almost remiss about explaining the pure elation I felt at an unbounded 117 hours that lay before me, but not remiss enough. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and two weeks vacation a year, I work as a controller for a property management company ("company" being one man, John, who owns rental houses and a few apartment buildings) 8:15am to 2pm. I have a lot of free time not available to most people. Believe me, I know how big that is and I enjoy it and appreciate it and know that when it's gone I will probably miss it more than I think. I've been here 5 years and have alot of freedom, as long as the work gets done the way John demands, we are kosher, and that's not too difficult. No stress, no taking work home, get to wear whatever I feel like. If I want to sleep in and not take a shower before coming in, no one will be the wiser. On the other hand, my boss is. . . .a piece of work. More often than not, when people I know through my work found out that I was planning on running 100 miles, or (later) that I HAD run 100 miles, they would comment how that must have been nothing compared to working for John. I found myself unable to argue with that. He has been fired as a customer on more than one occasion - businessmen would rather he not approach them with money for performing services - they want him to leave and never come back. In addition, I am ridiculously underemployed. Many days I am done with my work by 10am, left with 4 more hours to kill. I replaced a full time CPA and a part-time receptionist - I have no idea what the hell they did all day. I have a Master's of Accountancy, passed the CPA exam, have public accounting experience under my belt, yet there have been days that posting his golf scores are my "A1 priority today, Erica". I don't expect sympathy, kind reader. I know perhaps there are a few other people who are not completely satisfied with their employment and have a horrible boss, for far better reasons than mine. I will take underemployed over unemployed any second of any day. I also know this is not permanent - I am nothing if not persistent and determined, and I am positive I will be able to take advantage of a greater opportunity, as yet unknown, to be more useful in my "career". Why people aren't banging down my door to pay me handsomely to run their accounting departments is beyond me (I guess the felonies and 15 months jail time are blemishes), but fine - if the mountain doesn't come to Erica, Erica just goes out and gets a bigger and better mountain. Digressing - sorry. Suffice it so say I arrived at our Employee Appreciation Lunch practically skipping, one fine meal of Oklahoma Joe's ribs and coleslaw away from sweet sweet freedom.
Later Thursday afternoon, sitting on my couch watching Parks & Recreation with a jumbo Slurpee (ok, and some peanut M&M's), Bandit got dropped off for the weekend - his family was going on a road trip and I was petsitting.
|Bandit. Bad to the Bone.|
Friday I attacked the Fairway Fan - 11 hilly miles in the heat. It was one of the few runs since my 100 miler (love it when that comes up) that I felt good. My runs have been fairly miserable almost all of the time since February 4. Most times, it is reminiscent of why I didn't run for most of my life. I feel heavy and clunky, am slow, and working way too hard to barely keep up with other people (or now, with myself pre-100 miler). It has not been fun in the least for me, hence the Summer of the Bike. I've been finding myself looking for reasons to quit on my short runs that I used to do in my sleep because it is so hard. Frustrating. Not Friday though. Friday's run was joyous, happy and free! Back to Brian's for another cookout Friday night - filets and pineapple something brats, salad I concocted from SunFresh salad bar, corn on the cob, blueberry/strawberry shortcake for dessert, Sophia for company - the cherry on top?!?! She was nearby hanging out in a coffee shop with no electricity at her own house. And I looked cute - I remember after asking Brian if it was OK to invite her to dinner too I told him I looked so cute that I didn't want her to miss it. It was a great night - spent with some top notch dogs, friends and food.
Saturday I got up early to go to an 8am Pilates class (I can run 100 miles but this Pilates crap is kicking my
So Sunday finally rolls around. Ever since I heard about Chain of Hope last fall, I knew I wanted to do Outreach with them. Kate Quigley is the owner of Chain of Hope - check them out at www.chainofhopekc.org. She writes a blog that you can find there too - I've read every entry and rarely am I dry-eyed by the end, whether they be tears of joy or tears of sadness. They are the voice for these animals that have no voice, and the moment I heard about what they do I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I finally went out with them on Sunday - we were in the Northeast for most of the day, driving down alleys looking for dogs, checking up on dogs Kate looks in on regularly, learning a lot. Most of the dogs we came across are outside on a chain 24/7. It was over 90 degrees on Sunday and just about every dog I saw was miserable. Many with no food, no water. We fill them up with food and water, talk to the owner if home, leave info if not, fly gel and fly bags to hang. Fly gel is put on their ears - flies bite their ears and also other parts of their body raw, called fly strike. I would be putting the fly gel on a dog's ears and their ear would just be coming off in my hands. It was good to see some of the dogs that have been helped by COH - Kate has educated the owners and they do make progress, feeding them regularly, using tie-outs instead of chains, giving them a doghouse in the shade, etc. More often than not it was just heartbreaking to see the misery in the dogs' eyes, pleading you for help, so happy you are there. I was really to busy to process much of anything during the day, and found myself kind of stunned. A lot of doing without really thinking. It would sink in later on. When we got back from Outreach, I left with a new foster, Norman!! He is a one-year old sheltie mix and I got another great one!! He was chained on a front porch 24/7 and in bad shape when Kate found him. She would watch his owners come home and see Norman begging them for attention and they would walk right by him into the house - no pat on the head, no nothing. They are idiots. Norman loves playing with other dogs - him and Callie go at it for about 30 min, rest for a few minutes, then repeat. He is housebroken, except he poos on the floor during the night - we're working on that and I think we can nip that in the bud pretty quick. As you can see, he is gorgeous. And, not surprisingly, he loves any attention he gets. I walk in my door then sit down to take off my shoes. He gets right up on me, glues himself to me (puts every square inch of his body against me) and relishes all the ear rubs and good boy's and head rubs he gets. Norman gives good love. Goodbye miserable existence, hello happy dog!!!
|I'm Norman!! Gimme a belly rub!|
So Sunday was a big day and about to really blow up. Fireworks at Union Station!!! We took all the dogs. Brian had a hold of El Dog and Callie. I got Bandit and Norman. We were a big hit with all the kids - Norman and Bandit especially were kid magnets. At 9:30 the fireworks start and the dogs go ballistic for a good 10 seconds. Then they calm down -- Elliot and Callie actually enjoyed the show, says Brian. Bandit was completely spooked though and even though I had hold of his leash, he broke free and took off like a bullet, leash dragging behind. I jump up and chase after him, bringing Norman along. Bandit was headed due east in a straight line like a bat out of hell. I face planted in the grass pretty quick in the midst of a throng of people - it was a good SMACKDOWN. Right back up though. I yelled "NO!!" when I saw him jump down a little wall and without a second's delay tear across Main. . .and then Grand. I just knew something awful and tragic would befall him if I didn't catch him. I kept asking and people kept pointing "He went that way!!" I was a couple of minutes behind him. The last people that saw him were watching the fireworks from the balcony of their lofts on Union Hill. They saw him run into the Union Hill Cemetery. This guy (out with his dog) that lived there said he would keep an eye out for him since he lives right there. Well, that's not enough. I got into the cemetery with Norman and we ran all the way around in there, calling his name, searching for him. Fireworks are booming all around me the entire time. Then they stop. I see the guy out there with a flashlight looking for Bandit. I see a car driving around the cemetery -- it stops - it's the caretaker couple. I tell them all about Bandit. Then I go all the way back to Brian and give him Norman to take back to his place. I go back to the cemetery to look more. The caretakers are out to lock up the gates at 11:30. Still no Bandit. I start walking/running back to Brian's, totally out of my mind.
I call Sophia. I call Patty from Chain of Hope - Bandit only has his rabies tag on with their animal clinic number on it, so I'm hoping she can get ahold of the vet, as they will be closed the next day (Memorial Day). She helps me calm down. .. a little. Not really. Brian sees me walking down Main and picks me up. We go back to his place. After a couple of minutes, we both go back out again. I have to do SOMETHING!! The caretaker told me there was another gate open 24/7 so I try to find it. Instead, a couple of cops stop me and we all end up jumping the fence and looking more for him - I see their flashlights for awhile, then they leave. I stay a bit longer, but eventually have to accept that it's dark, I've been around every part of the cemetery and haven't found him - what I'm doing is no longer productive. So I head back to Brian's - he had been driving around looking for Bandit and just got home too. Brian goes to bed - he needs sleep bad. I can't sleep. I stay out on the couch, making the dogs take turns being squeezed by me and crying in their fur - all they want to do is sleep too. I try to watch tv - no go. I try to read - no go. I think how great a bottle of whiskey would be right fucking now. Right after that I remember that I have a big bottle of nighttime cough medicine with alcohol in Brian's medicine cabinet. Luckily right after THAT I remind myself that as much as I fucking want to really really bad, if I drink I'm no good to Bandit. So instead I imagine all the awful things that are happening to Bandit. Like he tried to jump the wrought iron gate around the cemetery, but his leash gets caught and he hangs himself. Or he ran into the 'hood and got picked up by someone who is going to chain him up and abuse him his whole life. He is terrified. He is miserable. He will never know joy or love or security or comfort again and it is all my fault. I wake up Brian and cry and tell him how helpless I feel. I wear myself out. Bandit is all that is on my mind. I think of how he was rescued, how we thought he was gone that one time and he was in the house and how he was saved my some wonderful neighbor of mine -- oh yeah - I left him out in my yard with Elliot when I did Outreach that day. He got out somehow because when I came home from Outreach he was inside my house. So someone saved his ass already that day. I realize that Bandit has his own incredible Doggy God looking out for him, and think that maybe, just maybe, he's alright and we'll get him back safe and sound. I know he's got a lot of people pulling for him. After that I can sleep - it's about 2:30.
I wake up right after 5am. As soon as I see dawn breaking, me and Elliot and Norman go back out. We park and our morning walk is around every inch of that cemetery - I never found the open gate, we were walking around the outside. I saw a dozen places he could easily have gotten out under the fence and gone a dozen different directions. The sun was up, it was a beautiful day, but I felt absolutely sick. I don't know how people have kids. I was absolutely out of my mind, beside myself, my world so small and terrifying -- all over a rotten little dog. I saw my friend Erin the other day and told her all about Bandit. She told me how one time her parents lost her in the subway and she was gone for 3 hours. I feel a close kinship with Erin's folks - like we were in the war together. I don't believe I was ever lost as a child - I remember we went to Germany when I was about 16 and were walking around Dusseldorf and I tried to get lost to teach my parents a lesson because they were not paying attention to me. Except I never really got lost because I kept them in sight because I was such a scaredy cat and after like half an hour of tailing them from out of sight, no one noticed I was gone. So I run up to them, yelling at them how something really bad could have happened to me and nobody would notice. My mom and dad were both like - "Ummm....you're right here. What is the emergency again?" Fine - they got away scot free that time. It was one of the last times that happened though. I've managed to cause them copious amounts of grief and sorrow and loss for several years -- they haven't escaped unscathed. All part of being the parents of the greatest kid ever.
I go home. I turn around half way home to go back, but turn around again. He could be anywhere - driving around with Norman and Carsick Elliot isn't going to help anything. I call all the 24 hr emergency vet places. Wander around the house. Put up a "lost" ad on KC Pet Connection. Go to put a "lost" ad on Craigslist. See this:
FOUND Medium Size Black Dog (28th and Gillham, KCMO)
Date: 2012-05-28, 12:02AM CDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Found near Union Hill / Union Station around 10:30pm on Sunday. Medium size black dog with white/black markings on belly and on nose. Has tags, but can't call the Vet until Tuesday due to Memorial Day. Found with matching collar and leash, running scared during the fireworks. To claim tell me what color the collar and leash are.PostingID: 3042036151
We're hoping to find his family soon! He keeps looking at the door for them.
We're hoping to find his family soon! He keeps looking at the door for them.
- Location: 28th and Gillham, KCMO
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
It's him!! Is it him? It's got to be him!!! I shoot off an email real quick:
***My dog got spooked by the fireworks and ran off last night -- he was last seen going in Union Cemetery about 9:40pm. Maybe this is him? He has a Raytown Kennedy Animal clinic tag on -- red collar, red leash. His name is Bandit. CALL ME PLEASE!!! I am sick over him - I love that rotten guy with all my heart!!! My info is below - erica 913-271-3728. Please call me either way --- thank you so much for posting this -- even if it's not my dog, you are a good Samaritan!!***
I call Brian. I call Sophia. I call Patty at Chain of Hope. I tell Elliot and Norman. They are happy too, I can see. I decide the person who wrote the ad is ignoring me so I send them another email (it is very long and repeats alot so I'm not going to include it -- this fucking thing is way too long as it is). Just after I hit send my phone rings and some beautiful angel tells me yes, the dog has a Kennedy Vet Clinic tag on so I know for a fact it is Bandit. She was watching fireworks from one of those balconies and saw him running around the cemetery all scared and went down to get him - she called to him and he squeezed through the gate and came right up to her! So glad it was a she and not a he!! She couldn't keep him in her apartment, so her parents took him home - I got her parent's address out in Greenwood, MO, google mapped it, took a Puerto Rican shower (spray on body spray) and a whore bath (wash face and private parts in sink) and took off to go pick him up. By 9:30am, about 12 hours from when I had last seen him I had Bandit in my arms, licking my face, accidently biting my nose (he was super excited to see me too), and all was well in the world. The lady came out and we talked - she fed him some ham and peas and rice the night before (he had already eaten his dinner, plus a couple of the other dogs' dinners at 7:00) and he ate it all. She made him eggs that morning to see if he would eat some, but he managed to tip the pan over off the stove and helped himself. He didn't pee or poo in their house though - went potty outside like a good boy. He couldn't have been saved by a better family (yet again). She told me how she was holding him the night before and he would start to doze off, then jerk awake and cry/whine all scared, like "I'm not home. Where is my home?". Her husband came out after a few minutes - Bandit ran up to him, barking his head off. Shocker.
I still had the comforter we used to sit on to watch fireworks in the backseat. Bandit curled up on it and was asleep by the time I got out of the driveway (it was one of those long, out in the country driveways). He snores a little. He couldn't have been more beautiful and precious if he was my own kid, I'm sure (but am probably wrong - we will never know as I have promised never to spawn). We got home. Ahhhhh. It's surprising how quickly I got back to acting normal. The dogs played around while I cleaned the house. The smile that had been on my face since I found him hadn't gone anywhere. By the time I was done, this is what they were up to:
I sat down to talk to Sophia on the phone and rehash everything. Turns out she lost her dog Puccini that morning out on some trails (but found him pretty quick). Bitch, please - people always trying to steal my thunder. Brian beeped in, wanting to go to the pool. I said no. I didn't want to leave Bandit - he was getting picked up soon by Emily and family on their way back home. But I changed my mind -- I felt weird, didn't want to be alone and hanging with Brian sounded like just what I needed. When we got to the pool, I called Emily. I was so glad to be making this call and not another kind of call. I wasn't super good friends with her in high school, but we certainly knew each other - had friends in common, classes in common, played softball together, that kind of stuff. Just like people don't want to mess with me (for good reason, although I've shown great strides in abating behaviors such as screaming someone is a cunt skank whore in public and/or destroying their property), I didn't want to have to say "Hey Emily -- well it's great you just adopted this dog and we got to see each other again and I know you've spent a lot of time and energy on him already and I'm sure your kids just love him to pieces, but I lost him. No more dog for you. Sorry - hope you had a good trip - see ya around!" No part of that would go over well. I'm sure she has a lot more class than I do, but I'm also sure she can hurt a bitch if called for. Doesn't matter. Didn't have to do that. I told her the whole story. After she got him from the house and saw he was ok, she even joked about it. Said I could petsit for him again (I really hope she meant that), but she'd be keeping her kids in someone else's care. Fine by me.
So that's my Memorial Day weekend, 2012. Beware the rotten dog.