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>The Prodigal Pup

March 9, 2011

>Joy woke up long enough to turn over onto her back, eat a few bites of chocolate pudding and is now drifting off to sleep. So let me tell a story about Daisy.

This is a story about Daisy with an attitude.

It was Monday.

In the bustle of last-minute getting ready to send the girls to Nana’s and take Joy to the hospital, I had forgotten to get Joy’s hair cut. When you see this spica cast, you’ll understand that there is no way she’ll be able to sit on my lap in the chair at the salon. So it was quick: get an appointment Monday morning or go without cutting it for six weeks.

Daisy was curled up asleep, her little, innocent, couch potato self when I made the appointment.

Faith and my husband were away at her science and art tutorials. Grandma was over so I thought I’d give Mercy and Hope a fun errand to do. While I was with Joy getting her hair cut, the girls and Grandma could go to the store next door and see if they could find foam letters spelling Joy’s name for her hospital room.

Everyone was excited. Even Daisy, who woke from her nap and came to the door to tell us “goodbye.”

Or so we thought.

Daisy bolted past Hope out the door and into the garage.

No problem. Except I’d just opened the overhead garage door.

Daisy caught a whiff of the snow-melt puddles in the street and took off.

What’s a mom to do?

Leave Grandma to get everyone buckled up in the van.

Casually saunter after Daisy, reaching into my coat pocket for an imaginary treat –the same pocket that held real treats when Daisy went to puppy school –confident that she’d happily respond to my “Daisy, come!” just like she had come when I called her earlier that morning.

Daisy glanced over her shoulder, sniffed out the faux-treat scam and blithely fled down the street.

I herded Daisy up a neighbor’s driveway, where she was safely fenced by towering banks of snow. I squatted down, pulled out another invisible treat. “Daisy, come!”

Daisy happily came. Then as I reached out to scoop her up, she darted out of my hands and took off down the street again.

Emboldened by her escapade, she deserted our quiet culdesac and turned onto the Big Street. The one with all the through traffic. And just like a car, Daisy zoomed down the middle of the street, glancing back occasionally to see that I was still following her.

“This is stupid,” I thought. “I am the alpha dog in this pack. You are a six pound up-start of a pup.”

I stepped in a puddle. “This is stupider. I am wearing my cute shoes. I only dressed to walk across a parking lot, not chase a puppy in the snow.”

I stopped. Daisy stopped. Fifty feet ahead of me, now two full blocks away from our house.

I squatted down and made a dramatic show of digging through my purse, producing a brightly colored tin of mints. I rattled it and took out a mint in exaggerated treat-fashion. Daisy was too far away to scent my ploy. As soon as I saw her ears prick up, I commanded “Daisy, come!”

Daisy came. I made her sit. I made her stay. Then I scooped up my prodigal pup and took her home.

*****

Five minutes later, with Daisy safely locked in the house, on the way to get Joy’s hair cut, Hope asked from the back seat, “Mom. Were you scared?”

“Scared about Daisy?” I asked.

“When she ran away.”

“Well, I wasn’t exactly scared,” I said to the girls. “I just wanted to catch her.” Then I turned to Grandma and added ruefully,”About as much as I’d want to catch a house payment blowing away down the street.”

“Well, I wasn’t scared,” Hope insisted.

“Omniscient?” Mercy suggested, “God knows everything. Even where Daisy ran off to.”

“No,” Hope said. “I didn’t mean that. I mean the shot. I wasn’t scared ’cause Daisy got the shot.”

I was utterly baffled at this turn in the conversation. “What shot?” I asked.

You know, Mom. You took her,” Hope insisted.  “The memory shot. The one that helps her remember where her house is.”

*****

Serves me right for dumbing-down “Micro Chip” to “Memory Chip” when I explained the procedure to the girls.

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