I love my daughter. She is uber cool. Funny, sweet, helpful and—oddly for a teenager these days—obedient So, now and then I like to indulge her. That must explain why I volunteered to be a community coordinator for her on-line high school. Volunteering means I get to come up with clever ideas to amuse teenagers who have been chained to their computers for weeks on end. And, since I am the community coordinator, or ‘in charge’, I get to go on these outings when I have strep throat. Felt like I’d been gargling glass shards and razor blades the morning of our most recent trip. I’m on antibiotics and not contagious now. Dang. No excuse to stay in bed…
Anyway, somebody suggested I organize a trip to the Oregon Humane Society to visit the doggies. The volunteer hours would count toward National Honor Society.
How dumb am I?
Of course, my daughter gets there and finds “the dog”. “Mom! This dog loves me! Look mom! It’s like we have a psychic connection or something! I have to rescue this animal! Seriously, look at her!”
I’m looking. I see an ageing, indistinguishable breed, lumpy-ear’d mutt staring dolefully at my daughter. “Yeah, well you’ll have to get this past your dad.” I’m golden. He said no more dogs.
“Mom! I just got off the phone with Daddy-kins!”
“He’ll meet us here after work! We just have to go home and get Thurston (our fat golden retriever) and the kids and make sure she likes all of us.”
Next thing I know, it’s evening and my entire family is standing in the lobby of the humane society. My throat is killing me. My middle daughter is sobbing because of the injustice of having all of these abandon animals locked in cages. My dog is cringing, thinking we’re there to stuff him into a cage.
“Dad! Dad! C’mon! She’s in here!” High school daughter drags my husband to see the lumpy ear’d mutt. “Isn’t she beautiful?” The humane society employee springs the dog from its cage and leads us all to a meet and greet room.
The dog immediately mounts my fat golden retriever. Thurston is indignant at this lack of respect. Or lack of privacy, I’m not sure which. The kids are laughing. I feel pressed to inform them that this is pack behavior and not sexual and blah, blah, blabbity, they’re not listening.
“No, mom. That’s not why we’re laughing. We’re studying the Iliad and the Odyssey in school and there is this character named Calypso that rapes Odysseus and stuff…and so, you know, that might be a good name for her… Here, Calypso! Here, girl!”
“Oh. So!” I turn brightly to the humane society employee. “This dog is house broken, right?”
“Oh, yes, Ma’am. Absolutely.”
The dog must have taken this exchange to mean, ‘Squat and pee a gallon. Immediately.’
“So…that, there…” I point to the yellow lake, “is…?”
“Oh, dogs are pack animals and now that she’s out of her den…blah, blah, blabbity,” I’m not listening to his lies. “So.” His tone is conversational. “Did they tell you about her problems?”
“Problems?” There are more problems? More than the peeing and the humping?
“Uh, yeah, I’m really surprised they didn’t mention them.”
Daughter is kissing and fawning over lumpy dog. “Yesss, I lovers you. Mama lovers her baby.”
“What problems?” I sigh.
“Well, she’s allergic to everything.”
Employee chuckles. “Ohhh, yeah. She’s on a super strict diet. If she like eats corn, her ears explode. You may have noticed?” He points out the dog’s mangled ears.
“Mom! Doesn’t she have the cutest ears you’ve ever seen?”
“Mom! Isn’t she WONDERFUL!?” Daughter and dog frolic when dog is not humping poor Thurston and peeing yellow rivers.
I look at my deliriously happy daughter. “Yes. She is awesome.”
My house—and Thurston—will never be the same. Welcome home, Calypso.