In Search of Ponies: Procedure may lighten load

Sharna Johnson

He knew something was up when I spent an extra second scrubbing behind his ears, then rinsed and combed out his unruly curls.

And he slept a little closer to me, stealing more of my pillow than usual — nudging me when the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m.

Oh yeah, I knew he was on to me when he jumped quietly into the car and sat like an angel through the short drive to the rally point.

“When you say bad, how bad is bad?” I remembered her voice on the phone when the arrangements were made and pictured the gnawed hole in the side of his kennel at home.

But he didn’t fight me a bit when I pushed him headfirst into the plastic crate and secured the door.

“See you on the other side buddy,” I silently sent the thought his way.

It’s a first for him, but I’ve been through this before. He’s not the first pooch to loose his “treasures” at my direction and he won’t be the last.

I have been waiting for this day so long, my eyes popped open this morning like a kid on Christmas day.

As I write this, I am nursing my coffee and my wiry-haired hellion is on his way to Lubbock where he will be shaved, given sleepy juice and hopefully wake with a new perspective on life; minus a couple of things that have been interrupting his emotional balance and rationality.

It’s been my experience “the procedure” is not unlike getting an oil change or new set of tires. You always drive away with a lighter pocket and, somewhere in the back of your brain, the expectation that your car will perform a little better.

In reality if you’re lucky, the most you get is the little light on the dash goes off or the familiar bumps on the road home feel a tad smoother.

In Gilligan’s case I hate to say I’m hoping for a total realignment.

“Separation anxiety”

I still laugh when I think of the disclaimer/understatement of the century he came with.

In fact when people meet him for the first time they almost always exclaim, “I thought he was bigger,” his antics precede him so.

Oh he is. He gets by on his disarming, so ugly-he’s-cute goofiness, but there’s a heck of a lot of dog in that 30-pound bundle. And he has earned every meaning-laden letter of his name.

Among many, many issues has been the challenge of trying to keep the boy home – an endeavor not unlike trying to hold water in a colander.

After his last exploration lasted three days and ended in cage 18 at the shelter, I decided to double-tag him, a decision I came to question over the next couple months as I drove, sometimes three times a day a day (and always at the worst possible times), to the homes of Samaritans all over town to retrieve his mangy hide.

“We used to own him,” a teenage girl told me once as I unceremoniously tossed him in the car. “We took him back because he was too destructive.”

Noooo. Really? You mean my mini-blinds weren’t the first? Go figure…

I was looking for a gentle giant when I saw his polar opposite picture on the Internet and I just knew without a doubt he was the one.

I usually turn my nose up at smaller dogs, but the whirling dervish, mischievous, fence climbing, free-spirited, devil-may-care mini-blind eating, destroyer of kennels has turned out to be the yang to my yin.

Granted, I could do with a smaller serving of yang.

I wonder… if the Skipper had the option I am exercising today, would they have made it off the island? Doubtful, but the adventures may have gone a little differently.

Oh well, maybe the bumps in the road will be just a little smother.

See you on the other side buddy…