September 7th 2008 8:17 pm
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My mom put up a photo of the little mannequin "children" that befriended me the night when I was lost.....they look much eerier in the dark, though!
September 23rd 2006 6:03 pm
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My dog Mason
I just let in the most mammoth housefly I ever seen into my house by trying to shoo a yellow-jacket outside. It is one of those huge flies that you can hear before you see it, and by the time you hear it, you are seconds away from being dive-bombed. I should have just got out the Raid and killed both of those nuisances. I have every reason to seek some sort of karmic revenge on bees. Its a long, stupid story.
The abridged version is that two years ago, while hiking in the Rollin T. Grant nature park here in Lockport (which is a great park, btw, I am just sort of soured to the whole idea of the place.) My dog Adlai put his face in a nest of ground bees, which are one of the most aggressive species of wasps around here. He had them all over his face and well, they were furious! He was also teetering on the edge of the parks only waterfall, and was heading straight for it...So I jumped in. I mean really, what choice did I have? I grabbed him from the brink, and I am not being histrionic. I ran off but by then they were onto Jeff our other two dogs and me. I was running and getting stung innumerable times. I guess you just can't outrun bees, especially when they are pissed off! We were heading in the general direction of the car, but somehow with all of the bees and hysteria (on my part) we lost Mason, our Rat Terrier. When we reached the car, he was just gone. So obviously we loaded up the others and went back to find Mason, who had also been stung many, many times. He was no-where...as if he had just vanished into thin air. We ended up looking for him for about ten hours...no sign of him. We had the help of all of the neighbors in the area, and we said, ''If you see him, hear him or have any sign of him, call us!'' We took the other poor stung dogs home, called the radio station and the Sheriff, and headed back to resume our search. We looked and looked until after dark. After giving up for a few hours to check the answering machine, etc, at midnight we got a call, from the people across from the park. They had seen him on their back porch, but when they went to grab him, he ran away. Immediately we went back. We had left an old sweatshirt and some kibble where we last saw him. There was still no sign. We went back home, devastated. He was just a little dog, and he was on his own, stung to oblivion, lost in an area where coyotes and other predatory animals run rampant. After a few hours of pretending to sleep, the phone rang again. It was the lady from across from the park. She said she thought she heard him howling and crying in the park. It was 5 a.m. We rushed back over across town.
Now (if you have read this far) you are probably thinking ''You idiots, why didnt you just stay there?'' Well, we did for much of the night. We just sat in the car, waiting, after we were too exhausted to look anymore. We had to go home to check the answering machine, as it was the phone number on his collar. Plus it was so black and terrifyingly hopeless in those woods. Its funny, I am one of those people who think they would do well ''Roughing it'' but when it comes down to it, I am a big wimp about outdoorsy stuff. But then perhaps if everything was okay, I may have had a different attitude.
We decided to take Jeff's truck the next time we got the call. It has a very distinctive rattle in the front end, that the dogs wait for every night at about five p.m. They could I.D. the sound of his truck from an auditory line-up.
My hope was fading fast, I wont lie. We drove back to the park, all the way the Toyota making that distinctive rattle. Jackson Street is very isolated. The neighbors who had called us, and helped us so much have these very bizarre, yet eerily beautiful mannequins of children in their yard. Throughout the year, they display them in various poses, appropriate to the seasons and holidays. They are sort of famous in Lockport. Everyone seems to know them. They have even been stolen and recovered over the years. The cool part is you are driving down this wooded, beautiful, yet otherwise non-descript stretch of winding, mountainous road, and all of a sudden, you see all of these make believe children, playing, doing stuff that takes you back to a place and time in your own life that you thought you had forgotten. A diversion, for those just passing through, but they now mean so much more to me.
We came up the hill, and I told myself, ''Don't get your hopes up, he may be dead.'' The moon was high and the ''children'' were drenched in the light of it. It was strangely beautiful. There, in the middle of the mannequins, the remoteness of that spot, standing just as stiff and still as the children were, was Mason. He has one foot up, in a classic pointing dog fashion...who knows where he got that? He seemed mesmerized by something. I was so afraid he would run away from us, if he was damaged from whatever the hell happened to him, he may. He didn't; he remained there. I grabbed him and he was alive, he was warm and real and tangible. I put my face in his fur and wailed. I felt like thanking some cosmic force that oversees us, but I realized the people to thank were the neighbors, and their strangely comforting mannequins. To Mason, I suppose, they looked like little non-threatening people. And somehow, being completely inanimate, they saved his life.
Mason and I slept long into the next day. He slept with his chin cradled on my neck, as I lay on my side, his body smashed up to mine, as if he wants to somehow get under my skin. We have slept together like that from that day forward. I can't begin to describe the blissfulness of it, how thankful I am to have him back, alive, real, unharmed. I will never know what really happened to him. All I know is I have him back. And I owe it all to some complete strangers, and their...mannequins.
What brought this on? Well, we went to an outdoor flea market today, with the dogs, and people kept commenting on what good dogs they were. I would laugh and say, ''Well for the next ten seconds, anyway... ''-But in my heart I know what good dogs they are, and how important they are to me.
I also watched My Dog Skip last night on a DVD I bought from the $5.00 bin at Wal*Mart. I thought I was sitting down to watch some trite, formulaic kids movie...you know, everyone goes away happy with a warm, fuzzy sort of feeling. I couldn't have predicted by the end of it, I would be reduced to a blubbering idiot. I sat on my couch and wept like a complete fool. I felt stupid. How often does a bargain bin movie reduce you to thinking about the inevitability of life and death and everything in between, and how something so meaningless to everyone else could mean so much to you?
There is something about that universal feeling of dread that is loss without closure that affects everyone who has ever experienced it. It is the absolute worst feeling I know. I am thankful it all ended as well as it did. I for one, can't fathom the alternative.