One day, about 15 years ago, my son shows up with a cute German Shepherd-looking puppy that he says he & his friend Adam found inside a paper sack in the middle of the road. Being the kind and compassionate kids they were, they couldn’t just leave the poor thing there to get smashed by some road hog, so they brought him to my house and named him Corona.
About three years ago, my son off in the world with a dog of his own, I found old Corona on the back patio, with hip dysplasia so severe that he couldn’t get up, and had to give serious consideration to the idea of putting him down.
But not just yet. I’m the guy who has resurrected dead goldfish. With the help of the Internet and a kindly veterinarian in Batesville, named Suzanne, I concocted a highball of drugs and herbs and had that old feller up and walking around again in about two weeks. He’s deaf as a mule, and half blind, but he still tries to jump up on me at suppertime every night.
After the kid left home, we really started ignoring the pool in the back yard. In the last two years we haven’t even opened it up and it has become a green abyss that would get me arrested if it wasn’t hidden back there by the privacy fence. Until I get it fixed, they tell me I have to keep at least some water in it to keep the whole thing from floating up out of the ground. So the green stuff is about three feet deep on one end.
During the recent freaky cold weather it, of course, froze.
OK. There’s the set-up.
Monday night we still had about three inches of snow on the ground, and the light-colored patio around the abyss was still covered in ice. I’m laying on the couch at about 9:30 pm, waiting for Jon Stewart to come on, and I hear old Corona whimpering out there, sort of like he does when he wants another dog biscuit. But this time it was different. I turned down the TV and could tell that he wasn’t just outside the door, whining softly. He was farther away and yelping like I’ve never heard him do. So I run outside, barefoot in the snow, and there he is, down there at the deep end of the pool, with his head sticking up through the broken ice, hanging on for dear life.
Becky came out and immediately started crying, as I tried to figure out how to get him out of there without getting into that nasty pit myself. He was too far down to reach by leaning over the side. The shallow end was still frozen, but not enough for me to walk on without falling through. I mean, the old dog has been with us for 15 years, but sentiment, when weighed against the fear of typhoid, only goes so far.
I told Becky to talk to him while I ran back through the house to the garage to retrieve my fiberglass stepladder. Without taking time to put any shoes on, for fear that he’d slip beneath the ice and be gone forever, I stuck the ladder down into the deep end, and she held the top to keep it from slipping while I descended to get a hold of him.
Somehow, probably due to adrenaline and frost-bitten feet, I was able to grab him by the nape of the neck and, with one hand, yank his big wooly, stinky 85 pound you-know-what out of there and back onto the patio.
He’s been embarrassed ever since and will only come into the house to eat. We try to make him sleep in the garage, where we can’t get Babykitty to leave, but he simply refuses.
This morning, while I was on Facebook, chatting with Kim Harris, down in Little Rock, I received a Summons, notifying me that he had retained an attorney and was suing me for bodily injury and “other considerations”, due to my gross negligence.
Well, of course, that’s ridiculous. I mean, he’s a resident of the household and, besides that, he was aware of the icy conditions and assumed the risk when he decided to walk so close to the edge. And I can’t help it if he’d rather lay out there in the snow than in front of the electric heater I put right in front of his fluffy soft bed in the garage.
And, oh yeah, just a while back, James finally admitted that he didn’t really find the dog in a sack – he bailed him out of the pound. So, it is evident he has a record. We’ll see what my lawyer can find out about that. I bet he’s been setting this scam up for the last fifteen years.
I’ve gotta go now. There are 16 pages of interrogatories to complete.
© 2010, Rick Baber