Six years ago today, I was living in TinyTown, North Carolina, and I was headed to Raleigh for a job interview, just like Barney Fife. Remember when Barney and Andy would go there and they'd play the big-city music? It's at 2:33, below.
Perhaps as I tell this story you can have that tune in your mind.
Anyway, there I was, six years ago today, being all 42 and headed to Raleigh (big-city music) because I had a job interview in order so's I could get out of TinyTown. I probably shouldn't have been so fired up about leaving TinyTown, because now in retrospect it seems charming there, but that's easy for me to say over here in the bustling metropolis that is Greensboro.
My point is, I was about 40 minutes away from TinyTown when I passed a small yellow dog just standing on the side of a busy two-lane road. She was all by herself! "Was that a...? Oh, no!" I said, doing a U-turn back to the dog. She turned out to be a little puppy, and she wriggled happily right up to my car to say hello.
Some stranger pulls up to our house now, and that puppy would gleefully rip a stranger's neck out, but that's beside the point.
The puppy? Was Tallulah.
She was just a teensy thing, and her little tail flapped on my interview clothes when I bent to pick her up. She probably lived in one of the trailers I could see over yonder, but none of the trailers had a fence around it. Which explained why she was on the road. There was no explaining why she was so skinny, though.
I lifted her up high and our eyes met. I looked through her gold eyelashes. And I knew right then I had a dog.
Yes, I stole her. I did. Sue me. I took her right to the vet, missing my job interview, and found out she had worms, ticks, malnutrition and Lasa Fever. Okay, she didn't remotely have Lasa Fever. I just wanted to be dramatic about it. I have always felt that whoever owned her originally just didn't have the means to care for her properly, but they likely loved her, because she was a happy dog and didn't seem to have any fears. Except of the microwave. Get that microwave the hell away from her. (She just saw this and said to tell you she just doesn't approve of microwaves, is all. They offend her raw-food ideals, and incidentally, do anyone haff baby rabbit?)
When I wake up, she's the first thing I see, because she's always next to me on the other pillow. When I walk into the room, she wags her tail. Even if she's half asleep, she'll flump flump flump her tail on the mattress, a tired but sincere greeting.
She's the fastest runner at the dog park, and for the first three years, she was champing at the bit to get out the front door and run free like a HUGE DICK every chance she got. In 2011, she got out the door and ran right into the road, and I watched as a VW Bug came at her. The sound of Tallulah getting hit was one of the worst things I've ever heard, right up there with when McKenzie Phillips sang "I've Got the Music in Me" on One Day at a Time.
Tallulah was gone for three horrible days, and came home at 4:00 in the morning, smelling of moss and sleeping for 20 hours. Since then, though, you can leave my front door wide open and she won't venture out even for a small dog dressed like a steak. I have since then offered my number-one Dog Training Tip from June, because as you can imagine people are forever asking me, "How are your dogs so well-trained?" My tip is, if your dog likes to run away, hit her gently with the car. Works like a charm.
and even my inspiration. I'd love to be as dignified as my dog. I'd love to show my fangs and scare people who annoy me. I'd love to march chestily into a room and automatically everyone knows I'm in charge, here. I'd love to look the world over and say, "Hooo care?"