Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One Good Thing, Two Days Early

After a busy nine hour day at work, I went grocery shopping. I needed a few things for myself and also one of the greatest necessities of my household, dog food. After navigating the crowded grocery store checkout lines, I entered my home, hands filled with grocery bags, and maneuvered around anxious dogs who smelled the lunch meat in the bags. After putting the lunch meat in the protective custody of the refrigerator, I opened the back door to let the dogs out in the yard. It was then I noticed I'd only counted two dogs walk past me and (for this week only) I have three. Atticus Otulakowski was missing.

At first, I thought he'd gotten to the yard unnoticed, but after a few brief yells "Aaatttiiicccuuusss" and some brief glances about the yard, I determined he was not there and went searching throughout the house. I remembered I'd been in the basement this morning and Atticus had followed me. I quickly ran to the basement door fearful he'd been shut in all day and possibly gotten himself in to some dangerous basement-type things. I flung open the door calling "Aaatttiiicccuuusss" but there was no dog to greet me.

I ran downstairs worried I might see his dead body, poisoned by some unknown cleaning agent. No Atticus.

I ran up the basement steps yelling "Aaatttiiicccuuusss" but there was no answer.

I ran up the steps to the second floor yelling "Aaatttiiicccuuusss", expecting to find him collapsed on my bedroom floor from heat exhaustion, when I heard my next door neighbor call in the front screen door, "Barb, are you missing a dog". There was Atticus, running towards Napier Park and Four Mile Creek. And I ran after him.

Thanks to WeatherChannel.com I can tell you that at 6:30 pm it was 91 degrees in Erie, PA with relative humidity at 52%. Therefore, it felt like it was 98 degrees (what a wonderful name for a deodorant). However, meteorologists fail to factor in to their calculations the effect of panty hose on the temperature. After today's experience ( I was still in my work clothes), I feel confident stockings add an additional 10 degrees to their formula.

As I hit that wall of heat, I was amazed at how quickly I'd gone from being fearful of finding his dying body to wanting to find his dying body and wring the last bits of smelly dog breath from him!

Two of my neighbors, whose individual ages are almost equal to the temperature in degrees (Fahrenheit, not Celsius) braved the Hades-like heat to help me find him. We all ran, then walked, the creeped up and down Napier Avenue (and parts of Iroquois Ave) calling "Aaatttiiicccuuusss". One gentleman even gave me a handful of canned dog food to try to attract the dog.

For forty five minutes I roamed Lawrence Park with a handful of mystery meat, my pores absorbing the odor. After awhile, my sweat started to smell like Alpo. At about the time I was ready to go back and get in my air conditioned car and search further, "Aaatttiiicccuuusss" came right up to me, exhausted, panting and slobbering (on me) heavily. I tried to feed him the Perspiration-Poached Alpo, but he spit it out on the street.

One Good Thing - Atticus goes home on Friday.

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