(This story is inspired by Gooney Bird Greene, a little girl who I wish I had met a long time ago, but who taught Vivienne and me tons about how to share the stories of our lives. If you’ve seen her name on recommended readings lists, don’t be turned off by the title or the cover. It is a delightful book that somehow teaches the elements and process of story-writing through the most charming character.)
Our Neighbor has a Dog Eating Turkey
Once upon a time, this past Saturday morning, I was busy in the kitchen, scrubbing off the remains of crepe-batter from the frying pan. Ryan had bundled the little girls up, and they had headed out into the snow, like three puffy marshmallows. No sooner had they tramped out the garage door into the snow, than Vivienne clunked up the porch steps and rang the doorbell frantically. I left the pan in the sink and answered the door.She could barely catch her breath, “Hurry! He’s sinking in the pond! He can’t get out of the ice!”
My heart leaped and my eyes quickly scanned the yard, “WHO’S sinking?” I asked, as I grabbed my sweater.
“Hurry! He needs some rope!” Vivienne pleaded. At that moment, I saw Ryan running across the yard towards the pond, a long rake in his right hand. As I ran towards the basement steps to find some rope, Vivienne finally answered my incessant, “WHO is sinking?!”
“The dog! The neighbor dog!”
As I headed down the basement steps, the best rope I could find was some twine. This is not good enough… God, help, what would work, what would work? Suddenly, I spotted Ryan’s backpack full of climbing gear: webbing! I grabbed the pack. Then, even better, the toddler swing! I imagined tossing the swing out into the water, catching the dog by the rear-end, and pulling him across the ice in the blue Tikes swing. In a matter of moments, my arms were filled with possible rescue devises, and I headed outside. But Ryan was already running back towards the basement door with a shivering wet dog.
Despite my impressive arsenal of equipment, Ryan had simply splayed out on the ice, grabbed the dog’s collar, and pulled him to safety. From the looks of things, Ryan saved him in the nick of time. (Hero.)
“Chomps.” That’s his name, our neighbor dog who loves to explore our property. He’s big and strong, and has a healthy bark on him. “Chomps”: always so confident, so alarming, so worthy of that frightening name. (Who names their dog “Chomps”?!) But, this particular morning, he was vunerable and aching, proving that everybody hurts sometimes, even the big dog.
We brought him into the basement so he could warm up a bit. I draped an old rug over his back and Ryan patted him and ruffed him up to get his blood flowing. The girls were so tickled to have a dog in the basement; I’m sure he never heard so much sweet-talk in his life. My very-dormant animal-helping instincts kicked in and I thought, “Ah! We must feed him!” I rushed up to the refrigerator and was thrilled to find a great big pile of aluminum foil wrapped all around the biggest turkey leg you ever did see. (Leftovers from Thursday’s dinner.)
I plunked the leg in a tupperware container, filled an old bowl with tepid water, and headed downstairs with my dog-snack. Chomps devoured that turkey leg, and I felt real pleased with myself. I, Laura, fed a dog.
The owners hurried over to pick him up soon after, and were so grateful for Ryan’s bravery. Though he was in our care for a total of 20 minutes, Vivienne sniffed when their car drove away. Shaking her head, she said, “You know, I’m gonna miss that old guy. Good old Chomps.”
And that is the absolutely true story of how Ryan saved the day (again) and our neighbor’s dog ate turkey.