Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Missy, the Pink and Black Dog

Yesterday, a conversation jogged my memory about my dog, Missy, and the night I received my bachelor's degree. Missy was a black and white, border collie mix. She was a great dog, loyal, protective and extremely fast.

I was on top of the world the night I received by Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. I had managed financially only because I continued to live at home. My whole family celebrated with me.

By midnight, I was exhausted and had gone to bed. At one, I heard Missy barking wildly in the back yard, then her bark changed to ear piercing yelps. We lived just a few blocks north of the university in the middle of the city. I had no idea what had happened to her as I stumbled to the back door. I called her and she came at a hard run. When she was within a few feet I knew what was wrong. Missy had been skunked!

This was not the first time Missy had been sprayed. She was so fast we assumed that she would be up to the skunk before she realized her mistake. At our cabin near Lake Marble Falls, we kept a huge can of tomato juice to pour over her to neutralize the odor. We had never expected her to encounter a skunk in the middle of the city. We had no tomato juice.

When Missy reached me, I grabbed her and picked her up. The smell up close was stomach turning, but I knew that I had to keep her off the furniture.

"Take her to the tub," my grandmother ordered. I obeyed.

I stepped into the tub with Missy. This tub was an old, claw-footed one with high sides so it was no easy task to get in it with a squirming, stinking dog. I turned on the water and contemplated what to wash Missy with. My grandmother solved the problem.

"This is the best I could do," she said as she handed me two open cans of tomato soup.

I used both cans on Missy, and the odor did abate. I then washed her with soap and rinsed her thoroughly. As I dried her, I noticed that her white fur was distinctly pink. Tomato juice had never done that. I picked up one of the soup cans. Sure enough, tomato soup contained a red dye. I looked at Missy; evidently the red dye was very good at coloring dog fur.

With Missy in my grandmother's care, I took a bath. As I sat in the warm water, I contemplated my graduation night and God's sense of humor. I would never forget that night and its highs and lows.

The next morning it was clear that our black and white dog was now pink and black. Missy would take several weeks to lose the color. I am sure people wondered about the strange women that dyed their dog.

Missy did not care. I think she enjoyed the extra attention she received from visitors. Lucky for me, she never found another skunk in the city.

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