For the love of dogs, and teachers like you

No word of a lie, it was indeed an interesting week.
I’m now on a doggie hiatus, having been relieved of my duties by “Mr. P,” who returned from the north just in time to save me from “Little Miss Goes Berserk.”
And as “Pepe” and “Bear” piled into my boyfriend’s truck and took up their travel positions, a part of me wished the dogs would stay another week, maybe two.
But then I slapped myself across the face—twice—and repeated the words uttered by Cher in the 1987 movie “Moonstruck.”
“SNAP OUT OF IT!”
When the dogs left the yard for home, I rubbed my red and smarting cheek, then bolted inside and skidded across my kitchen floor, pumped one fist, and screeched at the top of my lungs, “Freedom!” as I played air guitar.
I was Tom Cruise in the 1983 movie “Risky Business.” I danced the “Funky Chicken” by myself, jumped up and down all over my bed (and the one in the spare room), and line-danced with a stuffed animal named “Joe” (the sacrificial monkey with a permanent smile) who survived a week of being thrashed around by “Pepe.”
Then I cracked open a bottle of red wine and had two glasses before I realized it was only 2:30 in the afternoon.
What the heck. The sun was shining. I took the bottle outside, grabbed a lawn chair, and piled into my solo Sunday afternoon like an audience of concert fans.
Surely, yes, there had been doggone good times. There also had been dogged settings ripped from the 1837 children’s classic, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
I’d come home to a house hurricane with bed sheets set to chaos. Cupboard doors (at dog level) were thrown open and yes, believe it or not, the “Quaker Oats” bag had been discovered, dismembered, and oatmeal had been strewn about in mouthfuls.
As I entered the storybook scene, I uttered the words of my childhood readings, “Someone has been eating my porridge!” and “Someone has been sleeping in my bed!”
“Pepe” and “Bear,” curled up quaintly on my expensive leather sofa, glanced up from their faked day-long housings with shifty stares of innocence. Guilty as charged.
I’ve since foamed my peed-on carpet, pushed four loads of dog blanket laundry through my washing machine, and picked at least a wig’s worth of dog hair off my furniture.
Yet, sadly, there are no vociferous “woofs” and dog hugs that signal my furry friends’ excitement to my homecoming from work.
It is very quiet in here. The doggone dogs, might I say, are missed.
And for you, Joyce Cunningham, one of the finest English teachers of my high school years, who passed away on Nov. 7, 2015, far too soon for this town of your passion, and most certainly before you and I had had one last chat on the controversial subject of using a conjunction to begin a sentence, I end this story wishing you still were here.
But alas, we don’t always get what we wish for.
And yet, no matter what, I will never forget you, the teacher, who gave me wings.

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