When Mandy Met Sookie …

I remember it all very well looking back. It was the summer I turned 18. Wait, that’s not how this story goes … It was actually October 6, 2009. Betsy and I were driving home in a down pour from the Emergency Laptop Repair Center, or as I like to call it … Jake’s house. (Oh yeah … Betsy was my 1997 Ford F150 pick up truck who didn’t like first gear … or second gear really. Straight to third for her! RIP Betsy) Anywhoo, I pulled in to my driveway and sat for a minute hoping the rain would subside. Betsy also had a leaky gasket liner on the driver’s side door, so I wasn’t exactly staying dry. But, who can turn off the radio in the middle of a Tom Petty song? Seriously. So, after I finished running down a dream I decided to run for the door. I made it to the porch when I saw what looked like a cat or a large New York City sewer rat hop from my flower bed and run under Betsy.

Internal mandylogue: What in the heck was that?! … I should probably go check it out. What if it tries to eat me? Maybe I should just throw it a piece of chicken. Man, it’s pouring! I’m gonna get wet-er, muddy-er, and possibly rabies. What if it attacks me? … Mandy, it’s the size of a bunny rabbit. Maybe it is a bunny rabbit. It’s not a bunny rabbit … Ok, but … Craaaappp … Let’s go check it out. If it’s a skunk I’m gonna be mad …

While this struggle is raging inside my head I’m standing at the front door watching this tiny little monster peer at me from the shelter of Betsy’s chassis. After I’m satisfied with the length of the stare down I drop my computer inside the door and head towards the ratkittyskunkbunny. I dropped to my knees in front of Betsy and to my surprise it doesn’t run away from me, instead it runs right at me! AAAHHHHH!!!!! … That’s it. I’m a stinker. It’s going to spray me … Oh, thank God … it’s a puppy … I think.

It was a puppy! A very wet, muddy, starving, stinky, and adorable little baby. She was so tiny; 5 lbs soaking wet! For some reason I knew “it” was a “her” instantly. I picked her up and got us both out of the rain and into the house. The muddy puppy went straight to the bath tub where she received a de-mudifying body scrub, which she seemed to view as some form of torture. Puppy no like bathroom. After her shake dry she proceeded to run around my house like I’d injected her bath water with crack. “Great,” I thought, “My mom told me to never let a psycho into my house … and now look what I’ve done.” The sad thing was, she really did look like a junkie puppy. She obviously hadn’t eaten in days. And, I have no idea how she got to my yard in the first place. (I live on one of the busiest streets in Nashville. People can hardly cross this road … much less puppies … or chickens.) … I have nothing to feed this puppy. So, I put my jacket back on, go back out in the rain, and head to the store to get some food for this creature.

Internal mandylogue: Ok, she just needs food for tonight. Surely someone is looking for her. I’ll ask around the neighborhood tomorrow and find out where she belongs. … She doesn’t belong anywhere, Mandy, she is starving. Yeah, but I can’t keep her … can I? No, I travel too much. I won’t be able to take care of her. I’ll just get a can of food for tonight. Well, what if I don’t find her a home right away? Ok … I’ll just get a small bag just in case she’s with me for a few days. Hmmm … if she’s there a few days she might want something to play with. I’ll get her a chew toy. I like both of these … I’ll get her two chew toys. I should get some shampoo and give her a proper bath, too. Oh! I bet she’s never had a puppy treat … I should get her some of those. I’ll need to get a leash, too, for when I walk around the neighborhood to find her real home …

Yeah … right. What I didn’t realize at that time was, she became my dog the minute she ran to me for protection from the storm. She chose me. And she chose wisely … because I am a sucker. Who spends $40 on a dog they’re keeping for a day? No one, that’s who. I made it back to the house with “the food” to discover she didn’t need a chew toy, my shoe would work just fine. (Here’s a short list of my belongings that no longer exist … 2 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of tennis shoes, 1 flip flop, 1 pair of 9West eye glasses, Wii owners manual, SPC Deans list Certificate, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, KJV Bible, 1 cell phone case, 3476 tubes of chapstick … and a partridge in a pear tree.)

I spent a total of 5 minutes the next day investigating where she came from before I decided she was mine and that was that. I took her to the vet where they asked for her name … … Oh, yeah … her name … uh … uh … her name is Sookie! (Yes, I named her after Anna Paquin’s character on the extremely “sucksessful” HBO show TrueBlood. Mostly because I like saying “Soooookie!!” like Vampire Bill does … He’s pretty hot for a dead guy.) The doc determined she was about 4 months old, and other than being a little malnourished she was in great health.

It’s not always easy. It’s not always cheap. It makes me sad to be away from her so much; one day I’ll be able to travel with her I hope. But it is worth every minute, every penny, every surprise “gift” clean up, and over priced vet bill. She’s my hairy little baby. My Sookie Monster. My blessing.

… And to this day she will not set foot in the bathroom.

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