Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tempest's Story

Or how I caused my family to lose everything but win a hundred bucks worth of dog toys.

I heard Tempest's story about a year ago. It was a Friday afternoon in late September. I stopped at the library and then at the local farmer's market to pick up some home made cranberry bread and strawberry preserves. My favorite place in Winnebago is called Between Friends, an antique/gift shop with a sandwich counter, a coffee bar, and a great bakery selection.

As I got out of my car in front of Between Friends, the SUV next to me erupted in barking. I looked through the windows and there was a black and white border collie, very much like my Aggie. I quickly entered the shop so the collie would settle down and relax her hyper guard dog attitude.

Inside there was one woman drinking a latte and eating some yummy looking bakery confection. I asked her if that was her border collie in the SUV. Yes she said it was and introduced herself as Susan Hanson. She invited me to join her and so began our conversation.I started by telling her about my Aggie, aka Demon Dog, aka the Six Million Dollar Dog, aka other unprintable names. She just laughed at my description of Aggie's behaviors and my complaints of the extreme costs of owning a border collie. After I finished Susan said, "Let me tell you how we lost our house, everything we owned, and our old Labrador Retriever, but won a hundred dollars".

(Skipping ahead to after the ordeal, Susan entered a contest with the following essay. Her story won and that's where the hundred bucks worth of dog toys comes in.)

So, here in Tempest's own words, her letter to Santa explaining why she is not the naughtiest dog in the world:

Dear Santa,
My name is Tempest, and Mom says I'm the naughtiest dog in the world, but I can explain.
When I was younger, I used to enjoy sitting on the warm hot tub cover and watching over the yard. Mom decided to shut down the hot tub in December, and then the cover was cold. Boy did that make me mad! When she went to work the next day, I tore the cover to bits. Mom attributed it to puppyhood. She waited two years to buy another cover and start up the tub again. I had my warm perch back! That December, Mom shut down the tub, and guess what? I tore it up. You'd think she'd learn.
Let's skip the mini blinds, the patio blinds, the smoked salmon, and the time I went after the electric saw that I thought was trying to attack our neighbor. I sneaked up from behind and tried to get the saw from between his legs. I don't know what I banged my head on, but he yelped like a litter of puppies!
A few months ago, after a boring breakfast of dog food, I got up on the kitchen counter for a box of donuts. I had to reach way up high into the cupboard above the stove. I didn't want the potato chips that were there, so I shoved them out of the way and they landed on the gas stove. I must have hit the burner knob on the stove when I jumped down with my box of donuts.
Turns out potato chips are flammable. I had already done some home remodeling on the cat door that Mom had installed when she got the cat. The door was supposed to allow the cat (but not me) to get to the litter box in the basement, but I had widened it prior to the fire. It was my carpentry skills and ingenuity that saved that cat and me when that stove started a fire We both escaped into the basement. So really, Santa, I should be treated as a hero for saving the cat's life!
Two hot tub covers: $500
Four sets of blinds: $800
Structural damage to our house: $100,000
Mom panicking over my smoke inhalation: Priceless!
Love, Tempest

In her letter to Santa, Tempest doesn’t mention that the family’s beloved lab was killed in the fire. Tempest must think Santa didn’t have that information.

As I drove home that evening, I thought about all the destruction and damage my Aggie has caused. I decided I’m very lucky by comparison.