One of our office neighbors is a woman named Lillian. Lillian does not understand the concept of birth control. She's had several children in the past ten years. All were immediately rescued by Child Protective Services. She's also , by one means or another, come into possession of three or four litters of puppies. Lillian is no more capable of taking care of little dogs than she is of little humans. I've personally rescued (sometimes with Owner's help) three litters. Around nine weeks ago, the latest litter showed up.
They're rowdy puppies and they all weigh around twenty pounds. I listened to them while they played or cried for mom and, every once in a while, I'd stand up and look out my window to watch. I tried not to get emotionally involved while I waited for the inevitable moment when they'd crawl under our privacy fence in search of food. A couple of weeks ago, I heard one crying. I was annoyed that Lillian wasn't checking on the puppy; it was a cold, rainy day. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I looked out my window but couldn't see anything. Then I crawled up on my desk and, when I looked down, there was a chubby little dog caught under the privacy fence. She was too fat to get under.
She and another of her litter mates managed to crawl into our patio area. I grabbed them and Owner called the vet. I delivered them to the vet where they had some food and water, then lay down to take a nap. Unfortunately, not all of the dogs made it over; there was one left. I knew how lonely it must be without her sisters, but my attempts to entice her to my side of the fence were failures.
Crazy Employee wanted one of the rescued puppies. Kind of. She vacillates about everything, including the dogs. She made an appointment to pick up one of them last Saturday, but she didn't show up. These puppies are incredibly cute. They didn't make it past Monday. Loving humans saw them at the vet's office and took them home. Crazy Employee was out of luck and a little miffed.
Yesterday, my first day back from Houston, Crazy came to my office the minute she arrived. She complained about not getting the puppy and noted, at length, how abused she felt.
"Let's go get the other puppy," I said.
"It's too scary," she said.
People at my office believe Lillian is a crack dealer or a prostitute or both. They're ridiculously nervous about interacting with her. I rolled my eyes. Crazy said she'd get some cash at lunch and we'd attempt a buy when she got back.
While Crazy was still at lunch, Mr. Moneybags' daughter banged on my door and yelled that the remaining puppy and mom were out in our parking lot. Moneybags told her to let me know. I didn't pause to put on a coat. I raced down the stair and out the door. I saw the puppy headed towards Lillian's house. I kept running. Just as I got to her driveway, the puppy sat down on the porch in front of the door. I was almost certain I'd be able to grab the little wiggly thing.
Just at that moment, though, a red PT Cruiser backed into the driveway. It was Lillian. We have no idea where the car came from; she's never had one and we didn't even know she could drive. There was nothing to do but face the music.
"Hi Lillian!" I smiled. I waved and smiled some more. "I saw the puppy out in the street and I was afraid it was going to get run over so I was trying to make sure it got back in the fence." I smiled some more.
She got out of the car and I walked over, hoping to be disarming.
"You know, I'm so glad you're here. I have a co-worker whose daughter just had a birthday and we saw how cute your puppies are and she was hoping maybe you'd sell one of them to her." Yes, I was talking fast, barely taking a breath.
"Aren't you the person who climbed over my fence?" Sometime before breast cancer, I'd noticed that the adult male dog was tied up and unable to get to water, so I climbed over the fence and, just as I got the dog untangled, Lillian came out the back door.
"Only once," I said apologetically. "I'm sorry. I won't do it again."
She told me it was okay and we resumed negotiations. She wanted to know how much money my coworker would be prepared to offer.
"I don't know. She's at lunch right now, but if you're going to be here for a little while, I'll bring her over when she gets back."
"Have her call me." She gave me her phone number and I went back to the office.
As I was recounting my adventure to my mom on the phone, Crazy Employee arrived. I got off the phone and caught Crazy up on what happened and suggested she give Lillian a call. Crazy was scared.
"Oh Jesus. Come on, Crazy. What's she going to do? Say no? Just call her." It's at moments like this that I start to wonder if maybe I'm being a little pushy. Crazy was too ashamed not to call. No one answered. The entire office was involved in this escapade by now. The Information Superhighway suggested we go back over there. Everyone else agreed. I allowed public opinion to influence me and we went back over. Of course, Crazy didn't want to go, but there was no way I was going to do all the heavy lifting (in a manner of speaking) alone.
I told Crazy I thought she should start the negotiations low and work our way up to $20, which was her limit. She had ten ones and a twenty, so I told her to give me the $20. I put it in my back pocket. No need to let Lillian know we had thirty dollars. I figured that, if need be, I could offer up my part of the cash as a "loan."
We walked over and I knocked on the door. I waited. Meanwhile, Crazy Employee wandered around the side of the house to where I had previously scaled the fence several years ago. I didn't see any puppy, but I didn't want Crazy over there.
"Don't you dare get that puppy, Crazy. Get away from the fence. We can't take the puppy after I've had this conversation with Lillian...."
"May I help you?"
I turned around to see a pale, emaciated white woman in a jogging suit. She had sores on her face. Meth Head. Great. Caught in another difficult situation. Crazy stood there, speechless.
"Oh hi! I was just talking to Lillian about maybe buying one of her puppies. Crazy here has a daughter and I was going to show them to her." I smiled and tried to look nonthreatening. Meth Head told me Lillian had gone to the store and would be right back. I thanked her and we walked back to the office.
As we walked in the door, Superhighway told me the PT Cruiser was back. Lillian was home, so we headed back over. Once again, I knocked on the door. This time, a man looking suspiciously like a pimp answered the door.
"Oh hi! I was just talking to Lillian about her puppies...." I smiled a big, stupid middle aged white woman smile. I wondered whether I might have to play the breast cancer card. This guy actually did look a little scary. He turned and went back inside. Crazy and I looked at each other. Then, the door opened and he started to come back out, but instead, he turned around and shut the door again. Another couple of seconds passed, then Lillian and Pimp came back out with the dog.
"Hi Lillian. This is Crazy, the lady I work with that I was telling you about."
Lillian held the puppy and told us she had named her Pitiful because she cries so much. She went on a bit about how much she loves Pitiful. I told her that she didn't have to worry; Pitiful would be going to a home where she would be loved and she'd have kids to play with....
"Do you think I don't love my dogs?" Uh oh. I backpedalled furiously.
"Oh no! Of course I know you love your dogs! I just meant..." I'd lost her. She got back to negotiations. Crazy asked her how much she might want and Lillian countered by asking how much she was prepared to offer.
"Ten dollars?! No. That dog chewed up my going to church shoes last week and those cost me $23. If I could get my $23, I'd be willing to let go of her." Lillian abruptly turned around and walked inside the house, leaving Crazy holding the dog and me trying to think of some friendly banter to make with Pimp. She came back a minute later, holding up some shoes.
"Oh no! Bad puppy," I said. "You know, I think I have some extra money." I felt around in my jeans pockets and came up with the $20. Finally, Crazy did the right thing.
"Are you sure you don't mind," she asked. I assured her it would be my pleasure. Money and puppy changed hands. I thanked Lillian several times and, just for good measure, thanked Pimp, too.
Crazy and I took the dog to the office where everyone immediately fell in love. I needed to leave soon because I was exhausted, but I had some trouble getting Crazy into her van and on the road to the vet's office. Puppy needed de-worming, flea treatment, vaccinations. Finally I got her into the van and we delivered the dog. Crazy's picking her up at 4:00 today.
I am so tired. And I haven't even told you about the nipple. I guess that will have to wait until Monday.