Tagged “Safe” At Home
Vicky Poutas | @vickypoutas
Queen Of Hearts
It’s a beautiful day at the dog park, and you’ve decided to play a game of “catch” with your 3-year-old Labrador, Flapjack. Truth be told, it was Flapjack’s idea. When you sat down to talk to the other pet parents, here came Flapjack, drool dripping from his favorite toy, a bright, green plastic disc you found in the parking lot near your home.
Flapjack is jumping up and down with excitement, spittle flying everywhere. “Come on, mommy,” his antics say, “let’s go do that thing where you throw, and I sprint like mad to jump in the air and catch the green thingy, all with precision and serious hang time.”
To keep your friends from getting any more seriously spat upon by Flapjack’s enthusiasm, you heave yourself off the bench and take the saturated disc. You figure you’ll go a few rounds, wear Flapjack down, and go back to chewing the fat with the regulars.
You throw the disc for a deliriously happy Flapjack who returns it, panting like mad, three times before the pain hits you.
Your chest hurts. Then an invisible elephant comes out of nowhere and sits on it.
You go down hard, body twisting, arms flailing. Your fellow park goers see your macabre dance and know things have taken a turn for the ugly. You have just enough time to register that a tide of people are rolling in, feel Flapjack’s concerned, wet, nose on your cheek, and hear a voice say, “Hello, 911? I think we have a woman having a heart attack at the dog park on Sample and 132nd street,” before the lights go out.
They’re Very Hospitable Here
Hours later, your eyes snap open. Where are you? Where’s Flapjack? “Wherze muh dawg?” you manage to mumble. “He jud be right’chere,” and you pat the air next to you.
A woman in a white lab coat shines a light into your eyes. “You’ve had an angina attack, Mrs. Smith.”
“Sum one ‘tacked me?”
“An angina attack,” the doctor says patiently. “It has symptoms similar to a heart attack, but you’ll be fine.”
“But wherzz Flapjack?” you repeat dumbly. “I cn’t talk. Whazzamatta with muh tongue?” You lick the back of your hand to demonstrate how dry and fuzzy your tongue is.
“It’s the morphine, Mrs. Smith. Just lay back. You’ll be out of here in no time” she says, and leaves.
Morphine dreams have you running through mirrored mazes, looking for Flapjack. At one point, a light bulb with one red filament that spells out “Flapjack,” flickers above your head.
Suddenly alarms are going off. You’re wide-awake and halfway out the door with your backside hanging out of the hospital gown before you realize it’s your cell phone. You fumble it from your handbag. “’Lo?”
“Cheryl, I’m so glad you’re all right. It’s Samantha from the dog park. I wanted you to know that we have Flapjack.”
Flapjack! Thank goodness a friend has him. He’s your world. Relief floods through you.
“Thank you. I’ll be by to get him soon.”
Tagged “Safe” At Home
Driving to Samantha’s, you think, “What if Flapjack got lost in all the mayhem?” The tags you have on him are his rabies tags. Most people don’t know you can track an animal through his rabies tags.
You stop at a major pet outlet before getting Flapjack, buy him a handsome tag, and have his pertinent information engraved on the tag right at the store.
He’s overjoyed to see you walk through the door. As he’s covering you with kisses, you slip his engraved tag onto his collar.
You feel euphoric. You’ve got an extra layer of protection surrounding your precious fur face. If you two get separated again, his name, and your name and phone number is on that tag.
Something as simple as a tag that you can get at any major pet store will make sure that from now on, Flapjack will be, to borrow a baseball term, tagged “safe” at home.