In the midst of a depressing economic recession, I discovered a delightful escape – if only for a day. Take your puppy on a family outing. Okay, so it wasn’t really a family outing, just my husband and me, and Boxcar isn’t really a puppy – she’s a 15 year old pug (in dog years, that’s 105). But yesterday we took the Jet Express across Lake Erie to Put-in-Bay. For those of you who haven’t been, Put-in-Bay has been coined the “Key West of the Midwest.” It was cool weather for a lazy summer day, and we weren’t about to spend it indoors. So we grabbed our sunglasses, our wallets, and a little cart made for hauling boating supplies… only we transformed it into Boxcar’s chariot for the day.
Boxy can no longer walk or hear, and she has more cataracts than teeth, but nonetheless she was excited to be included in the excursion. Here’s the real kicker. People could not stay away from her! At one point, my husband said he felt we were in a zoo because of all the pointing, stares and smiles. But hey, it was all good.
From collegiate boys in Budweiser hats and no shirts to small children wanting just to pet her, Boxy’s following grew. And as the day went on, the intoxication level of the Put-in-Bay crowd grew as well. One girl wanted to share with us how her little dog just passed away last week. She needed a sympathetic ear. A young man talked to us endlessly how he was planning to adopt a dog because he and his wife could not have children. He wanted confirmation. And one dude with a red, white and blue bandana tied around his forehead and dressed in Daisy Duke cut-offs came to pet her, too. He, apparently, just wanted to live in the eighties again.
My friend Carolyn joined us once on a similar excursion with Boxcar and commented that she wished she had a device to “click” the number of times people smiled when they saw our dog. She believed it was a therapeutic service we were performing.
So yesterday, having a few drinks in a few bars and toting around a paraplegic pug was our contribution to people looking for a reason to smile.