For those of you paying attention, you might have noticed that I missed a week. Well, we have a puppy in the house. He’s a 3 to 4 month old beagle cross who is all long legs and rambunctious energy, staying with us until he finds his forever home. If our household isn’t chaotic enough, just add a foster dog for complete pandemonium.
My favourite foster story involves a little Chihuahua named Mickey. Our rescue usually deals with large breed dogs, but a local shelter had asked for help due to overcrowding and Mickey was one of the lucky ones to be chosen to escape the cage and wait out his adoption from the comfort of our home.
The sooner we set up appointments for vaccines and neutering , the sooner we get their profile up and out on social media, so when the vet said they had a cancellation and asked if I could be there in the next hour, I jumped at the chance. Even though it was right around the time the kids would be getting home from school, I figured we could make it work. My plan was to drive the route that my kids walk home and pick them up on the way, but as I started to back out of the driveway, my son pulled in on his bike. I rolled down the window and explained the situation, as an excited and sociable Chihuahua struggled to lick the face of the excited and sociable little boy.
For once, the youngest needed no prompting to ditch the bike and get buckled up in the car and Mickey immediately recognized the benefit of riding on the lap of a little boy whose pockets always seem full of crumbs and whose face still bore reminders of the granola bar he had for lunch. With a sigh, I noticed the garage didn’t get closed, so I slammed the car in park and jumped out to quickly pull down the door. When I tripped over the discarded bike that was hastily thrown just beyond the threshold and clearly not put away properly, my sigh escalated to a glare witnessed through the windshield of the van. My son hopped out to apologize, but I interrupted him to screech, “shut the door!” because the last thing I want to do was explain how I lost a foster dog only hours after picking him up. While Mickey sat patiently in the drivers seat, the bike was put away, the garage door was shut and an abbreviated lecture was held before we headed back to the car, just as child number 2 turned up the driveway. Mickey tried to repeat his enthusiastic greeting but in his excitement, stepped on the power window button closing the small gap, moments before jumping on the power lock button effectively locking us all out.
After a few moments of stunned silence, our first instinct was to recreate the entire scenario. Under the threat of a timeline, we danced around that car like lunatics hoping to inspire the little Chihuahua to replicate his enthusiasm at the passenger side window and unlock the doors in the same accidental way he had locked them. When that didn’t work we ran back to the driver side window with still no luck. Soon neighbourhood children walking by on their way home from school witnessed our impromptu game of ring around the minivan and joined in, so now I was working with a crisis team of approximately 10 children under the age of 12, but beggars can’t be choosers.
One suggested that I use a coat hanger to break into the car and while you might doubt the intelligence of listening to a middle schooler, facebook and pinterest had lulled me into a false sense of confidence. I was convinced that the hardest part was going to be locating a wire hanger after taking Martha Stewarts advice and transitioning all of them to wood.
Luckily (or in hindsight, unluckily) I found a few in the back of the dress up closet and after a quick youtube search, was all set to break into the vehicle, save the Chihuahua and make it to the vet appointment with time to spare.
You would think I would learn.
Trying to fit a coat hanger between the rubber seal of the car is considerably more difficult than youtube would have you believe. Then, once you have the coat hanger firmly stuck somewhere in the interior of your car door, trying to find the unlocking mechanism has given me insight on the struggle men seem to have locating the “G” spot. You know it’s up in there somewhere, but you’re not really sure where, so you just wave your rod around hoping something will click.
The Chihuahua seemed to get excited though. In a frenzy of pitter pattering he managed to engage the power window button for the back passenger side door but my squeal of joy startled him into backing off before opening it all the way. Still, I could now get my arm into the van but thanks to evolution, they weren’t long enough to reach any of the buttons, so we were back to the drawing board, or should I say, back to the clothes hanger.
I positioned myself at the rear passenger side confident that I could use the coat hanger to reach the window button now that I could see what I was doing. Even though I would be late, I could still make it to the appointment and explain the situation and hopefully sneak in before the veterinarian closed their doors.
Still not learning.
With my crisis team distracting the dog on the driver side, I reached into the car on the passenger side to unlock the window. With the coat hanger giving me the length I needed I could reach, but hangers are actually pretty wobbly and while I was aiming for the down side, I somehow got tangled in the up side and that window closed with a speed and force that was unexpected. Then again, this might just be one of those things that you can’t appreciate until your arm is half way through. Still, I do not suggest trying this for yourself, just take my word for it, a window motor is like the little engine that could, and oh boy, it did.
Once again, myself, the crisis team and the Chihuahua, all observed a few moments of stunned silence until I started issuing order as effectively as I could with my arm firmly stuck in a mini van. Middle child needed to get on the phone and call her father because we had clearly reached the point of needing reinforcements. We ran into our first obstacle pretty quickly when we realized that thanks to the convenience of cell phones I had never managed to memorize my husband’s work number. With my phone sitting locked in the car with a Chihuahua who had difficulty with car doors, we decided to forego cell phone operations training for another day. That meant we were stuck using the phone book and the corded phone in the kitchen (in a moment of frustration at the price of replacement batteries versus the price of a brand new phone, I had decided to ban portable phones in our household)
and so began the testing of my patience.
After a few moments, middle child comes trotting out to my side of the vehicle to ask, “Where is the phone book”
“It’s in the drawer”
A few moments later, she pops her head around the car,
“Which drawer? “
“The top one. You might have to move a few papers but it’s there, please hurry sweetheart”
A few moments later,
“What letter should I look under? It’s not under the letter “T” for The bank”
“No, no it wouldn’t be. Tell you what, why don’t you bring the phone book to mum and I’ll find you the number”
The next few minutes I spent crowded with children as I explained the fundamentals of a phone book, as my middle child was demoted to phone book holder, before rushing her back inside with the number she needed.
From the top step, a few moments later, my middle child yelled, “It wants me to press 1 if I want English”
“Yes, press one. I think we’ve challenged ourselves enough today without practicing our French”
“Is that sarcasm Mum?”
“Yes, we’ve reached the sarcastic portion of our programming so maybe we should pick up the pace”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“NO! NOW GET MOVING!”
After a few more minutes, middle child timidly peeks around the car and asks, “Do you know the extension of the person we are trying to reach?”
I don’t even have an answer other than to bang my head against the window. I decide to send my crisis team home at this point because it’s obvious this is going to take a lot longer than we had hoped. I explain to middle child to call another adult. I didn’t even really care what adult, but I suggested my mother since she was already fully aware of the gong show she had raised. I told her to explain the situation and get her to get Dad to call the house.
After 10 more minutes, middle child came back to join me beside the car. My fingers had started to feel tingly and I could barely feel the Chihuahua licking them as she explained that Dad was in a meeting with a client and would call back in a few minutes.
“Did you explain to him that my arm was stuck in the car?”
Well, ok then.
It was obvious that I needed to swallow my pride and get help that was a little closer to home. I started sending the kids out to knock on doors but it took them a while to find someone in our 9-5 neighbourhood.
It’s amazing how calm you can be until someone arrives and starts to panic. Then it’s like the domino effect. After having my arm stuck in the vehicle for approximately 25 minutes it had started to turn a delicate shade of blue which convinced the neighbour that they needed to break the glass. The thought of the expense of replacing a broken car window, got me panicking and I suggested getting some sort of pliers to pull the coat hanger off of the button that it was wedged on. A few other parents came running up the street after hearing the news from my crisis team that had just made it home, and calling 911 was discussed. I groaned as I imagined adding a few firemen and the cost of an ambulance to my day. Happily, with two adults pushing down on the window and one adult pulling on my arm, I managed to extricate myself from the window before it slammed shut and the Chihuahua let out an excited bark as if to remind us that while one of us had gained our freedom, we still had a problem. I however had learned my lesson. I asked my daughter to practice her new found phone book skills and look up CAA and mentally scratched off professional car thief from my list of potential future occupations. As I thanked the neighbours and agreed that, “yes, I certainly do get myself in the darnedest situations” my daughter located the number and I headed into the house to make the call just as the phone rang. My husband had finished up with his client and wanted to know what on earth was going on. After giving him the coles notes version and explaining that I was just about to call CAA, he interrupts; ““a locksmith is going to cost at least $50!” and quickly assured me that he was on his way. I tell him that my arm is fine (thanks for asking) and vowed to have a talk about priorities when he got home.
When husband arrived with his set of keys and finally let the poor little Chihuahua out of the car, everyone was as good as gold for the rest of the evening. The poor little guy was probably scared that I’d lock him in the car again but I don’t suggest it as a training technique. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an arm.
In closing I want to remind everyone to spay and neuter your dog or cat and to remember a pet is a lifetime commitment. I’m sure there are a lot of other morals to this story but they say silence is golden unless you have kids or a puppy, so I should probably go discover what they are able to accomplish together.
Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him? ~Pierre Troubetzkoy