OPINION

Finding the real: Everyone needs a little Sammy-love now and then

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Nothing like a little puppy love to make a person feel better, even on a long, cold, stressful Monday.

Sometimes a bad day just can't be avoided. There might be mind tricks and mental games to play to keep a bad day from getting worse, but I found out Monday that there is one solution that helps make things right when all seems to be going wrong - and it can only come from a puppy.

We got a new puppy in our family a few weeks ago and life has been very interesting ever since, to say the least. Our little Sammy is a bundle of sweet joy, exuberant and playful one minute, cute and cuddly the next. In between, we have chewed up slippers, shredded toilet paper rolls and tipped over dog food bowls to keep us busy. But none of those things come even close to making a day go bad.

Bitter cold temperatures outdoors on Monday made it difficult for me to get going in the morning. I didn't mind so much bundling up and going out to care for my goats, chickens and donkeys, but it was the thought of having to go in to the office and do work that got me feeling sorry for myself. Everyone else seemed to be lucky enough to be able to take the day off, but not me.

Knowing I had to face classified page chaos, undone stories, and a pressure-cooker of page design deadlines, I got myself out the door and into a vehicle. But my usual ride didn't want to start. It was really, really cold, I got that, but the engine sounded funny when it finally did start and the engine light came one. Oh well, probably just needed to warm up some. 

I got off the yard and down the road to my office, but when I got there realized I had left my office keys in the pocket of the coat which I wasn't wearing (because the zipper broke when I tried to put it on earier) and had to go all the way back home to get them. When I got back home I noticed a bit of steam coming from the engine of the little truck, but hey, it was cold outside! Maybe that wasn't so unusual. Wrong.

Turns out my little Mazda pickup didn't want to go to work any more than I did. The antifreeze wasn't good and all visible symptoms pointed to an engine that was possibly cracked. While the shade-tree mechanics in the family grumbled and hashed out the problem in the -20 degree wind chill on the yard, I ran inside to get the keys to my daughter's truck so I could get back to work. Her Ford Explorer started easily enough, but since it had not been driven for a few days, needed some ice-scraping on the windows. While it was warming up, I transferred my purse, camera, office keys and everything else I needed for work that day to the front seat of her Ford, then stepped out to look in the back seat for the ice scrapper. The front driver's door shut and locked.

I tried the door handles, all locked. So now, all my "stuff" was in the Ford, which was fully locked up with the engine running. Noooo!

The shade-tree mechanics weren't at all ready to be helpful nor were they happy about my new vehicle situation. Daughter didn't have a second key, no-one in the family knew the key code entry sequence. The key fob was locked into the truck on the same ring as the only truck key, of course.

All this while, there were three or four of us crazy humans now running back and forth to the house, in and out of the cold, looking for antifreeze, looking for answers, looking for gloves, looking for extra keys, looking for coat hangers to try to pry open the locked truck door, looking for someone to blame for stupid vehicle problems. No one was happy except our sweet little puppy Sammy who was joyously romping along, thinking this was some kind of fun game.

I couldn't help but laugh as he skidded around on the icy snow and chomped at the sprays of snow he plowed up. He didn't understand the frustration of vehicle problems his humans were having, he just wanted to play.

Sent back inside to find something stronger than a coat-hanger to pry open the running truck door, I sat down momentarily at the kitchen table. Sammy was by my side instantly. He cocked his head in that cute puppy way, sensing my distress. Then he gave a little twist and jumped up to lick my face, taking care of those tears that were trying to seep out of my eyes. Of course, he smudged up my glasses royally and got his front paws tangled in my hair. Then he caught sight of the puff ball on my stocking hat and grabbed ahold of it, ahh the perfect play toy right there on top of human's head.

After a romp and tussel around the kitchen table, I managed to get my stocking hat back and gave Sammy a few kisses of my own. There's just nothing like a little puppy love to put things back into perspective. 

Mondays are always going to be Mondays, cold weather will come and go, and so will vehicles for that matter, but it's the little gifts of love that keep a person going. Slobbery puppy kisses are the best. We all need a little Sammy in our lives now and then.