24 January 2011

Once Upon a Time

...

...there was a cute little puppy named Beauregard Buttons.  His owners, Jack and Jo, loved Beau with all their hearts. They played with him. They fed and watered him daily.  They bathed him weekly.  But most of all they snuggled and loved Beau almost every minute of every day.

"Lookit his little tail," they laughed. "Look how it wiggles and wags!"

Beau was a quick little tyke full of energy and life. He liked to run and play and jump. He liked to chase.
Jo and Jack let Beau play inside the fenced yard around his lovely home as much as possible, because they knew he was safe, and he so much loved to run.

One day, as Beau was chasing a beautiful, blue butterfly across the lawn, it led him to the gate and out onto the sidewalk.
Beau stood still and looked around this open and new world.  He looked back at the gate.  Someone must have left it opened!  He started to go back in.

The blue butterfly swirled around Beau's head once more, capturing his attention and led him playfully down the dangerous street and away from his home with Jack and Jo.

Jack looked outside and saw the gate open. She ran through the yard calling to Beau. Soon Jo came out to help.  They ventured out into the street, calling his name: "Beau! Buttons! Where are you? Here boy!!"

There was no sign of their little doggie anywhere.

The girls called the police; they called the pound; they called their Grammie to drive around town and look for their puppy, but, alas... No Beau. No Beau anywhere.

Jack and Jo went to bed that night, crying and wishing they'd checked the gate more often.

The next day, as Jo and Jack were getting ready for school, they heard a knock on the door.
Standing on their doorstep was a fat, ugly woman with pimply skin and a mop of dirty blonde hair piled atop her head.  She held out a card.  Jo took it.
It read: "Canine Protection Services ~ Jessica Walter"

"We have your dog!" she snipped with a snarl.  "He's safe now, but we've taken him into protective custody.  He ran away.  Therefore we find you neglectful!"
She shoved another paper in the girls' faces.
"You'll report to this court at this time to answer to these very serious charges!"
Jessica turned around and stomped off the porch like an Ogre from under a bridge.

Jo looked at Jack.
Jack looked at Jo.
They both looked at the card.
They didn't know what to say; they didn't know what to do. No one asked them what had happened. No one told them what to do next. But most important of all, no one told them where Beauregard Buttons was, or if he was okay.

The day came when Jo and Jack appeared in front of the judge.
"This is your public defender," the judge told them.
"Don't say a word," the public defender warned them.
"In the best interest of the puppy," Jessica reminded them.
"Guilty!" declared the judge, and court was over before Jo and Jack knew what happened.

Meanwhile...

Beau sat all alone in the corner of a small, trashy house. He was surrounded by dirty, sad dogs and big, mean dogs.  They looked at him and snarled.
"Lookit the new kid!! What a loser!" the Bully-dog said.
When food was served, Beau was pushed aside by the Bully-dog.  Beau went to bed hungry and lonely.

One day, the old Hispanic woman named Beatrice, who owned the home in which Beau was staying, snatched him up and headed out the door.
"Are we going home? Did you find Jo and Jack?" Beau wagged his tail and hoped Beatrice would answer.
She didn't.
He watched out the window as house after house flew by. At one point he thought he saw his home and started barking, "Stop! Stop!"
Beatrice swatted him. "Shush!" she said.

They pulled up to a stark building with a tall, chain link fence. Beatrice got out and carried Beau inside. Beau was frightened. Where was he headed now? It didn't smell friendly. It didn't feel friendly.
He looked up and saw Jo and Jack.  He watched them smile as they saw him. Beau ran to them.
Jo and Jack dropped to their knees and petted and loved and snuggled Beau just like old times.
"Oh! You love me! I just knew you wouldn't forget about me," Beau said.
Beau wiggled and squirmed and licked at their faces and noses and nibbled at their hair.
What a wonder!!! They had found each other again!! Beau promised himself he'd never wander away again.

"Come on, guys. Let's go!" Beau barked as he wiggled and wagged toward the door, looking over his shoulder and begging them to come. "Come on! Take me home."
But Jo and Jack didn't follow.
They called him back and played some more until Beatrice walked in and said time was up.
She picked up Beau and said, "Say good-bye."

"NO!" Beau whined.
"NO!" He cried.
"NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!" He whimpered and struggled against her strong grasp, as Beatrice walked out with Beau over her shoulder.  He kept looking back at Jo and Jack.
"I know you want me," he said.  "I see you crying. I promise I'll be good from now on. Please don't make me go!  Please don't let her take me. It's not nice there. They're mean to me. I promise I'll be good."

All the way back to Beatrice's house, Beau sat dejected and whined in the back seat.
"Oh, for pity's sake, moron. You'll see them again next week!" Beatrice said to him through the rear-view mirror.

Beau didn't know how long that went on - going to the strange house to see Jo and Jack.  Every time he had to leave them, he died a little more inside.
Why wouldn't anyone listen to him? He said he was sorry.  He said he wouldn't do it again. Why wouldn't they let him go home? Why were they torturing him like that?

Jo and Jack asked the same questions.
Why wouldn't anyone listen to them? They said they were sorry. They'd be more careful in the future. Why wouldn't they let Beau come home? Why were they being so cruel?

Jessica smiled in disgust at the sight of the trio.  She shook her head.  They just didn't know how the game was played. Soon Beau would be placed in a home and the Canine Protection Services would get handsomely rewarded by the state for finding Beau a "safe" environment.
Silly, silly Jo and Jack. Silly Beau.  It was better this way, they'd see. Jessica knew best.  After all, at 24 years of age, she knew a  lot about being a proper caregiver. She had a puppy of her own you see, and she knew... she knew. Accidents just didn't happen. Someone was always to blame.

Beau no longer jumped and played. Beatrice knew if Beau could be labeled as "special needs" she'd get a healthy bonus, so she took Beau to the vet's without Jo and Jack's knowledge. She had Beau put on anti-depressants. She got her hefty bonus every month, and Beau became apathetic.

One day, Beatrice left the door open while she was out.
Beau poked his head out and sniffed around.
He didn't smell her.
"Dude!! You don't want to be doing that," the gruff and tumbly Bully-dog said.
Beau stuck his nose in the air and said, "Watch me!" and bolted out the door.

Before long Jessica showed up on Jo and Jack's doorstep demanding Beau.
"Beau's not here," they told her truthfully.

Jo and Jack sat nervously waiting for Beau to come home.  They put a bowl of water on the porch at night... just in case.

Jessica called them the next day.
"You'll be glad to know you're off the hook for dognapping.  Beau was found and was returned safely back to Beatrice's home."
"Why is he going back to Beatrice's home? When he got out of our gate, you took him from us. Why aren't you taking him from Beatrice? That doesn't make any sense."
"Oh, puppies get hurt or run away from foster care every day. Accidents happen.  No one is to blame.  We can't pull a puppy out of a foster home for that."
"Why not?" grumbled Jo. "You pulled him out of ours."

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months.  Beau's coat was matted and dirty.  His belly always felt as empty as his heart, and no one petted and loved on him.  Beatrice thought he had mental problems. She took him to the vet again.
Beau got more drugs from the vet. Beatrice got more money from the state.

Beau sat in the corner most of the time, drugged out and angry. He no longer looked forward to visits with Jo and Jack because he knew they wouldn't last.
Just when he had given up all hope, Beatrice loaded him up in the car and took him back to the fenced-in building.
She walked up the steps and dropped Beau in Jo's arms, turned around and walked out.

Jo and Jack walked Beau back to their home, bathed and fed him and loved on him.  They couldn't understand why he wouldn't play. They couldn't understand why he wasn't as happy as they were.
"You're home for good, Beau," they'd tell him. "We won the court case. You don't need to worry anymore."
He didn't believe them. He couldn't believe them.  He was worried.  He snarled and snapped at them. He no longer wagged his little tail.

Then the time came when Beau had to go outside to go potty.
He was terrified.
What if they come back and take me?
What if this is just another trick?
He refused to step outside.

Beau piddled on the floor.

Jessica walked in the door just at that moment, as if she were waiting to pounce.  She saw the puddle on the floor and handed the girls another paper.
"See you in court," she said, as she snatched up Beau and headed out the door.

...

What?!?
If you were expecting a happy ending, you're delusional.
Everyone knows there are no happy endings when CPS gets involved.

In Joy & Enjoy

pass the popcorn, please!