So, let me set the stage. We had just finished a two-day baseball tournament, and we were – all of us – more than a little sun-speckled and exhausted from hours at the baseball park. Seven, to be exact, and I’m usually counting.
Tuck was of course the most tired of all, given the constant crouching and retrieving as a catcher, plus the general fatigue of being thirteen and perpetually starving.
Tyler was the least tired, given the fact that he doesn’t usually go. In our family, “what’s import to one of us is important to all of us,” so we go to support everybody’s everything. But in Tyler’s defense, the shining moments he asks Tuck to attend usually happen twice a year, not thrice a weekend, every weekend for four months.
So, it was a groggy afternoon. We had all come home and fallen into our respective routines, and Tuck’s singular focus was s-l-e-e-p.
Close to four hours later, he came downstairs. He was nearly staggering in half-awakeness. Let’s just say there was not a whole lot of frontal lobe activity going on.
It was the day before Easter, and Peter and I were in the throes of finalizing the menu and the seating and the silverware, making lists upon lists. I feel like we were maybe making room in the refrigerator for salads and hams, because the fridge was definitely left wide open when the next scene went down.
Tucker said, “Um, hey, Mom? I found a stray dog outside, so I let him in.”
I’m sorry, what now?
I looked around from my vantage point from nearly inside the fridge, and — you guys — there was a freaking white wolf in our living room.
Technically a dog, yes. But an enormous white giganto that is maybe one generation away from roaming and scavenging the forests for food.
“Tuck! Tuck! What are you thinking?! Honey! What in the world?! Get it outside!”
“He seemed friendly,” he said.
“Tucker! Get it outside!!”
At which point, Tuck went to the back door and let our two dogs inside.
Sam, our black lab whom I have long said possesses more emotional intelligence than some men I dated, was curious and interested and eager to host a new friend. Murphy, our shih tzu who is neurotic and ridiculous and territorial, lost his ever-loving mind.
We were two shakes away from a straight-up three-way dog fight in the living room. So much sniffing and growling and hackles.
Peter let loose with a tirade that would rattle your doorknobs. A long string of… questions, shall we say.
Tyler heard there was a dog in the house, and he came running down in hopes that it was a Teacup Poodle, the dog he insists he will adopt on sight if one ever crosses his path. On the off-chance that this was his ideal breed, he was ready to intercept his dream come true.
Peter was stringing together an impressive collection of profanities. Tyler was watching wide-eyed. Tuck was impenetrable as a zombie.
Peter began wrestling Sam and Murphy into the backyard, at which point White Wolf raced up the stairs and ran laps in the bedrooms. Peter slammed the door on the dogs that are ours, and he raced upstairs to shoo the wolf down the stairs.
My hero. My cussing hero.
“Tyler! Get the front door open!”
White Wolf came down the stairs and out the front door. I followed him and wrangled him like a bucking bronco, all in an effort to fenagle his collar and read his tag.
(How is this my life? When did I become a person willing to risk her own health and happiness to ensure wildlife gets home safely?)
Meanwhile, our precious next door neighbor wanted to chat. Waving from his driveway, calling out Happy Easter greetings. (I should go over and apologize for not giving him my full attention. Just in case he didn’t gather that I was a bit distracted on my own bull-riding carnival ride.)
Peter called the phone number on the tag. Turns out, the White Wolf lives two doors down. They beckoned him from their own front porch, and he went trotting home.
Excellent. Not a stray, then. Just a little neighborhood pup trying to take a dump in his front yard.
We came back inside. Peter caught his breath. I put my head between my knees. Tyler grinned, wide-eyed, ready to see how this would go down. There is no joy like a younger sibling who is out of the hot seat.
“Tuck, what happened?”
He shook his head and rubbed his eyes. “I think I’m just waking up.”
You guys, he was sleepwalking the whole time.