Ping Pang (At the Ready)

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“No matter how you’re feeling, a little dog’s gonna love you.”  Waka Flocka Flame

When I took Ping Pang in, I thought, I need another dog like I need a hole in the head. But I did take him in. I still say we have seven dogs, but it’s eight, although he’s more like a gerbil than a dog. He doesn’t take up much space, at all. He’s a Min Pin, a Miniature Pinscher.

Our other dogs could care less. They ignore him, but Jack, our Blue Nose, loves him. They are wrestling buddies. They wrestle all day long.

He’s a little dog with a giant personality. He’s always on the move. I call him Ping Pang, after Ricochet Rabbit.

Ricochet Rabbit was the cartoon sheriff in the town of Hoop ‘n’ Holler. Whenever he had to draw his gun and blast away at bad guys, the ricochet of the gunfire always sent him flying. He would bounce off one thing after another, yelling ”Ping-Ping-Ping!” as he bounced around.

Sometimes he yelled “Ping-Pong-Piiiing!”

Our Little Man does the same thing. He ricochets off everything, table legs, sofas, TV stands. My mom and step-dad call him Little Man, which is the first thing they called him the first time they saw him. Brian sometimes calls him Little Shit.

Ricochet Rabbit’s deputy was Droop-a-Long, who wore a big slouchy hat and a low-slung gun belt and could never do anything right, although at the end of every show the right thing always got done. Ping Pang is sometimes Little Shit because he doesn’t always get things right, although his heart is in the right place.

I didn’t plan on taking Ping Pang in, only help rescue him, but things didn’t work out that way.

I had just gotten to work when I got a text. I didn’t look at it right away because just a couple of minutes earlier I had been looking in my rearview mirror just in time to see somebody in a car hit a bicyclist. It was at the crosswalk outside the hair salon, at the entrance to the pink hotel.

“Oh, my God!”

I stopped in the middle of the street, not even bothering to close my car door, and ran back to see if the kid was OK. He had landed on his shoulder. He said, I’m scared. I said, don’t be scared. He said, I need to put my shoulder back in place.

There was something about him. I think he might have been slow. I told him to sit tight.

The driver who hit him had stopped, too. She was a young girl. She was upset, very upset.

“He was in your blind spot,” I told her. “You didn’t maliciously run over the guy. That’s why they call them accidents.”

The Rocky River police and an EMS showed up. That’s how my day started. I got back into my car, drove around the corner, and parked in the lot at the corner of Lake and Depot Streets, walked past the Eternal Salon and Loft, and into the Kameryn Rose Salon.

When I checked out the text it was from an acquaintance of mine, someone who knew I help rescue dogs, who said friends of hers in Sheffield Lake had picked up a puppy on the street. They checked around, looked for a microchip on him, and even called the police, who told them no dog fitting that description had been reported lost. They had taken him to vet, had had him for more than a week, but couldn’t keep him because their pit bull hated him.

That turned out to be a twist, because our Jackie is a pit bull.

“Can you help us find a home for him?”

I called the folks in Sheffield Lake. Brian and I were going out to dinner with our friend Dell that night, in Avon, like we do every Sunday. Avon is just down the road from Sheffield.

“Can we pick him up after dinner?” I asked the lady who answered the phone. “We should be able to find him a good home.”

She said, “We are driving back from the east side of Cleveland with the dog right now.“

“Oh, did you find him a home?”

“We tried,” she said. “My daughter’s friends wanted him, but when we got there, their parents said, no way.”

“Where are you now?” I asked.

“We’re on I-90, coming up on West 140th.”

“Well, I live off of West 140th,” I said.

I gave her our address. Ten minutes later they pulled up to our house in a Porsche SUV.

“Holy shit!” I thought. “Nice car.”

They handed me the dog. We were standing on our front porch, she and her husband and me.

“Oh, my God, he’s so cute,” I said.

He had some road rash, which meant they had found him in the street, because somebody had thrown him out of their car. He limped a little, where he had landed on his hip. When I took him inside the house, he ran right at my husband, barking up a storm.

“Hey, call off your dog,” said Brian.

Ping Pang was less than a year old. He wasn’t barking mad at women, only at men. So, obviously, a man abused him.

To get him over his fear of men, every time he barked at Brian, I picked him up and handed him to my husband. He would hold the Little Man until he calmed down.

He now loves Brian, although he bit my step-dad a few times. I told him, if he tries to bite you again, you have to hold him. Once in a while he will bark at him, but now he’s mostly cool.

Even though Ping Pang loves Brian, he still barks at him sometimes when Brian is coming into bed.

“He is guarding you,” says Brian, and then he leans down to the Little Man and says, all right, let’s get richocheting off my side of the bed.

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Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.