How's Bayou? Miss Pandora's most excellent adventure
“Get back here as fast as you can,” I shrieked at Millie over the phone around Labor Day. “And pick up some bandages and hydrogen peroxide. I can’t stop the bleeding.”
As I explained to my gregarious spouse, who was at a nearby coffee house in Highlands, North Carolina, regaling with tales of joy and woe a friend with whom she’d waited tables in college and hadn’t seen since, our new 6-year-old, 9-pound Havanese rescue dog, the one I’d been told was missing a considerable number of teeth, had chomped down on my hand as I cornered her for her walk.
Millie suggested I retrieve a Band-Aid from her bathroom and go about my business. Surely the wound couldn’t be as bad as all that, she admonished me. But I had another story to tell: “I’ve trapped that little demon from hell in the bathroom, and I’m not going near her. Period.”
Up to that point, I’d felt sorry for the little white fur-ball who’d spent her first six years in an Amish puppy mill in Oklahoma before being rescued by HALO, a Havanese rescue group. Millie had flown to Indianapolis to pick up the newest member of the family. Now I began to envision her whimpering, pulling a buggy with a bearded man beating her for biting her new dad, or gagging on wood chips that flew across a room where stunningly-simple chairs and etageres were being created. Maybe she’d had to spend every Sunday on a hard wooden bench, I hoped, plaintively barking out her little creed. No punishment could be severe enough for her unwarranted attack on me.
Things have improved considerably in the last three weeks. The other night I felt her curl up against me in bed in the wee hours of the morning, and she no longer flees when I approach.
So Millie and I were confident that all was well when we set off last weekend for a night away at the Pisgah Inn, a remodeled mid-20th-century motel near the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The view from our simple room was spectacular, and the high-ceilinged, rustic dining room was filled with young families, bright-eyed kids and the smells of good old-fashioned cooking, especially corn fritters.
Saturday morning, Miss Pandora joined me on the porch to watch the sun rise over the distant mountains.
“Would you take her out for a walk?” Millie whimpered as she rolled over in bed, obscuring her iPhone as she searched for Pandora’s collar. “You won’t need the harness,” she assured me.
We wandered through the small grove of trees, checked out the craftsmen and women setting up booths on the lawn, and plopped down on a twig-encrusted rocker to enjoy the view.
As I pulled her closer to me, the demon dog slipped out of her collar and took off at a lightning clip, something Millie later told me Havanese are wont to do. I flew after her and, lacking a cell phone, starting shouting wildly at the craftsmen, “Help me. Anyone have I phone? I’ve got to call my wife and set up a posse. See that quivering spot of white in the distance? That’s our renegade canine who can’t be stopped!”
One lady said to hop in her car, and off we sped. We caught up with Pandora, but she fled in the opposite direction. No one’s cell phone worked. I dashed into the little canteen to buy some beef jerky for a trap. Pandora escaped again, and I rushed back on foot to get Millie and the car as I saw Pandora heading up the incline to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I knew Millie would say it wasn’t my fault if we ended up peeling our lifeless charge off the asphalt, but I feared that secretly she’d always think I’d arranged it all to avenge the Labor-Day-Weekend bite.
I’ve never seen Millie move so quickly. We zoomed out of the parking lot, up the steep exit road and slowly began to prowl the parkway. Inch by inch, we scanned the shoulders and stared into the heavy foliage we feared might be obscuring her. After nearly two-thirds of a mile, as we approached a picnic area just beyond a curve, we decided we’d look there and then turn around.
“Maybe she packed a lunch and is just sitting there enjoying the overlook,” I lamely joked.
And there she was, corralled by a park ranger who’d hopped out of his little red sports car, staring back at us from the middle of the road.
Millie hopped out, rushed toward her – and suddenly Pandora trotted over to her, with an insouciance that seemed to convey the thought, “Where have you been? I had no idea how I’d get home after this great little trip.”
How can you be mad? We scooped her up, headed to breakfast and prepared for our next surprise from the ever-expanding world of our recently-liberated, formerly-sequestered Amish quadruped. Will her next stop be the reality show “Breaking Amish,” in which young Amish men and women head to the Big Apple to check out the real world? Pandora already struts like a Westminster winner, so will she end up in that venue, leaving her old life behind?
Truth be told, we’d far prefer her to star in “Best in Show II.” She’s made for it.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now juggles his time between Dixie Art Supplies in New Orleans and Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.