Wilderness Wally's Americana
... From New Zealand
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Thursday, 15th of November 2018


 

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A Pug's Tale

illustration

Gus

Bonnie, the star of 'I love a Parade', and her husband Gavin (A Kiwi Sailor) now live in San Diego. A few years ago, they left New Zealand, in search of another adventure and landed in this beautiful city by the sea. They sank all their money into four ordinary, not too well cared for apartments; lived in one and rented the other three while they completely renovated all of them. It was a lot of work but a huge transformation for the buildings and for the neighbourhood as well. The change was so amazing that neighbours would stop by to congratulate the couple. Eventually, as if not wanting to be left behind, the whole neighbourhood started working on their homes and the area blossomed… not to mention house prices going through the roof. All of this was done while our two heroes held down jobs, Gavin as a boat captain on various vessels in San Diego bay and Bonnie as an interior decorator with her own business as well as working in a shop in Old Town, a tourist's Mecca in San Diego.

The couple own, or rather did own, two Pug dogs named Charlie and Gus! As is usual of our pets, they had become a part of the family. The two dogs went everywhere with Bonnie and Gavin and never failed to draw a crowd wherever they went. One sad day, not long ago, Charlie passed away and went to the Rainbow Bridge to wait for his family. Bonnie and Gavin were left with emptiness in their hearts and Gus seemed lost as well. Now it was just the three of them but they were closer than ever.

Then came a day when Gavin and Gus were riding around in the car, just taking in the sights. Gavin had to stop at a store to pick up a loaf of bread before heading home. It was too hot to leave Gus in the car and Gavin could not take Gus inside so he left him tied up just outside the door. It is something that Gavin has done many times in the past when he was alone with the dogs. Often a few people would visit with the pugs while Gavin was inside, like I said, a Pug seldom fails to draw an admiring crowd.

Gavin was inside for just a few minutes, long enough to get a loaf of bread and go through the checkout. When he stepped out the door he saw that Gus was not where he had left him. In a panic, Gavin looked up and down the street, under cars and around the side of the store; Gus was nowhere to be seen. He went inside the store and asked if anyone had seen his Pug dog. The checker next to the door said she saw a young woman take the dog and jump into a waiting car and then it sped off. She said she did not see the license plate on the car. It was then the realization sunk in, Gus had been dog-napped! This would be bad enough for any pet owner but, like I said, the couple had just lost their other Pug two months before. Charlie had been more Gavin's dog but Gus was closer to Bonnie. Gavin was not only devastated at what had happened but he also knew it wasn't going to be easy to break this news to Bonnie… and it wasn't. We have all lost a loving pet, sometimes it is expected sometimes not; but it is always distressing. In this case there was also the worry of what the people who had taken Gus were putting him through.

Bonnie and Gavin immediately informed the police and for the next eight days the couple did everything humanly possible to get their Gus back. They printed and distributed 300 "missing dog" posters in the extended neighbourhood, advertised on the internet, put ads in newspapers and on the radio, offered a reward and checked with all the shelters; it was a full-time job. They both lost sleep and shed a lot of tears. Bonnie said; "There's something about those little Pugs that just grabs your heart and this one was her very own!

Then one afternoon, after eight days of agony and concern, Gavin is at work, Bonnie is at home and she gets a phone call. It was a man who called himself Oscar, he said; "I think I might have your lost Pug." Bonnie could hardly believe what she was hearing; they had almost given up hope of ever seeing Gus again. Her heart jumped, she asked the man where he lived. He refused to give her an address or a phone number. He said he would meet her at a Burger King about two miles from her home and it had to be right away. The first thing that came to mind was that he was afraid of Police involvement. This set off alarm bells for Bonnie but she wanted Gus back so badly she wasn't willing to back down. The guy didn't sound like he was going to give her an opportunity to talk to anyone else anyway. His phrasing sounding to her like 'it was now or never'. Even if she had more time, she knew she couldn't get in touch with Gavin, not even by phone, and there was nobody else to call; so the decision was hers. She figured it was a public place and she had to take the chance, after all, they were talking about her Gus and this may be her only chance to ever see him again. She told Oscar she would meet him and she would be at the meeting place as soon as possible… just a few minutes at most.

Before leaving she frantically tried to think about how to proceed. She knew they would want money, Gavin had put a five hundred dollar reward on some of the posters they had distributed… she didn't have five hundred dollars in the house but she knew they were going to want something. After rummaging through her purse and the house money she managed to come up with two hundred dollars. If they wanted more than that she would have to take the time to go to the bank and she might lose her only opportunity to get Gus back. That was it; she was going. The trip didn't take that long but seemed the most important and nerve-racking she had ever taken. After she arrived at the Burger King, Bonnie took a seat where she could see people entering and leaving as well as those on the street, why that came to mind she didn't know, maybe she had seen it on 'Law and Order'. It didn't matter; she didn't know what she was doing or how she would act when she finally met the man who had called.

After about fifteen anxious minutes she noticed two swarthy looking men walking slowly down the sidewalk across the street. They appeared to be in their thirties, rough looking with gang tattoos on their neck, arms and hands. They were looking at the restaurant and up and down the street… one of them carried Gus in his arms! The men scared her but what could she do, they had Gus, she had to go confront them.

As Bonnie crossed the street her mind was awhirl, would they threaten her or worse yet, harm Gus if she didn't have enough money? She worried, what would they do, they looked capable of anything. She walked up to them and asked if one of them was Oscar. The man carrying Gus said he was and also, he wanted proof of some sort that Gus was hers. Bonnie thought to herself; what could this be about, did he want her to open her purse? Of course she was the owner, he had called her hadn't he? She remembered she had one of the posters with her that she and Gavin had made up and it had Gus' picture on it; "Was that good enough?" He barely looked at it then stuffed it in his pocket. Then came the squeeze; Oscar said; "You know I bought him at a swap meet and paid a hundred bucks!" He still held Gus away from Bonnie and wasn't offering him up. There it was, Bonnie new that whatever she said now would determine Gus' fate and more. She made a decision and said; "Will you take $200 to cover your trouble and expenses it's all I have?" Oscar thought for a second while he and Bonnie stared at each other, neither one flinching.

Finally, as if in exasperation, Oscar said; "OK lady." Hurrying before he could change his mind and shaking from fright, Bonnie dug the money out of her purse and offered it to Oscar. Money in hand, Oscar turned and put Gus in her arms. She remembers saying, through her tears; "Thank you… thank you so much." At that point she remembers holding on to Gus and getting away from the two men as fast as she possibly could. She also noticed that the two guys got out of there as fast as they could as well.

After she got home, Bonnie gave Gus a bath and a good scrubbing, fed him and then just held on to him, thinking she would never let him go again. About three hours later the phone rang, it was Oscar again! Bonnie stiffened, what did he want? He said his girlfriend had found the poster that Bonnie had given him and was now accusing him of holding out on her. Immediately Bonnie knew what was coming, the poster had a five hundred dollar reward offered. Oscar said his girlfriend thought he was given the five hundred dollars and she wanted the rest of the money from him. Then Oscar said; "Since I did you a favour by returning your dog, will you do me a favour?" Bonnie immediately got frightened, what was coming next? Oscar asked Bonnie to e-mail his girlfriend, explain the situation and tell her how much she had paid him? That wasn't really too much to ask but she still feared there was more to come.

The situation was getting way too involved now and maybe a little more dangerous. She already thought she was dealing with the same people who had stolen Gus in the first place; they had her phone number, what was next. Bonnie told Oscar she would do as he requested. She then called the police and told them everything that had happened including the latest bit about the email. The police told her to go ahead and send an email but to say she could not give them any more money. So she did; she wrote the sweetest 'poor old lady' letter she could come up with. She said her husband had put the $500 reward on the poster without telling her. She said she had to scrape up the two hundred she had already paid him from friends and family. She made it clear they would be blessed for returning her dog.

Bonnie and Gavin never heard from the people again. The optimists among us will give the two men and girl the benefit of the doubt and agree that they probably bought Gus at a swap meet and did the right thing by returning him when they found he was stolen. Of course it would be hard to believe that the person who stole Gus in the first place would take the chance of selling him at a public swap meet in the same area where he was stolen, but you never know.

There really is some question as to whether Gus would have been returned if he had not been neutered or if he wasn't that well known in the relatively small world of Pug owners. This type of scam usually ends with the dog being sold for breeding purposes and is never again seen by the owner. All Bonnie and Gavin care about is that they got their Gus back and after about a week of loving care, he is his old self again. Although we didn't hear much from Gus, this really is a Pug's tale.
WW

Indian tradition tells that God created the world and all the beasts in it; and then He created man. He was so disappointed that man wasn't perfect he caused a chasm to open up to separate man from all the other creatures.

The Dog watched man moving away across the ever-widening gap, then, at the last moment, he jumped across the abyss to stand beside man and become his loyal companion forever onwards.

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melissa harris said:

awesome story! but do you know how pugs became adog and why they were built that way?


lora said:

what an awesome story.


WW said:

Well, an owner's tale


DK said:

A dog's tail?


 

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