Studly once brought home a dog from work, having offered to care for it for a co-worker. You can imagine my, ahem, delight when this large, white, furry ball of frenetic energy entered our home for the first time, jumped on my lap and began slobbering on my face. He then bounced about our living room like a demon dog on steroids, snapping at invisible enemies and licking anything that moved.
His name was Ajax and he really was a beautiful dog. His coat was a glossy white and his eyes a vivid blue. We thought perhaps he might be part Husky. According to his owner he was really smart and knew multiple commands. In Spanish. The only words Studly and I knew in Spanish were of a base nature, and they certainly weren’t words one would use to control a dog. His ears did perk up to phrases such as “por favor” and “adios amigo” but neither of those worked well either.
Fortunately we had a large fenced backyard with plenty of room for Ajax to run and play. I had no intention of having him live inside our home. He was just too big and too energetic. But we played with him every day and made sure he was well cared for.
Those days were really tough for our family, and for the country as a whole. I had gone back to college to finish my degree and Studly was working his butt off in a rather unsavory job at a hide tanning company, earning next to nothing. On top of that we had two small kids and a mountain of debt. All we needed was a bit of a break, a couple of years, and my diploma.
Unfortunately, we found ourselves in a huge financial bind and needed to sell our home before ownership reverted to the bank. So we staged the house for prospective buyers and listed it with a realtor. Every single morning before we left for our respective destinations we made sure the house was immaculate. And yet no one came to view our home. No viewers equalled no buyers. No buyers equalled no sale. No sale equalled possible foreclosure. We really were desperate.
One sunny Saturday morning Studly and I decided to take the kids on a day trip to see his folks in Hereford, Texas. We made sure the house was perfect, the dog was fed and hugged and off we went. Several hours later we returned home, tired, but happy after a much needed break from our routine.
I was the first one in the house. I stopped, backed out, shut the door, and looked at Studly in horror. “Someone has ransacked the house!” I gasped.
We had nothing worth stealing, so it was unimaginable that we’d been robbed, but that was exactly what it appeared had happened.
Studly cautiously opened the door while I stayed outside holding on to the kids for dear life. When I heard him say, “Dammit Ajax!” I knew our culprit had been found. Apparently Ajax became bored. He figured out a way to open the back door and then chewed a hole in the screen door. While we were away and blissfully unaware of his antics, he tried to pull everything from inside the house to his domain in the backyard. There was a trail of bedding, clothing, shoes, and athletic equipment all in various stages of transfer. We didn’t know whether to laugh in relief or cry in despair.
Until we noticed the realtor’s calling card on the kitchen counter. Then I cried. I cried and cried and cried as I tried to put the house back together. I was so humiliated that someone, multiple someones, had seen our home in that condition. Of all days for someone to come looking! Any hope I had that perhaps Ajax had done his deed after the realtor had left were dashed by the note she’d written on her card. It said something like, “Perhaps in the future we should call to make sure your house is in viewing condition.”
Eventually Ajax went back to live with his old family, and we never did sell the house. The bank foreclosed and it seemed like the world had come to an end. But in reality we emerged stronger, smarter, and more determined to survive together. Ajax, the psycho dog from hell was one really bad chapter, but he wasn’t the whole book. That’s still being written.