Ok, so, let me just throw out the hook right off the bat and you can decide if you want to keep reading: This story will get to a point where my stepmother is packing heat (yes, a fucking gun) in the middle of the night with her 60 year old, pot smoking, Grateful Dead lovin’ neighbor friend to kidnap a puppy from a different nearby neighbor that is known in the area simply as “that crazy motherfucker.” So, if that doesn’t interest you, I got nothing.

You’re on your own now.

My stepmother. I’ve never mentioned her here before because she and I have little contact and when we do it is either slightly awkward to somewhere around full blown THIS IS SO AWKWARD, awkward. She and I just don’t click. We have nothing in common but my dad… and our deep and sometimes mocked and sometimes (admittedly, but with no shame or apology) over-the-top passion for all things alive. But mostly, we are just so very different in every single other way. The first time we hung out she took me to get our nails done. I am a lesbian… with no nails to be “done” really, but whatever. She is a wonderful woman, we’re just not a match. But she is perfect for my dad and makes him remarkably happy, in a way that rests me assured that he has found the one. She is beautiful too. Quite beautiful. My dad is a fine lookin’ dude himself, don’t get me wrong, but if someone was to whisper “trophy wife” behind their back, I wouldn’t be surprised nor would I defend this.

So, a few weeks ago my stepmother, Marsha, was on a walk with a friend of hers when this adorable little yellow lab puppy came running into the street, her whole body wiggling, tail a-flappin, to say hello.

My dad and Marsha  live out in the boonies, so by “street”, I mean a semi-paved area where cars, although very rarely, can go to get from place to place.

Also to note, Marsha is not an animal lover, she is a fanatic. She has three horses, 4 cats, several fish, a few birds and a little dog. She also has an unheard of relationships with the local deer, skunks (you heard me), snakes, birds and other wildlife in the area. And by relationships, I mean, she knows and cares for them, as individuals, and they know her, as a safe place in a way that is totally appropriate in that they are still totally wild, but that just doesn’t happen with wild animals and humans.

So, this little wiggly puppy comes running into the dirt road and Marsha and she go into that crazy frenzy where the dog is rolling all over the ground while Marsha is squeaking all of these sounds about how she is “da cewtest widdle puppy baby ever ever ever!” when all of a sudden the neighbor, lovingly known as “that crazy motherfucker” comes to the edge of his property, still behind a fence and says, “Sorry ladies, that little shit spends her whole day trying to get out of here. Can you grab her for me?”

Marsha grabs the little yellow lab and hands her over the fence while commenting on how adorable she is. When “that crazy motherfucker” got his dog back he said, “It’s all looks so far” and as Marsha and her friend start to walk away Marsha turns back to see “that crazy motherfucker” on the ground, tackling the baby dog to the ground, choking her neck with his hands to where the puppy is coughing only to then stick a running water hose down her throat. And as the puppy is gasping and gagging he is chanting, “You don’t dig holes! You don’t leave the yard!”

Here’s the obvious piece: My stepmother freaks out. She is so freaked out that she can’t speak. She runs home, leaving her friend on the road to find her own way and shuts herself into her bedroom and sobs uncontrollably for hours. Later that night she calls the police. She tells them that the puppy is being seriously abused and that she will file this complaint as a witness.

The police pretend to listen, say they’ll come by and eventually it is obvious that they are going to do nothing.

Days go by and my stepmother is a wreck. My dad tells me that what she saw has turned into the only thing she can think about.

Dad tells her it bothers him too but he doesn’t know what they can do but to continue calling the police when they see incidents.

So, here’s the awesome part, the reason I’m writing this story.

Dad is out of town on business for a few days. Marsha has told a few close friends in the area what happened and to let her know if they see or hear anything about this poor little puppy so that she can file more complaints.

One night last week, Tuesday, one of her neighbors calls, “Marsha! The puppy is out in the yard… alone.” Marsha told this friend, the 60 year old pot smoking hippy, to meet her at the south side of their property (they have several acres) in 10 minutes.

Marsha has a plan. A plan that she had built and rebuilt in her head more than 20 times in the last few days. She already knew what she was going to do. So, when the adrenaline took over it didn’t matter, she was ready to go.

To start, she grabbed a gun.

Like I mentioned, they live out in the middle of nowhere and my dad travels, plus, my stepmother is a badass cowgirl. She triple checked that the safety was on and tucked it into the back of her pants. She grabbed a leash, checked one more time that the safety was on and she left the house at 11:30 at night.

She met her neighbor right where they had planned. Marsha figured this was a quick bedtime pee break for the puppy and knew she needed to act fast. She knew the dog’s name because the “crazy motherfucker” had called the dog, “Danny” a few times as he shoved the water hose down her little puppy throat that day.

With her right hand resting on the gun in the back of her jeans, she whispered, “Danny! Danny come!” And she and her neighbor friend waited.

Nothing. They couldn’t see anything either. It was a particularly dark night.

“Danny!” She exclaimed. Sounding a bit more serious and with some panic, “Danny come here!”

They waited. Minutes went by.

Her friend looked to her with a face that read, “this is over” when all of a sudden a little blond baby dog came bounding towards them in a pitch black night with that run that new puppies have, where all of their legs are there and working, but definitely not yet in sync. She ran so hard and so fast in the dark that Danny slammed her head into the fence right in front of Marsha.

Marsha, in a single bound, hopped the fence, grabbed Danny and handed her to her neighbor. She hopped back over the fence, took Danny back and said, “At this point we’re in trouble. You should just go home. Thank you so much for the phone call.”

The next morning, around 7 a.m., my dad got back from his trip. He travels a lot so his return is standard: his little dog greets him, Marsha gives him  a hug and a kiss and makes him a latte (or dinner or whatever), the cats rub up against his leg and then he and Marsha go and tend to the horses or watch a movie or whatever.

This particular morning he came home, walked inside his house, put his suitcase down, only to find the most adorable little yellow puppy bulldozing towards him, who then jumped up on her hind legs, putting her paws on his thighs and started licking the air profusely until he finally picked her up so that she could attack his face with her tongue. He was amused and he admitted this to me when he told me this story, but he was also very concerned and very mad.

Here’s what happened next:

Dad: “MARRRRRSHAAAAA!” (this was far from the first time he came home to a new animal in the house)

Marsha: “Oh you’re home a bit early. Hey baby, want a latte!?!”

Dad: “Don’t do that. What the hell is the crazy neighbor’s dog doing in our house!?”

They talked it through, Marsha told him what had happened and after he calmed down he very begrudedly agreed to participate in what I call “saving a dog’s life” but what could also be legally recognized as “grand theft puppy”.

So, the little puppy lived with them for a few days before they could figure out what to do. She was quite thin for her size so Marsha spent most of her time feeding her and rubbing her and kissing her widdle face all over.

If they could, they both agreed they would adopt Danny, but with the “crazy motherfucker” less than a quarter of a mile away this was not an option, so, Marsha did her research and found an adoption agency that specifically deals with abused animals needing to relocate. She explained the situation, minus the fact that she was packing heat at the time of the kidnapping and they agreed to take the puppy and find her a home. Two days later Marsha brought Danny to this agency where they then took her to her new home.

Danny’s new home is big, with a lot of land to run free, which clearly she needs. There are three young kids and two parents. So far Danny has not attempted any great escapes, making people feel even more confident that this is a good fit for Danny. Marsha said she’ll keep up with them every now and then, making sure Danny is ok and the family invited this idea.

My advice to the family: Best of luck with your new little wiggly baby dog! But also, check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you don’t do right by little Danny don’t get all surprised when a pretty good looking shy-by-day-but-don’t-fuck-with-animal-rights-by-night fanatic ends up in your backyard with a gun and an older stoned hippy lady sidekick,  all sorts of ready to do right at any cost.

Seriously. It’s happened before.

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