Spud and the Patio Roof


Spud was deeply stupid.

Chihuahuas have a rep for not being the great minds of the canine world, but Spud took this to the next level. She would bark at everything she could see, including cyclists on the highway she could see from her perch at the back of the couch and empty garbage bins. Vacuuming was the definitely the most exciting chore, because she would always growl, snap, and lunge at the dread beast that was the vacuum cleaner. It took a long, painful year to housetrain her. In short, she was the posterpup for the dangers of inbreeding.

Yet we loved that little weirdo with all our hearts.

One winter, it snowed in our town of Grand Forks, BC. It snowed a lot. There was enough snow to roll up a snowman for every man, woman, and child in town, with more to spare for some igloos and sick forts. The snow accumulated on the roofs, including the flimsier roofs of sundecks. Remember this detail. It is important.

I really fucking hated snow as a child, so the glory of all this was lost on me. So on the day this story takes place, I stayed inside watching TV – probably Law and Order reruns on A&E, because that was always on. (Briscoe and Logan 4 Lyfe.) My brothers were out doing whatever, I believe my mom may have been working, and my dad was snoring away in his room, on account of having worked a shift the previous night. (Edit: Brother #1 informs me that he too was sleeping. Brother #2 might well have been doing that too, knowing him.) My only company, therefore, was the our fat dachshund Grizwald and the previously mentioned, deeply stupid Spud.

The two got up. They did their dance. “Let us pee,” they said in this, the language of their people. I opened the back door and let them out. I returned to witty detective repartee.

Then I heard a loud CRASH.

I raced to the back door, opened it, and looked out. To my right, was not the expected sundeck, but snow. A truly gargantuan amount of snow. In front of me, there was – and I counted several times to make sure – one dog. One fat, brown, startled dachshund. Spud was nowhere to be seen. Not on the stairs, not on strip of yard that separated our house from my grandparents’ house, not in the backyard, not in the frontyard, not on my grandparents’ property, nowhere.

I proceeded to cry my eyes out while my dad organized the posse to dig out the snow to find out if the worst had happened. We tried phoning the SPCA, but we kept getting the answering machine and had to settle with leaving a message. At a certain point, my mom had come home and in her infinite wisdom, suggested I try searching around the neighborhood. Not only might I find Spud that way, but I would stop disturbing everyone with my howls of anguish.

(Please note that she did not say the latter point out loud, but she probably thought it and I would not blame her.)

So I went out into the snowy wastes and searched. I did not find the dummy, but while I was out, a message came from the SPCA.

Yes, we have your deeply stupid yet oddly charming little rat dog. Come and get her.

I cried with relief because, as you may have noticed, I cried a lot. Still do. It’s not my noblest trait.

When my mom and I arrived, the lady explained to us what happened: Spud, in her fright, ran out into the highway by our house. She nearly got smacked by a car. She nearly got smacked by a second car. This second car pulled over and picked her up to take to the SPCA, because she was obviously too stupid for this to be her natural environment. The ladies there, faced with this trembling little rat whose tongue was sticking out the side of her mouth to an enormous degree in her distress, found they had a dilemma. She was too small to be put with the other dogs. They would think her a snack. There was nothing for it. They had to put her in one of the cat cages.

And that’s how we found her. Shaking, drool hanging from her tongue, paw up. Surrounded by cats, every single one of which was bigger than her.

That is how I will always remember Spud, trembling in pathetic terror of the cats that did not give one shit about her presence.

She rode the way home tucked in my coat.

The patio roof was replaced with a much sturdier structure in the spring.

Author’s Note: If you liked this story, or have a specific story request, please consider supporting me via PayPal or Patreon. A donation would come especially in handy during these lean times. Or maybe consider donating to the BC SPCA. Thanks!

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