About a month ago, Mr. Taleteller volunteered himself and Kuster to walk in the Labor Day parade with the Emergency Management Assistance group that they work with. Kuster had been in the Memorial Day parade this Spring and had done well, so my husband was feeling very confident about taking Kuster in the parade this time. Kuster had his new orange vest to wear, which is mainly for these sorts of occasions when the dogs are visible to the public and he was all ready to go a week before yesterday’s parade.
Mr. Murphy was some kind of masochistic prankster if you ask me. You didn’t, but I’m giving you my opinion anyway. Sure enough, Friday we woke up to Kuster having tummy troubles. He was up at 2:30 with demands to go out. Outside they went and nothing happened. Kuster fussed and complained until about 6:00 in the morning. Fortunately, we didn’t have any plans for Saturday and Tropical Storm Isaac was blowing through with some much needed rain.
Sunday morning dawned and we were still stuck inside thanks to Isaac. However, soon, Kuster was demanding to go out. His tummy was in complete revolt and I’m not sure how to describe what came out of him other than to say it was foul. By foul I mean that we needed gas masks like the bio hazard workers wear. Still, he was able to hold it and make it outside, so we weren’t too worried.
Sunday afternoon we had to go to a family picnic and decided not to take any of the dogs along with us. My sister-in-law has a small house and we weren’t sure about the weather. When we got home, we were extremely relieved to find out that Kuster had not had any more trouble with is tummy and his crate was clean. My husband took him outside to take care of his business, and it seemed like things were going okay. I went into the bathroom to do a few things before getting ready for bed and while I was in there, I thought I heard a commotion, but I dismissed it when things seemed to die down.
However, when I came out of the bathroom, I almost went back in and locked the door. We’d been invaded by The Stench. I’m not even sure how it’s possible for a stink that foul and overwhelming to come out of one dog’s body. Kuster was moved to the basement crate while my husband worked to clean out his crate in the living room.
With that arduous task behind him, Mr. Taleteller went downstairs to bring Kuster back upstairs with him, only to find that there was another disaster awaiting him in the basement crate. After that was dealt with and we made a sacrifice to the clean air gods, we began to worry. Perhaps taking Kuster in the parade the next day wasn’t a good idea. We didn’t want him to be uncomfortable. Mr. Taleteller also didn’t want to have to scoop liquid molten stinky lava off the street if Kuster had another bout of what was ailing him.
Yesterday morning dawned and Kuster seemed completely over what was bothering him. Mr. Taleteller decided it would work to take him in the parade and we knew it would be good experience for him. So, Kuster and all his gear were packed up into the van and I took the camera along so that I could sit on the sidelines near the finish and see Kuster strutting his stuff. Mr. Taleteller didn’t look half bad in his uniform, either.
When we arrived at the meeting place, which is where the command center and all the EMA equipment is stored. Mr. Taleteller walked Kuster around and around the grass, hoping to get him to go one more time before they left for the parade. Kuster wasn’t in the mood. Finally, it was time to go. A very happy Kuster, who thought he was going to get to play with his buddy Buzz, and a very worried Mr. Taleteller got in the RV and headed off.
I drove downtown and found a place to sit. I read for a while as I waited. After a long while, the parade started to come by. Kuster and Mr. Taleteller looked good as they made their way through the crowd and I saw that Kuster was in his usual meet the public carriage, with his ears folded back against his head and his tail was in danger of wagging off his body. In short, the puppy was in heaven, and Mr. Taleteller looked pretty happy, too.
Kuster was right beside me before he realized I was there, and then he erupted with joy, leaping in the air and pulling my husband over with him to see me. He hopped in my lap for a minute and got slobber all over my face and shirt, just to make sure everyone knew I belonged to him and that he was glad to see me. If the parade had ended right there, he’d have been perfectly fine with it.
The funny part about the whole thing is that while my husband fretted the whole time that Kuster would embarrass him by having another attack, it was one of the other dogs in the group, who shall remain nameless, that decided to leave a pile in the street. The parade stopped while the handler picked it up. Fortunately, Kuster was fine the whole way.
It’s hard to believe that he’ll be eleven months old next weekend. It seems like just yesterday he was a fuzzy little bundle who looked like Toto. A part of me doesn’t want him to grow up, but I now realize that a lot of who Kuster is he will always be. He’s a boy who loves deeply, isn’t afraid to show it, knows how to have fun and also when to be serious and get to work. He’s also, apparently, a boy who knows how to hold it when it counts to make his people proud. But he still lets us wonder about it and keeps us on our toes! You have to love a dog who seems determined to keep you young at heart with him.