"Fursuiting has a certain dimming effect on one’s senses.
My senses aren’t razor sharp on the best day, so cover me in fur, take away a good portion of my hearing and vision, and I become a tad ineffectual in navigating the world around me.
Rambling up the pier on a sunny Sunday, I became aware of a sudden heaviness in my right leg.”Uh oh,” I thought. “Stroke.”
Upon closer examination, I discovered that my difficulty walking was not caused by a blood clot, but rather this young man who had anchored himself to my side.
Relieved, I patted his head, gave him the happy paws and looked around for the camera. Surely his parents were taking pictures of their giddy son and the giant canine.
It was then I realized that he was sobbing, and no cameras, let alone parental units, were in evidence.
Dogs I understand. Children are a mystery to me. Worried that I had crushed his little foot, or smacked him with my tail, I asked him what was the matter.
"I can’t find my daddy!" He said between hiccups. "That’s OK," I said. ‘I’ll sniff him out for you." "Really? You promise?" He gripped me tighter and brightened a little. "Of course! I’m a search and rescue dog. No problem."
He grinned and held my paw and I then realized that I had better locate pops post haste or the kid would grow up not to trust talking dogs. I couldn’t have that.
We walked slowly up the pier, searching for daddy, both trying to smile for the tourists. Little Carlos related that his papa had been fishing, but had moved to a new spot on the rail. The kid had walked over to look at a seagull, and somehow lost track of his dad’s position. I wagged. I was looking for a guy fishing from the pier, and that narrowed my search to only a few hundred blokes. Piece of cake.
"What does your daddy look like?" I asked. "He’s wearing a white t-shirt." Carlos offered. I looked around. So were 90% of the others fishing.
Sensing that I needed more information, he thought hard for a moment. “He fishes with squid!” He exclaimed, convinced that hunk of knowledge would lead us to pops like no other.
We walked up and down the pier. Twice. Carlos started to cry again, and I felt a peculiar mix of compassion, panic and failure. What if we never found his dad? I’d have to raise him as my own. Where would he sleep? What do kids eat? Kids grow up so fast. How could I afford shoes and tiny fursuits every 6 months?
Just when we were both about to dissolve into sobbing puddles,a frantic man came running towards us, brandishing a fishing rod and a look of profound relief. I’ll never forget it.
"Mijo!" He exclaimed, scooping up the kid and hugging him so tightI thought he might pop. They were both crying and smiling and a flood of relief washed over me. I wouldn’t have to worry about making pint sized DTD’s after all….
Carlos Sr. shook my paw vigorously and thanked me again and again for taking the time to help his boy. He had no idea howthey became separated, but a nice lady on the end of the piertold him that a talking dog was wandering around with a lost kiddo.At least I was easy to spot.
As father and son resumed their day of pescatory bliss, I feltlike a very good dog. Crisis averted, I continued my stroll, heading decidedly for the watering hole with the coldest beer.
I may not be much of a search and rescue dog, but I felt like it at that moment.”