ZIGGY’S EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE
Plink, plink, plink.
My head shot up from my pillow, and I looked around for the source of the sound.
Plink, plink, plink.
I jumped up from my bed and ran towards the sound. My leash! That means walkies!
But my human, Mercedes, was standing there with my leash in her hand, and my purse on the floor by her feet.
Dang! I thought. Mercedes wanted to take me out. Not for walkies, but for drivies. Not my favourite.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Mercedes — she’s my human. But, I’m just not sure she’s that into me. I think she sees me more like of an accessory, rather than an actual dog.
And Mercedes is all about the accessories. I have my own fleet purses that I am supposed to love to sit in while she drags me around the city — I’m a toy Schnoodle which is a toy poodle, miniature Schnauzer cross. I’m about six pounds, the right size for Mercedes to carry in her purse. I have about a gazillion different collars, all of which co-ordinate with whatever Mercedes is wearing. She even puts clothes on me. (Not cool, Mercedes, not cool!)
I’d much rather go for an actual walk with Hector the gardener or Lisbeth, Mercedes’s personal assistant. They actually walk me, so I get some exercise, instead of just being toted around like luggage. Mercedes doesn’t walk. She struts. And for very short distances — only as far as she needs to, either from the limo into the newest hot spot, or into an expensive shop. Mercedes likes to be seen looking perfect, and that does not include walking the dog. She has never stooped and scooped — she has people for that.
Thankfully, Hector loves taking me for jogs. I’m pretty little (remember the purse?) but Hector likes to run with me. He’s a good runner, and I manage to keep up with him. We run around the estate until we're tired. And, if Mercedes is out, or asleep, Hector will play fetch with me in the back lawn. He told Mercedes how much I love fetch, so she got me some small dog balls (I suggest they call them small dogs toys), and Hector and I play quite a bit. One day, the ball accidentally went into the pool, and I went in after it. Hector almost had a heart attack. How would he explain how I drowned while playing catch? But, as it turned out, I can swim, and I love it! Mercedes gave us her blessing. The only stipulation is that I cannot be wet or smell like chlorine if she is taking me out. Hector agreed, and we swim a couple times a week now.
Lisbeth out-and-out prefers a straight-up walk in the park, as opposed to fetch or jogging. Actually, she prefers the dog park. I know that she loves being with me, but there’s the added attraction of Rick and his Blue Heeler, Flash, that keeps us coming back to the same dog park over and over. In the beginning Flash wasn’t sure whether he as supposed to eat me, retrieve me, herd me, or play with me. I quickly convinced him that play was what we were going for. After a couple of uneasy visits, we quickly became fast friends. I’m pretty fast, but no where nearly as fast as Flash — hence his name. It’s a good time for all of us. I understand that Lisbeth and Rick have been on two dates, and their relationship seems to be blossoming.
Anyway, tonight we’re going out. I heard Mercedes talking about it on the phone today, and I hoped that tonight’s outing didn’t include me. But it does. Sigh.
She must be trying to impress someone because I have my Swarovski crystal collar on — the one that weighs more than I do, and itches, and has sharp, uncomfortable edges. Try sleeping in this puppy — ha! Dog joke. It’s impossible.
“Who looks like the cutest doggie-woggie in the world?” Mercedes asks me, in her most annoying baby voice as she picks me up.
I assume the answer is me because, well, I’m the only doggie-woggie present, so I wag my tail to show her that I do indeed know that I’m am cute.
After she puts on my collar, I jump down and go to the back door. Mercedes ignores me.
I give a little scratch on the door. She still ignores me.
In desperation, I give a little yip.
“Ziggy! What are you barking at?”
I look at her, I look at the door. I look back at her.
“No, you’re not going out to play. I’m going to out play, and you’re coming with.”
I jump up and down, and bark. How I wish I had the power of speech.
“No, Ziggy. Come on, get in your purse.”
I’m afraid my human is not conversant in the language of dogs. But Angela, the housekeeper, is.
“I think Mr. Ziggy needs to go to out to do his business.” She walks over and opens the inside door for me. There’s a doggy door in the screen door that I zoom through out into my “business area” as Hector calls it. There is no way that I would be able to spend who-knows-how-long in a purse without being able to wee. Mercedes can go to the washroom ten times in a night, but she tends to forget about me and my needs.
I run back in, grab a drink of water and a couple of kibbles to go, and hop into the bag. I sniff around. Good! It’s the bag with the mesh sides that let me breathe. Once, when she first brought me home, she put me in a regular purse with all her stuff in the bottom. That was a ride from hell — trapped under her phone I thought that I was a goner. Lisbeth immediately went out and bought the first five dog purses for Mercedes to put me in. I was very thankful.
The car service was waiting for us under the porte-cochère, and we hopped into the back. We make a quick stop to pick up Janelle, Mercedes current BFF. Mercedes knows a lot of people, and her best friends seem to come and go quite frequently. In the five years that I have been with Mercedes there have been four “Janelles” — BFFs who have captured Mercedes favour, then were suddenly gone. In the beginning I would get close to them, but then, whoosh, they were vanquished from the crowd, and I would be devastated by their departure. Now, I find it best to keep my distance.
“Hey Mercedes!” said Janelle as she slipped into the car. “You look amazing! As always!”
“You too, Elle. That top is exquisite!”
Chat, chat, chat. “I bought this here.” “I got my hair done there.” “Oh, those shoes are to die for.” “So-and-so is supposed to be at the club.” You know — people talk.
I’d been sitting between them with my head sticking out of the bag watching them talk, my head swinging from one to the other like watching a tennis match. Finally Janelle noticed me.
“Hey, pooch. Nice collar.” She said as she rubbed my head.
Mercedes told her all about how many crystals there were, how because I’m so small, they had to attach the stones in a certain way, how she chose the crystals herself, blah, blah, blah.
I always keep my head out of the purse when we’re travelling because I have to get my oxygen when I can. Usually I have had to lay quietly for hours if I’m supposed to be stealth. That usually happens in restaurants. I’m still at a loss why dogs aren’t welcome everywhere. Mercedes says that if we were in France, I could go anywhere with her. She promised me that we will go some day.
When we arrived at Clubify — the newest, “it” place to be seen — I winced a bit. I’ve been here before and it’s super noisy. My hearing is about four times more sensitive than Mercedes’s, and she always complains the next morning that her ears are ringing. Try being me! It takes days before my ears stop ringing. Again, I wish someone would tell Mercedes that dogs don’t belong in dance clubs. But, what Mercedes wants …
As we walk up to the entrance, the bouncer, Ben, welcomes Mercedes. This is one of the places that I’m allowed to be in, so I’m still sticking my head out, looking around.
“Ziggy, my man!” he says, rubbing my head, as Mercedes stops to talk to him.
We walked — no, scratch that — we strutted into the club. Mercedes leaned in to tell the hostess something about meeting friends, and she led us across the floor, and up the stairs to the VIP lounge. The music was booming, and the lights were flashing. I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the kinetic energy in the room, so I sunk down into my bag, and pushed the blanket over my head.
It was a little quieter in the lounge. I poked my head out, and saw a bunch of couches and chairs with a giant low-slung table in the middle of the room. A bunch of people here were already in the lounge. I recognized some of them, but I didn’t know all the people. Like I said, Mercedes knows a lot of humans.
I nestled down into my bag, and fell asleep. The music was still loud, and the humans were still all yelling at each other, trying to be heard over the noise, but I was bored, and the best way to make time fly is to sleep.
Then I was moving. I stuck my head out of the bag. I was confused. I could see Mercedes sitting on a couch, talking with some guy. She wasn’t even looking my way!
Oh my God! Mercedes! I barked, but she didn’t hear me. Whomever had the purse pushed my head back into the purse, and zipped it up. He — he smelled like a he — ran down the stairs and out a back door. Before I knew it, I was being slung into a car. We sped out of the alleyway.
I started to bark. And bark. And bark. Mercedes says that I have a bark that will shatter crystal. She says it’s the one thing that she doesn’t like about me. (Not that I asked.)
I did not comply. I continued to bark, hoping that someone would hear me.
“I SAID, SHUT UP” and he punched the bag.
I’ve never been struck before. Say what you may about Mercedes, she has only ever touched me with kindness. I was stunned. And frightened. And angry. All those emotions. I promptly shut up, and hunkered down into the rear of the bag.
After some time, we stopped. The man grabbed my bag and swung it out of the car.
Whoa doggies — literally and figuratively. That was another thing I had never experienced — being swung. Not gonna lie, a bit exhilarating, but hella scary when I’m inside a dark bag being flung around like a Tilt-A-Whirl. I threw up a little. Up some stairs, in a door.
“Here” my abductor said, swinging me out again. “I want my money.”
“I told you that when I get paid, you get paid.” That voice! It was … it was … Rick! I was saved. I yipped.
The zipper on my bag opened, and I popped my head out.
“How ya doing Ziggy?” he lifted me out of my bag, gave my head a scritch, and gently placed me on the tiled floor. I looked around for Flash. Sigh. No Flash. Sad face. But there was a bowl of water, which I headed directly for. Once satiated, I looked around, my gaze freezing on my abductor. It was Dom, one of Mercedes’s long line of ex-boyfriends. I remembered him — all big and muscly, and not very nice. Mercedes jettisoned him tout suite (we take French lessons) because of his aggression and anger issues. I did not like Dom. I barred my teeth and growled at him.
“Shut the fuck up!” he said taking a couple of steps forward. I ran and hid behind Rick’s legs.
“Leave him alone. He’s not going to hurt you, Dom. He weighs like five pounds.
Six pounds, thank you very much, I yipped.
“So, how’d it go?” asked Rick.
“Smooth. I went up to the VIP room. Lisbeth was right about that. I made a bit of small talk with Mercedes. Bitch didn’t even want to talk to me, so I talked with Elle and some others. Then when no one was paying attention to me, I grabbed the dog bag, and got the the hell outta there.”
“Good! And no one saw you?”
“Nope. It was pretty dark in there, and I went out the back door.”
“Fantastic.” All of a sudden Rick’s phone started ringing.
“Hey Babe. How’s it going? … What? … What? … When? … Do they know who did it? … Really? … How do they know that? … No kidding! ... Okay, let me know if I can do anything.” He ended the call and put the phone in his pocket, and looked at Dom.
“Bad news, man. That was Lisbeth. They know Ziggy’s missing, and they saw you on CCTV with the purse. You’re busted!
“Fuck! What do I do?”
“I’d get outta town, man.”
“Yeah. Good idea.” Dom looked intently at Rick. “Don’t screw me man. I’ll be in touch about my money.” With that he left the apartment.
I looked up at Rick, wagging my tail. He was going to save me, and take me home to Mercedes. He bent and picked me up.
“Hey, buddy. Let’s get some money from your mommy.” Picking up his laptop with his other hand, we sat on the couch. He did some things with the computer, and started talking.
“We have your dog. You give us five hundred thousand dollars, and you’ll get him back.” Pause. “You have until noon to come up with the money. Wire the money to this account.” He rattled off a list of numbers. “Once the transfer is complete, I will contact you and tell you where to find your dog.”
What!? Rick was kidnapping — or rather, dognapping — me? Rick? Lisbeth’s new beau? (French lessons work.) I was stunned. He wasn’t my saviour. He was my nemesis.
I looked around the apartment. There was no way to get out. I’m six inches tall. But I could hide. I scootched under the couch.
“What the … Ziggy, get out from under there.”
Come on, Ziggy! Treats!”
“Yip!” No way. Do you think I’m stupid? (There is a lot that can be conveyed in a single yip.)
“For God’s sake, Ziggy!” He bent down and tried to grab me. I backed farther away. He tried moving the couch, but I stayed under it.
“Fine, you little shit-head, stay under there, for all I care!” He flounced on the couch. I felt the springs depress above my head. I could tell that he was annoyed with me, but it was mutual. I was more than a little annoyed with him, as well!
Suddenly the door crashed open, and a bunch of people I did not know, came streaming in.
“Police! Hands up.” I assumed they were the police. I could only see their feet from under the couch.
“Where’s Ziggy?” asked a voice.
“Ziggy?” said Rick. “Ziggy who?”
Suddenly I heard Mercedes’s voice. “I want my dog back!” I watched her stamp her elegantly clad foot. “NOW!”
That was my cue. I squiggled out from under the couch and ran to Mercedes.
“Ziggy! You’re safe!” She grabbed me up, and hugged me to her chest. “I was so worried about you, my little man!” She snuggled me, and I licked her face. I was never so happy to see Mercedes in my entire life.
One of the police officers — I assume she was a police officer, because Mercedes called her “Detective Waits” — came over and had a look at me.
“He looks okay. You should probably get him looked at in the morning.” She gave me a pat on the head. “But I am going to need his collar, so we can download all the GPS data.”
Mercedes undid my collar and handed it over.
Detective Waits looked at the collar. “Did you know that someone was going to dognap Ziggy, here?” she said, rubbing my head again.
“No. But once someone tried to steal Lady Ga Ga’s dogs, I didn’t think it would hurt. I had all his collars GPS chipped.”
What! Mercedes was worried about me! More than an accessory! I wagged my tail, and licked her hand.
But I was still miffed. If she hadn’t taken me to Clubify, then stupid Dom wouldn’t have been able to dognap me, and I wouldn’t have been taken. I’ll say it again — dogs shouldn’t go to dance clubs.
The next week, I was still a bit traumatized, but Hector and Lisbeth were being marvellous — we walked and played. But Lisbeth was heartbroken. Here she thought Rick liked her, but he only wanted to get to me. And, get this, Flash wasn’t even his dog! He borrowed him from a friend. The cad!
Mercedes was more affectionate with me than usual, which was nice, but I was still annoyed. I hoped that she had learned her lesson.
Plink, plink, plink.
I slowly walked into the hallway. There she was. With a purse. I looked her in the eye, peed on the carpet, and walked back to my bed.
“Ziggy!” she said, following me into the den.
I curled into my bed with my back to her and yipped.
I’m never going out with you again!