The Poodle Puppy by Neal Murphy

May 28, 2020 - The police radio in the patrol car called my number, “Unit 1401, call your X2.” This was unusual. The term “X2” was code for wife. So my wife had called the sheriff’s office dispatcher and asked him to give me the message. She had never done this before, so I was quite alarmed. Since cell telephones had not been invented in 1972, I had to drive around and find a pay telephone to use.

While dialing our phone number, I was thinking of specific things that could have happened. Perhaps one of the children had been injured, or maybe my wife had been hurt. Could one of our parents taken ill? By the time she answered the telephone I was worked into a dither.

“Honey, got your message to call. Is everything OK? Are you OK?” I stammered into the receiver.

“Oh, we are all fine," she replied.

“Well, what’s so important that you had to call me while on duty?” I inquired.

“Honey, the kids have found the cutest little puppy that they want really badly. Philip and Beverly’s little white poodle had a litter of pups and there is only one left. Please, cannot we get him for the kids?" my wife explained.

“A poodle! A poodle?” I exclaimed. “If we get a dog, I want a real dog, like a German shepherd, or a collie, you know, a real dog.”

“I know, I know,” she replied, “but the kids want this all white fuzzball. He’s so cute!”

I suppose there was a little psychology used on me here. I was so relieved that everyone was OK I was happy to agree to this adoption.

“Ok, honey, but the kids have to take responsibility in caring for the dog,” I instructed.

Back in the patrol car, I began to feel that I had been snookered into agreeing to getting a dog. But if the kids wanted the puppy so much, I should not be an old grouch about it. So, “Curley” the poodle became a part of our family in 1972. He was a typical poodle, cute but high-strung. He never seemed to like me very much. Perhaps he sensed that I really wanted a real dog and he was not it.

In 1974 we moved to Littleton, Colorado for a job change. Philip and Beverly came up to Colorado to visit us in 1975 for a few days. When they walked into the house Curley remembered them and let them know it. He had a great memory.

Curley’s nemesis in Colorado was static electricity. The low humidity helped generate this electricity when one walked across our wool carpets and touched Curley. He would yelp and run for cover. My father-in-law enjoyed doing this and Curley shunned him with each visit.

Curley was a member of our family until 1985 when he died of natural causes at age 13. He is buried in a back yard in the City Lake addition. I do not recall any other time that my wife called me through the dispatcher while on duty. Once was enough.