Thelma Lou, the bloodhound, is sixty-five pounds of droopy eyes and ten-miles of legs. And she is sprinting toward parts unknown. Muscles flexed, ears flying. We’re talking full-on demonic possession.

My dog stole my cellphone. I was trying to watch the Braves game when she stole it from my armrest and left for another zip code.

Thelma Lou, the bloodhound, is sixty-five pounds of droopy eyes and ten-miles of legs. And she is sprinting toward parts unknown. Muscles flexed, ears flying. We’re talking full-on demonic possession. And I’m chasing her.

Of course, any dog owner will tell you that it’s a bad idea to chase a dog. You must never chase a dog. Dogs are programmed to run away from you when you chase them.

Instead, experts stress that the best way to recall a dog is to pat your thighs and unleash a string of profanity that causes small trees and most domestic varieties of hydrangeas to die.

Not me. I’m chasing and hollering:

“THELMALOUTHELMALOU!!!”

Thel is already a mile away, galloping a dirt road into a neighborhood of mobile homes. The trailer-park neighborhood is quiet tonight. Folks are sitting in front yards, seated in lawn chairs.

One man is shirtless, with many tattoos, his name is Miller. Miller’s mother—I’d guess late-seventies, maybe—is seated beside him. She is smoking a cigarette and wearing a patriotic bathing suit which provides less coverage than number 08 dental floss.

Granny is spraying Miller’s kids with the water hose. They are laughing and giggling.

“What kinda dog is that?” Granny asks me.

I’m not making eye contact with Granny in case of any possible swimsuit malfunctions.

“A bloodhound,” I say.

She stabs her cigarette and adjusts her bikini top. “Nice-looking dog, Sweetie Pie. What’s your name?”

She winks at me.

So Miller decides to help me. He chases Thelma. And he runs faster than I can. He darts away so quick that his baggy jean shorts almost rip and he nearly spills his beer.

But Miller is committed to my cause. And even though Miller is not a small man, he runs at a breakneck speed. His flip flops fall from his feet. His wallet is dangling behind him on a chain clipped to his belt loop.

Thelma kicks into full throttle. She spins in circles. Miller tries to grab her. His fingers barely graze her fur. Then she turns. She crouches. She wags her tail.

She barks as if to say: “Come get me, Miller!”

But Miller is out of breath. He sits on the curb, puffs his vapor cigarette, and uses words which I won’t repeat—my mother will read this.

“Think I sprained my ankle,” says Miller. “You better go on without me. I can’t walk.”

Thus, I am one man down. I am following a bloodhound who carries my new-model Apple device in her mouth. She is heading for Canada.

And that’s when I have an idea that can only be described as divine inspiration. My idea is—bear with me here—to cluck like a chicken.

So that’s what I do. I cluck.

Thelma stops running.

OF COURSE! Why didn’t I try this before? Chickens are an ancient pastime among dogs. A holy sacrament. The sound of clucking triggers something deep within the canine brain—warm emotions that remind dogs of the longstanding bond they share with undercooked poultry.

I cluck again.

Thel is so overcome with warm emotion she squats and makes a warm contribution to the earth.

I take advantage of this window of opportunity. I trot toward her while she is still in the pancake-making position. I call her using my happy, Mister Rogers voice. I’m trying to reach her before her moment of spiritual reflection is finished.

Miller is limping behind me with a side cramp, and possibly a broken fibula.

I’m edging toward Thelma with the same caution experts use when approaching active nuclear reactors.

“Thelma Lou, that’s my angel!” I say. “Bawk! Bawk! Bacawk!”

And something changes inside my dog. She drops my phone. She runs toward me. She jumps on me. She licks me. Miller rejoices by sucking his vapor cigarette completely dry.

So my phone is recovered and all is well with the world. I have a dog on a leash, and we’re making our journey homeward where I’ll resume watching baseball.

Thank you, Miller. You’ll never know how much your help meant to me. I’m sorry about your ankle.

Give my best to Granny.

26 comments

  1. Kelly - July 27, 2018 10:01 am

    Laughing out loud before the sun comes up! Thank you for that. The image of Granny in her patriotic bathing suit had me in stitches! Dogs – one of God’s best creations🐶🐾💕

    Reply
  2. CaroG87 - July 27, 2018 10:05 am

    Lord have mercy — a good belly laugh to start the day is priceless!!! Hug that baby tight for me.

    Reply
  3. Sandra Smith - July 27, 2018 11:04 am

    I learned, twenty huskies ago, DON’T chase them. Nope, you Stop, Drop & CRY. Cry like a baby, or a clucking chicken. They’ll come to you EVERY TIME ! 😂

    Reply
  4. Leslie in NC - July 27, 2018 11:38 am

    😂🤣😆 Too funny, Sean!! I was drawn into your story and running right there beside you!! Thanks for the laugh!!

    Reply
  5. Barbara Pope - July 27, 2018 12:14 pm

    Oh my goodness, is Miller from Brewton?

    Reply
  6. Judith A Mercer - July 27, 2018 12:52 pm

    A hearty morning laugh…picturing the entire scene in my mind!!!

    Reply
  7. Carol - July 27, 2018 1:00 pm

    You beat all!!You know that!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  8. Connie Havard Ryland - July 27, 2018 1:02 pm

    Yep. Puppies will do that. When our youngest one was just s puppy, she got my eyeglasses. The really expensive, no line bifocals. I had to wear chewed up glasses for two years before I could afford new ones. But I couldn’t be mad at her. It was my fault for taking a nap and leaving them where she could get them. Love and hugs to you and Jamie and Thelma Lou.

    Reply
  9. Edna B. - July 27, 2018 1:04 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for my morning giggle. Sean, you have a wonderful day and enjoy your doggie. Hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  10. Jack Darnell - July 27, 2018 1:11 pm

    Imma thinking you made some of this stuff up. You did make eye contact with granny! Well that is what I think! 😉

    Reply
    • LARRY WALL - August 2, 2018 5:47 pm

      Just what I had told my old lady, Jack. And I agree with you. On both accounts.:-) But that is what the best writers do, keep ’em guessing about the story.

      Reply
  11. Jeanne Butler - July 27, 2018 2:47 pm

    So great. Dogs. Go figure. Our chocolate lab Bo, named after Bo Duke runs like that. Bout his favorite occupation is carrying up sticks (or logs) from our beach. When I cut grass I have a lot to remove❤️🤣 He’s crazy. People say chocolate labs are demons! But we love him. Love you too Sean

    Reply
  12. Jan Hammac - July 27, 2018 2:49 pm

    Hilarious!!

    Reply
  13. muthahun - July 27, 2018 6:11 pm

    Oh dear Lord! We keep a few surgically-removed squeakers from dead dog toys in our pockets for when Woodrow and Maggie escape. Good for you for remembering the leash tho… somebody here usually comes home holding dog on belt in one hand and pants in ‘t’other!

    Reply
  14. Susan Kennedy - July 27, 2018 6:12 pm

    😂😂😂😂💕

    Reply
  15. Diane - July 27, 2018 8:12 pm

    Oh, how we love your Thelma Lou stories!

    Reply
  16. Ann - July 27, 2018 8:43 pm

    I am knee deep in work on a late Friday afternoon and am taking a much needed break to finally read your morning story. I truly needed that and am now smiling while I go back to work figuring out my financial reports. Thank you Sean!

    Reply
  17. Ann - July 27, 2018 8:45 pm

    And now I’m laughing! Please tell me you’re not drinking PBR! Lol!

    Reply
  18. Shelton Armour - July 27, 2018 11:53 pm

    Your letter today is, for me, ironic. I had to put my best friend down. I’m glad that Thelma Lou can make you so crazed one moment and loved the next. I’m glad, and so thankful for the time I had with Gabriel. He was almost 14 and it was time. Her back hips and legs were going and today they went too far. So I did the right thing. saved him from some tough moments (for me too because Gabriel weighed 65-86 lbs. I want to thank you to my neighbor who helped me get him in the car. God bless the vet who let him down slow and easy (and painless). I believe he’s out there with God and I’ll see him again.

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - July 29, 2018 4:44 pm

      Shelton, so sorry for your loss! You made the loving choice though.You sure will see him!

      Reply
  19. C.E. HARBIN - July 28, 2018 9:52 am

    This just may be the funniest thing I’ve ever read. I loved “My Two Dates” but I believe this one will keep me laughing for a while. Of course, when I think about ‘your dates having questions’ I start giggling.

    Reply
  20. Melodie - July 28, 2018 2:21 pm

    OMG! I’m dying, here. 🙂 That’s a great story. The way you describe things….I love to laugh! Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Janet Mary Lee - July 29, 2018 4:45 pm

    Love me some Thelma Lou!! Good day to you all!!

    Reply
  22. Mindy - September 22, 2018 7:03 am

    Oh my goodness!!! I literally belly laughed and imagined every minute.

    Reply
  23. Amy - September 22, 2018 12:40 pm

    I can just see Granny sitting out there’s. LOL! God bless chickens and dogs and red-headed writers. 🤣

    Reply
  24. Cathy Ennis - September 22, 2018 2:58 pm

    Go Braves! Slow down Thelma Lou! Love you Sean!

    Reply

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