Back in 1980, I was living in Nashville and was the proud owner of a year-old cockapoo dog named Shadrach. 

Because of a job relocation, I could no longer care for Shad so my folks agreed to take him off my hands.

I shipped ol’ Shad from Tennessee to Odessa. I was sad, relieved and grateful all at the same time. 

My folks answered the call because that’s just what parents do.   

Fast forward to 2008 when my own son asked us to take in “Cassie,” his “roommate” and year-old hyper, untrained beagle. 

He’d gotten the dog as a companion and, I think, possible conversation starter with the ladies. But with Cassie not being completely house broken, I’d say there were definite limitations.  

When Charles graduated from college, he too, was in transition and needed someone to take Cassie, at least temporarily.  

My wife Carolyn and I agreed to take the dog until our son got settled in into his new job and apartment. 

We’d had her at our house in the country a couple weeks, when Cassie just disappeared. 

We made a modest effort to find her by searching the area, calling neighbors and local vets with no success. 

Now I love animals, especially dogs, but I have to admit we were not too upset. Neither was Charles. 

About two weeks later, I got a call from a fellow in Fort Worth asking if I had a missing beagle. 

I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” 

He’d tracked me down from the tag on her collar and definitely wanted me come get her. 

I agreed to meet him the next day on my way home from the DFW airport. We met at a Walgreen’s parking lot at the appointed time. I gave him some money for his trouble and thanked him for contacting us. 

He seemed relieved to let her go, as much as I was distressed in taking her back. 

I put Cassie in the backseat with leash loosely tied to the passenger headrest and homeward bound I was. I’d been clipping along I-35 a few minutes when all of a sudden I started smelling a putrid odor emanating from behind me. 

I glanced to the back and this dog had “pooped” all over the seat and was hopping all around. Even put its dirty front paws on the headrests of the front seat!  

To make it worse, she seemed happy as a lark.

I lowered my window, and in a role reversal, stuck my head out of the window for fresh air. I had 40 minutes to go. 

Thank the good Lord for cell phones. I got a hold of Carolyn and told her of my worsening predicament. When she finally stopped laughing, we came up with a plan. 

She met me in the driveway decked out in what looked like one of those “hazmat” suits - complete with a face mask, goggles, overalls, gloves and cap. 

She had paper towels, disinfectant spray, scrub brush and water hose at the ready. I scurried off to shower, and within the hour I was clean, the car was clean and Cassie was bathed and content. 

Now, I always looked forward to coming home to see the pretty wife after out of town trips, but I don’t think she ever looked so good to me as that day —hazmat suit and all.

Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at chas234@windstream.net.