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11 March 2001 Issue
Fifteen Minutes of Fame

From March 5, 2001, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Home Delivery):
contributed by SDurbin@tulsa.cc.ok.us 

I dashed out an exit at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and ran towards a waiting cab. I was greeted by a cab driver with a three-day-old beard, an old baseball cap and arms the size of tree trunks. As he tossed my bags into the trunk, he spotted my luggage tags and said, "What kind of
doctor are you?"

"A veterinarian," I said. Instantly, his grizzled face broke into a smile. This happens to veterinarians all the time, as people love to talk about their pets. The doors slammed, he put the car into gear and hit me with this opening salvo, "My wife claims I love my toy poodle Missy more than I love her. Just once, she wants me to be as excited to see her as I am Missy. But Doc, it ain't gonna happen. Ya see, when I get home from a long day in the cab, dead tired, I open the door and there are the two of them looking at me, Ma and Missy. Ma has a scowl on her face and is ready to tear into me. Missy, on the other hand, is shaking all over, she's that happy -- her face is grinning so wide, she could eat a banana sideways. Now who do you think I'm going to run to?"

I nodded my head in agreement because I understood his point only too well. He loved his wife, but he simply wanted permission to savor his fifteen minutes of fame. Everybody gets fifteen minutes of fame once in his lifetime. We pet owners get our fifteen minutes every time we come home -- or even return from the next room.

A few days after I saw the cab driver in Chicago, I returned home. I was tired from my travels and looking forward to seeing my family. Pulling into the driveway, I peered through the windshield, straining to catch my first glimpse of my loved ones. My two children, Mikkel and Lex, are very close
to good ol' dad, but I didn't see their faces pressed against the window looking for me. Nor did my beloved wife, Teresa, come running in super slow motion across the yard, arms open wide ready to embrace me. But I didn't despair. I knew I was still wanted, a Hollywood heartthrob, hometown hero to my two dogs: Scooter, a wirehaired fox terrier, and Sirloin, a black Labrador retriever!

As soon as I exited the pickup, Sirloin and Scooter charged to meet me. Their love-filled eyes danced with excitement, and their tail turbochargers whipped them into a delighted frenzy of fur. Was this affection-connection routine, or ho-hum for me? Was I cool, calm and collected?

Heck no. I turned into a blithering idiot as I got out of my truck and rushed to meet the hairy-princess, Scooter, and Sirloin, the fur-king. There I stood, all the false layers stripped away, masks removed and performances canceled. It was my true self. Extra pounds, bad-hair day, angry people, travel strains, no matter. Scooter and Sirloin came to the emotional rescue and allowed me to drink in the sheer love and joy of the moment. I was drunk with contentment.

I was glad this took place in the privacy of my own home. What happened next might have spoiled my polished professional image. I immediately smiled, and raised my voice an octave or two, exclaiming, "Sirloin, yuz is daaaaddy's boy, aren't ya?" And, "Scooter, have you been a good girl today? Yeah you have, you've been a goooood girl!!"

They responded by turning inside out with delight, pressing themselves against my legs and talking to me. I felt as if I could tap directly into their wellspring of positive, healing energy. Gee, it was great to be home!

I bounded up the steps to find the rest of the family, heart open, stress gone and spirits restored by my fifteen minutes of fame.

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