Trying to find a Chinese Foo Dog in the middle of Oklahoma.
You know what’s harder?
Driving around rural Oklahoma AND the Osage Nation Native American Reservation trying to find the one and only store in the middle of Oklahoma that sells a Chinese Foo Dog.
Not to mention keeping my temper when I discover that the one and only store in the middle of Oklahoma that sells a Chinese Foo Dog only takes cash.
All in all, it’s been a rather weird day.
But I get ahead of myself…it all started about a month and a half ago when I had to say goodbye to my 13 year old Chihuahua, Peek-A-Boo. I still can’t bear to talk about it, you can read about his life here. Anyway, my mom wanted to get me some sort of memorial of him and since he was always outside in the garden with me, she thought I should get some sort of garden statuary. But she wanted me to pick it out, because she wanted it to be just right.
To be honest, it was challenging to find the exact right thing…largely because the main reason Peek liked the garden was that he would wriggle his fat little body through the rows and eat any vegetable he could get his paws on. Seriously, he ate tomatoes off the vine, spinach and arugula off the plant, he even dug up the broccoli plants and gobbled them down stalks and all.
He was not what you might call a normal dog.
And there aren’t a lot of Chihuahua Eating Broccoli statues available.
Anyway, I finally decided on a Chinese Foo Dog because they are half dog, half lion and are the traditional guardians of Buddhist temples…and I decided that they were the perfect representation of Peek’s lion-like heart.
However, as I mentioned, they are a little challenging to find in the middle of Oklahoma.
It has taken me almost a month to find a place that even knew what I was talking about…and that place is in the middle of a little town called Skiatook.
Which is only about 45 minutes away…if, of course, you don’t get lost. And if the route that your GPS sends you on isn’t filled with construction and crazy detours through the worst parts of town…I mean, meandering around North Tulsa wasn’t quite as scary as the time I got lost in East St Louis, but it was close. There’s just something about a pawnshop on every corner rusted out cars on every lawn that gives me the heebie-jeebies.
So, an hour and fifteen minutes later, after making my way through scary North Tulsa, three practically abandoned small towns, and finding my way to the Osage Nation Native American Reservation, I found the statuary store.
And saw this sign:
Have you ever seen a more customer unfriendly sign in your life? I mean, we’ll TRY to help you…unless we’re on our lunch break, then you’re on your own.
But my main concern was that they don’t take credit cards…and I never have cash. I looked in my purse, hoping for a miracle, and managed to gather twenty-seven cents.
Probably not enough for a concrete Foo Dog.
So, after trying to remember every curse word I know—and singing a few in time to the song on the radio—I started driving up and down the streets of Skiatook, looking for a bank or a gas station or a grocery store where I could buy something like a pack of gum and use my debit card to get cash back.
Which is when I found the WalMart.
I think every town in America has a WalMart…and every WalMart has 1,716 lanes but 1,714 are usually closed—in spite of the fact that there are always 453,892 people in the store.
But you can get cash back on your purchases so I grabbed a bag of M&Ms and waited 10 minutes to get through the line and get enough cash to go get my dog.
And if you think this added stress to my day, consider the poor man who had to finally deal with me at the statuary store…I went back, called the number, and got lucky enough to get someone to find me.
“I’m looking for a Foo Dog,” I said…and surprised myself by kind of tearing up.
He gave me a strange look and let me to the Asian art display.
And I took one look at the Foo Dog and burst into tears “That’s perfect!” I said. “It’s just like my dog!”
I had the feeling that he either wanted to explain to me that Foo Dogs aren’t real or ask me what kind of mutant dog I had, but he had clearly already decided that I was a dangerous lunatic (perhaps he saw the cursing display on my first trip) . Or maybe he just isn’t used to women sobbing in the statuary store.
So he just said, “Ok then.” and practically ran over to the cash register.
Then, after he got the dog all loaded, he stood to the side of the car, eyeing me suspiciously while I wept over the Foo Dog and shot M&Ms like they were cheap tequila.
Can you imagine the blog HE’S writing tonight? “I thought we were going to have to call the police because the woman JUST WOULDN’T LEAVE…I think she might be an escaped mental patient.”
But I’ve got my Foo Dog in memoriam of my Peek-A-Boo dog…and here it is: