Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Or at least, something on the verge of becoming such. When we smell that unmistakable scent we know that something’s wrong. So do pets as it turns out. Our dog Tubby did and ran to a sole place of safety. Yours truly.

Tubby is a 1year old/ still not house trained/ doesn’t understand the concept of personal space mix that we got last year. A friend of my mother’s had a dog with a litter of puppies, the latter of which she was giving away. Our dog, Buddy, had died the year previous and my parents decided that it was time to get another canine companion. We drove to the town where they puppies were, with a choice already in mind. We looked at the pups and picked out Tubby. We spent some time there, I stepped on a puppies foot with my heeled boot, and we left. It was raining cats and dogs outside which–in hindsight to this story–seems rather foretelling.

I’d spent my most recent day off in town running a few errands. However, because both my parents were gone and I only had a permit, I had to walk about three miles in total in the midst of the blooming Texas summer. Suffice to say I was tired when I got home. I stayed in my room for awhile with my door shut. My cat is anti-social around others of its kind so we have to keep her and our other cats separate. My dad and brother came home and did who knows what. More time passed and I detected the unmistakable scent of smoke.

I opened my door to investigate and found Tubby–scaredy eyed and trembling–crouched before my door. I went to the living room only to make the alarming discovery that it–as well as the kitchen–had clouds of smoke. The source? A pan on the stove. I ran over to find three bags of rice in a skillet with no water. Well, amend that. I’m sure that there was water, it just got used up. Either way I shut down the stove and moved the skillet. The air was still thick with smoke with I couldn’t do anything about. What I could do was find the other two people who were supposed to be present and figure out who was responsible.

My dad and brother were outside. My dad was negotiating with a gentlemen who was potentially going to mow our yard and my brother was watching them. I told my dad what had happened at he was pissed. He’d apparently told my brother to turn off the stove and–knowing him–‘forgot’ to do it. I personally think that there was blame to go around, but no one asked my opinion. Meanwhile, Tubby was still curled by my door and shivering like a leaf. I opened the door and he hoped right on my bed. The second I got there he curled up right next to me and stayed that way for hours.

He’s been a tad clingy since the event, but I guess that’s to be expected. Lesson learned from this event? Don’t leave stuff cooking on the stove unattended.

And when that happens, seek out the nearest available Human, ASAP.

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