It was supposed to be a quick stroll with the dog before Philip and I went to the grocery store on Tuesday evening. Since rushing Philip is counterproductive, I selected the shortest route possible. This led us past the home of my dad’s cousin, Steve.
I could see Steve and his wife, Jeanette, in front of their house visiting a neighbor as Philip, Roscoe and I turned the corner onto their street. Roscoe, who also spotted them, began to whimper and pull on his leash, eager for the attention we apparently deprive him of at home. Philip, however, stopped every few feet to pick up fallen leaves scattered along the curb. He crushed them which made a delicious sound. He would then either turn over his hands to release the bits or else blow them off his palms.
When we reached their yard, Steve said, “Hi, Philip! What did you find?”
“He’s playing with leaves,” I said.
Steve proceeded to pick up some leaves from the yard.
“Look, Philip,” he said, extending a handful to him.
Philip grabbed these and crushed them up. Together, the two moved around the yard picking up and destroying leaves. It warmed my heart to watch them play together.
Meanwhile, Roscoe was barking because no one was paying attention to him. I led him over to Jeanette who obliged by petting him.
Suddenly, Philip made a high-pitched noise. I turned to see him stomping his left leg. I saw a small, black mark on his ankle.
“There’s a bee on him!” I exclaimed.
Steve quickly scooped Philip up, brushed off the bee and moved Philip away from the yard. Philip clung to him, pressing his left ankle against his right leg.
“Let me look, sweetie,” I cooed. Jeanette took hold of Roscoe’s leash while I tried to move Philip’s leg. When I finally got a peek, I saw a small red mark on the outer joint.
“Oh, it’s his first bee sting,” I said. I opened my arms to take Philip, but he clung to Steve. The visiting neighbor took over Roscoe’s leash so that Jeanette could go inside for an ice cube. I stood by feeling rather helpless until Jeanette returned. Then, I put the wrapped ice cube on his ankle. Philip shivered.
As we stood there, Philip chattered away. There were no tears, but he made it clear from his tone that he was upset. Now we could see the small swarm of bees around the railroad tie that borders the yard.
“I’ll spray and get rid of those bees,” Steve promised Philip.
Once again, I offered to hold Philip, hoping I could take him home. Once more, he refused to let go of Steve. That’s how Steve ended up carrying Philip all the way back to our house. It wasn’t until we were inside the living room that we could finally extract Philip from Steve’s arms and deposit him on Peter’s lap.
Peter and I anxiously observed Philip for the rest of the evening. The trip to the grocery store was deemed unnecessary. Philip rubbed at the spot and favored the leg, wanting to be carried upstairs for his bath. After sitting and playing in the warm water, though, the sting seemed to be forgotten. By morning, I could no longer see the spot where Philip had been stung.
I sent a thank you card to Steve and Jeanette the next day. They stayed calm and took charge which is probably what kept me from freaking out. When we walked past their house the next evening before going to the grocery store, Philip picked up and crushed leaves as if nothing had happened.