We had just arrived in Italy for our wedding. We had finally managed to plow through all of the complicated paperwork needed to get married in a foreign country, so now just wanted to relax and enjoy our time there. We imagined a week of unequaled bliss.
I had been dreaming a lot about dogs lately. The dreams were jumbled, so there wasn’t much clarity to them. However, the lyrics to a children’s song would remain on my mind afterwards. “There was a farmer, who had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o. B-I-N-G-O B-I-N-G-O B-I-N-G-O And Bingo was his name-o.” The dreams were perplexing, leaving me wondering what they meant. But I had a wedding to think about, so didn’t worry too much about my weird dreams at the time.
My fiancée and I had also been discussing the adoption of a dog from our local animal shelter, but had put the plans on hold until we plowed through our matrimonial paperwork. That would explain the convoluted dog dreams I was having. We planned to resume doggie discussions when we returned home after our honeymoon.
Coincidentally, at the same time, there was a scruffy looking little terrier that was hanging around the hotel parking lot, watching our every move as we unloaded the luggage from our rental car. We had a few snacks leftover from our road trip, and he looked hungry, so we put them on the ground where he would see them. As we rolled our bags inside, we saw him dash between the parked cars and scarf up the goodies. We made a mental note to give him more food, if we ran into him again.
Our wedding was going to be a small, uncomplicated affair with just a few friends. There wasn’t much planning to worry about beforehand, since we had already gathered all the documents we needed. So off we went to enjoy a delicious Italian dinner on the terrace of the hotel where we were staying, the same place that was organizing our wedding reception. It was there, as we were enjoying after-dinner drinks, that my thoughtful future wife presented me with a trio of gifts.
I unwrapped each tiny box and was delighted to find a different ring in each one. I had always loved rings, but hadn’t worn any since I was a teenager, since I repeatedly kept losing them. This seemed like a good time to start wearing one again.
My fiancée is a planner, so I got a simple band for everyday use, a second with a beautiful ruby for dressy events, and a third ring for really special occasions. The last ring was custom-made from old gold jewelry she had melted down to form a new family crest; one she had designed especially for us. It was original and irreplaceable. We would use it during our ceremony.
Meanwhile, we heard a commotion as the hotel staff shooed away a dog that had gotten inside the hotel. It was the same scrappy looking little beast that we had fed in the parking lot. Apparently, he had seen us enter through the automatic sliding door and discovered that it would open up for him too. He scurried away from the terrace and hid in the bushes nearby. When the staff returned back into the hotel, we furtively left him our dinner scraps.
The next day we were organizing our things, when I decided to have a closer look at the rings my wife had given me during dinner the previous evening. Ring number one was lovely. Ring number two was stunning. And ring number three was . . . GONE! Trying not to panic, I checked through our things to see where I may have accidentally misplaced it. I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I mumbled to my fiancée that I was going to get more stuff from the car, then dashed through the hotel, retracing our steps to the terrace from the night before. I stopped at the front desk on my way, explaining the situation to the clerk, mentioning that I didn’t have the heart to say anything to my fiancée yet. “As you can see, I don’t wear a wedding ring,” he said. “After losing three of them, I stopped wearing them altogether.” Behind him, the hotel manager piped up. “I lost mine the same day we were married, so you can imagine what my honeymoon was like.”
There was a community brunch being held at the hotel that morning. A woman standing in the reception area overheard our conversation and the story of my plight, and spoke up. “We can organize the children into a search party. If we make it into a game, it’ll be fun for them to help out.” So, the next thing I knew, dozens of kids were scouring the hotel and grounds. I was more than willing to offer a reward for the return of the ring. With great enthusiasm, the children searched and returned with all kinds of things, including metal nuts, spacers and even a ring. But, alas, the ring wasn’t mine. I bought the kids a round of ice cream to reward them for their efforts, but was back where I started.
I decided that I’d better come clean and ‘fess up to my fiancée, before she became my future ex-wife. I invited her back to the hotel terrace for a glass of wine and some lunch. There, I laid out the whole story of the loss of the ring and the fruitless search. As always, she was very understanding. However, I knew that she was disappointed and upset, notwithstanding the explanation. I felt awful about the whole thing.
Like the previous evening, we saw the little wirehaired dog skulking in the bushes. We didn’t notice him earlier, since we were absorbed in conversation. We hadn’t eaten much of our lunch, because we’d lost our appetites along with our ring. So, we gave him a generous amount of leftover food, cheering ourselves up with the thought that at least he would be having a great meal.
Once upstairs, we consoled ourselves by sitting out on our room balcony, romantically holding hands while gazing at the scenery. It seemed like the wedding was still on, though I still regretted losing that ring.
As we relaxed, I thought I heard a slight noise at the door to our room. Listening closely, I definitely heard a whine and some scratching. Quickly crossing across the room, I opened the door with a flourish, only to find no one there. Looking down, I saw the scruffy terrier that had been stalking us for days. He had managed to sneak into the hotel again, it would seem.
He looked up at me soulfully with his deep liquid eyes and dropped something out of his mouth. Incredibly, it was my ring! That night, he got some extra treats and stayed with us in the hotel. He attended our wedding and has been a family member ever since. In a variation of the song from my dreams, we named him after the ring he brought back to us.
And Ringo was his name-o.
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