The Strongest Dog

“I sure miss having a dog.”  So spoke Hubby.  A couple of years earlier he had said, “No more dogs.”  No more dogs after the death of our lady, a Border Collie-Wolf mix.  Grayson is a dog person.  I’ve always been a cat person, but we now had no pets.

Grayson accepted being dog-free as long as he befriended the neighbor’s lab, Shasta.  But when Shasta died, he spoke around the hollow of his heart.  “I sure miss having a dog.”

It wasn’t only Hubby broaching the subject.  That Inner Guide, referred to by many names, whispered to me.   People with pets are healthier.  People with pets live longer.  A pet makes an ideal companion.  I thought of how when one of us should die, a dog would enliven the survivor.

So I confessed to Hubby that the Spirit was nudging me.

We visited the Humane Society and saw dogs with happy eyes and mean eyes.  Woof-woof.  Arf-arf.  Yap-yap.  Big dogs, little dogs.  Ugly, pretty.  None appealed to us until a silent, two-year-old black Labrador exchanged soulful eye contact with us.  The mellow fellow looked depressed in this noisy crowd.

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So we took Angus home, and on our first walks around the neighborhood, a youth remarked, “What a beautiful dog!”  A guy yelled as he slowed his pickup in passing, “Now that’s poetic.”  Another man approached Grayson and said, “Let me shake your hand.  I wanted to adopt him, but I already have three dogs.  I was afraid he would be put down.”  The little girl next door, asked, “Can I play with Angus?”  Others call out, “Hello, Angus.”

Angus is sleek, with the shiniest coat I have ever seen on a dog.  He loves people, loves other dogs, loves to run and prance.  Sometimes, though, his left hind leg bothers him and he’ll try to dig at it, which frustrates him because he has no left hind leg.

Evidently he messed with a car and the car won.  But Angus isn’t handicapped.  In fact, the Human Society said he was their strongest dog.angus 253

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The Plucked Chicken Mystery

There it lay in all its nudity on the flat-bed of the little trailer behind our brown 1940s Chevy.  We hadn’t killed and plucked any chickens lately, but someone had.

My father, mother, brothers and I marched by it and piled into the car.  I was the only one to glance at the chicken.  All it needed was to be cut up and fried.  Why was it lying out in the open, neglected?

Young as I was, I was sure my folks knew about it.  They knew lots of things.  Surely they had plans.  They never acted without purpose.

We kids sat in back, my brothers facing forward, my parents talking to each other as my father pulled onto the country road.  Our driveway and the roads were all graveled in those days.  I alone watched through the back window to see the trailer jostle that chicken about.  Who had put it there?  A neighbor?

I don’t recall our destination.  To town, to a neighbor’s farm?  Surely we weren’t just going for a ride.  After all, there was that chicken to deal with.  Was it a gift, a surprise from a neighbor, or something left absent-mindedly?

The graveled surface bumped the trailer along, which in turn bumped the chicken.  It jostled toward the back of the trailer.

What did my folks have in mind?  It never occurred to me to translate my wondering into the spoken word.

That chicken wouldn’t lie still.  It trembled and jerked.  Eventually it jounced to the edge and fell from sight.

I quit watching, assuming my folks’ purpose had been served.  Get rid of the chicken.  But why had they chosen such a strange way to do it?

Over the years, I puzzled about the plucked chicken.  Answers to my questions came with the gathering of experience and wisdom.  The others in the family had walked by it because they didn’t see it.  Was their blindness a lack of focus?  No.  They had narrowed their focus to other things.  Someone must have left that chicken as a surprise gift.  In a way I regret not saying anything at the time because of what my family missed.  That chicken was a delicious meal, for scavengers.

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