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What in the heck do you think you are doing bringing another dog in here? I already have one dog too many now. That big black stray will eat us out of house and home and what is the matter with his leg? She was almost screaming at her husband Loren.


“Now just settle down, you don’t even know his name or anything about him yet.” Loren was trying to calm down her Irish Temper a bit so he could explain that the dog was a gift from his best friend Bob. But she was not having any of that. She knew full well who would take care of that hound. “Johnnie calm down“ Loren was talking in his quiet tone and he knew that if he raised his voice either him and the dog or Johnnie would be out that door in a minute. “Listen, he said, just listen” “That dog is a registered Black Labrador Retriever. He is in the best of health and only ten months old. Somehow he got his leg caught in the fence and broke it.” “Bob said, they did not have time to be sure it is in and out of the house and fed and watered. That he would pay all the vet bills if you would just take it and take care of it. His name is Buck!”  “BUCK!” She really yelled then. “I have a cousin named Buck and I don’t think he would appreciate me calling a dog after his name. I remember how mad I was when my brother brought home a mule named KATE.” “Appropriate,” Loren muttered, but he sure didn’t let her hear. Appropriate because she was mule headed and he knew he had to handle her just right to get to keep this dog. He knew from the start it was not going to be easy. “Now just look at him looking at you. You have hurt his feelings. Just pat him on the head and see what happens.”  Well, I’m not totally without feeling she thought. If the dog is hurt and needs to be taken care of I will do that and I will NOT,  WILL NOT under any circumstances get attached to him. She reached out and patted him on the head, like she had been instructed. That dog just leaned his head a little further toward her and offered his ears. She scratched his ears. Then she sat on the floor beside him to get more comfortable and think. How in blazes was she going to get this dog out of this house. She did not want to be nursemaid to a dog. What did he do? That simpering big glob of dog guts looked up at her with pleading eyes and laid that broken leg in her lap. He went HMN-HMN-HMN. “Oh all right, let’s see.” She easily unwrapped the bandage and said “Loren this leg does not look broken to me!” She gingerly held it in her hands and the dog simply looked at her and kept on with his little whining noise. She felt for the break and he whimpered louder. So she bandaged it back up and went to bring the dog a pan of water. He drank like he had never tasted water in his life. Why is he so thirsty? It is not that far from Bob’s house. Doesn’t he ever give him water? She shot daggers at Loren as she went back for more water. “Well, you know Bob” Loren said, “it was probably easier to pour some beer in his dish from his bottle then go get water.” Oh, GREAT, All I need is a boozing dog! “Well, you don’t have beer here so you’ll give him water.” “Remember it won’t cost you anything just a little time. Now be sweet and take care of the dog. Can’t you do that one thing for me?” “OK” she said in a very soft whisper. “I will try for a while but I am not making any promises.”


 So off they go with the Adventures of Buck the Black Labrador Retriever. At first he only laid on the floor and whined and looked at her with his pleading eyes. First thing after the water she had to go to the Pet Store and buy dog food. The owner suggested lamb and rice and some special vitamins for his coat. Then she told them about the break and they recommended some more vitamins with healing minerals. She bought those also. When she got back home that dog had moved. Right up in the middle of her big bed. She tried to get him off, but he was two large for her to lift and she wondered if Loren had put him there. She figured not! He would know better then that! Well, she rolled the dog off her pretty pink satin quilted bedspread and removed the satin sheets and pillow cases. Then she put on some old cotton sheets and dug out a quilt from the bottom of the cedar chest. “Now, dog you just stay on that side of the bed because this side over here is mine. Loren is asleep now and if you don’t mind me I’ll take you right back to Bob’s House.”


 Then she went and fixed him a meal of lamb and rice. He must have been some amount of hungry because by the time she got the food in a special stainless steel dish she had purchased here comes the dog limping into the kitchen looking all forlorn. He did look pitiful trying to walk and carry that front forepaw. But he managed to eat two big bowls of the food. Then he drank some more water. Johnnie started supper for her and Loren. That was her usual chore in the afternoons. She would cook while Loren slept. Now today she was not in the biggest mood to cook she had ever been in so all she did was cook a chicken and get a  squash casserole out of the freezer along with a cherry pie and some scalloped potatoes. She would make a salad and they could just skip rolls tonight.  She worked diligently and quickly from her long years of experience. When Loren awakened the food was ready they ate. Not talking much. Johnnie was still not too happy about that dog and Loren was not pushing his luck.


 After dinner and the dishes were done Loren went to his computer and Johnnie turned on the T.V. There was her favorite program on tonight. A Travelogue on Europe on PBC. Now this was an interesting show but it jarred thought. Who will take care of this Dog when I travel? So she went into the office and said to Loren, “Loren, You know I have a trip planned to Georgia soon, now who is going to take care of that Black Dog.” She refused to call him Buck!  “Oh, Johnnie you hunt for problems.” Loren spoke a bit sharper then he meant too. That stirred her temper a bit, and she said. “Now you listen to me BIG-BOY. I have carried your fishing equipment, loaded your boat and carried along your shotguns on many a trip for you. But, at my age I am not going to stay home from traveling to take care of any dog. You got that!!!” “Yes, Honey Kate. I will see to that. If we have to put him in a kennel then we will.”


With that she went back into the living room and there was that critter right up in her favorite lounge chair, all curled up asleep. Well, she  tried to scoot him over but again he was too heavy for her. He finally nudged over far enough she could sit down and he put his head in her lap and said, HMN_HMN and looked at her with those sad eyes. She scratched his head and he put that poor paw up in her hand. She gently rubbed his paw and said, “Does it hurt, Doggie?” Then she got up from the chair and got some liniment she had been rubbing on her arthritis. She gently unwound the bandages and rubbed some on his leg and paw. Then she wrapped it back up carefully. The silly dog looked up at her and seemed to smile. Well, she patted him some more. At least she got to see half her program. Then the news and then to bed. But first she went out in the garage and brought in a foam rubber egg crate mattress that Loren had brought home from his last hospital stay. She found some old blankets and fixed, “that black dog” a bed on the floor beside her bed. He did get on the bed for as long as it took her to shower and get into her pajamas. As  soon as she put one leg on the bed to get in here comes the dog. “OH  +*@% it dog, Your going to sleep in your own bed.” Well, after about four tries of that she was to exhausted to care so she got in bed and up jumps the dog and they go to sleep. 


This went on for about a week, feeding, watering, a trip to the pet store for more food. His name should be bottomless pit she declared to Loren. But, she took good care of him and it seemed each day he put more weight on that foot.


About two weeks later, she decided to go see her Granddaughter and stay a day or two. “Take the dog” Loren said, “I can’t manage him alone.” She was some amount of ticked off at that but she didn’t see any need to argue further. So she just said, “Come on Dog, and off they went. When they got to the farm the Dog seemed pretty frisky and wanted out of the car. He was happy as a kid at Christmas. She had never seen such running around and yelping at everything in sight. He didn’t seem to bother the chickens just chased them some, and the ducks hissed at him and he ran away quick. Then up come Chivona, she had been at the barn with her horse. They made friends right away. That dog didn’t seem to limp one bit when he played a game of Frisbee with Chivona.


“Now Grannie, You know Clint doesn’t like dogs in the house!” Amanda said. “I know I thought we could shut him in the grain shed tonight.” “Oh, OK” Amanda said, “that should work.” So everything was going fine. Then about dark, they were just settling down to a late snack and a cup of coffee when they heard this gosh awful noise coming from the barn. They all ran out to see. That dog had someone by the shirttail and was not about to let go. Another man was trying to move in close but the dog was making a low growling noise between his teeth and the shirt and the man was backing away. Of course Clint grabbed his pistol on the way out of the house. They all ran upon the scene and Clint yelled at the men to hold it, “RIGHT THERE.” Johnnie yelled. “BUCK, LET HIM GO.”

SHE HAD TO GO TO THE DOG AND LITERALLY TAKE THE SHIRT OUT OF HIS TEETH.  Then they called the sheriff and the two men that had been breaking into the grain shed was mighty glad to see him because they had been tied up to a tree and guarded by the dog while everyone waited for the sheriff to arrive.






October 2000






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