A Four-Legged Friend… One Out of Twelve

He never grew into his feet. – Poor, old guy looks ridiculous, & walks ridiculously. We have known one another just over three weeks.

(I can’t even remember his name!)

I just call him the Poor Old Guy. And he is not the only dog with a nickname. A canned-ham-looking little ankle biter I’ve dubbed: Dog That’s Not Ours’ follows me around. Which, from what I have been told, he really is NOT our dog. We just feed him, take him to the vet – pay the vet bill, & he sleeps here. But he’s not Our dog.

Poor Old Guy: he might be the oldest dog here, on Old Mill Acres Farm, the North Carolina compound I live on. There are more than 12 dogs, here. The Old Guy is, secretively, my favorite. But I can’t let Ms. Sage know that. She was the dog that was deemed mine before I even arrived on the farm from Cleveland, OH.

And most of the time, Ms. Sage is the dog that makes herself known to me the most. Jumping up on my lap while I’m writing, putting her front paws on my chest to pound some attention into me, and we dance around like fools. Her, standing on her hind quarters, as I move us around in circles.

Me & Ms. Sage

He, Old Guy, has a bed in front of the electric fireplace. My Special Lady Friend does not like that I sneak him in here at night. At night, when I’m writing, I enjoy the company. Even if he does smell like a damp rat that slept in a pile of dirty gym clothes, I enjoy his presence. Besides, I know he is hurting. His bones & joints ache. He takes medication for it. It has to be hidden from him in his soft food.

And I know the feeling.

I’m getting old, too. And my bones & joints & nerve endings hurt, as well.

My Lady Friend does not like him in the house at night because of a weak bladder. I’m awake, though. If he needs to get out, I’m sure I’m fast enough to get him out the door in time.

I don’t think the Poor Old Guy is a pure-bred black Labrador. His coat is too long, with finer fur than I remember a labs coat being.

See: I think the reason this old dog is my favorite has to do with fact my childhood dog was a big black lab. His name was Thunder. He originally belonged to my Uncle Terry, who lived next door to me & my family.

After my uncle left Ohio for Pennsylvania, he left Thunder behind. And the dog just kind of adopted me as one of his kids. He had my cousins for a while; all three of them girls.

Me, being a boy, roamed around the properties surrounding my house more. Spending a good deal of time out in the woods. Thunder followed. He went fishing with me. I took him camping.

And then he died.

My father had to put him down.

I don’t remember the details of what happened.

I know I was 12.

I know I was sad when he was gone.

I never really wanted another dog after that. Especially a bigger dog.

It’s been over 20 years since Thunder. And now, I live on a farm. There are over 12 dogs on Our property. One night, that’s how many I counted during their dinner time: 12 brutes, almost all of them ranging in the “bigger” dog category.

There are times that I like them.

But I don’t like to admit it. I care about them, & I know they can’t help but be what they are: DOGS. Oddly enough, I find them more agreeable than most of the people I have been around these past six years.

Each one of them has their own personality. All of them need assistance in some way or another.

And one big rule of the house is, especially with the holiday season of gift-giving is so popular: NOTHING THAT CAN BREED CANNOT BE GIVEN AS A GIFT! NO MORE PETS!

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