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Monday, January 16, 2012

Love of Dogs

I never told this story before to anyone. When I was little and living down south it was common for dogs to be kept outside on leashes. Dogs lived outside. Hell, dogs in my neighborhood didn't had leashes on most of the time and would roam the streets making dog friends and visiting neighbors. It wasn't a problem or anything. Wasn't even weird. Just the way things were. I often felt bad for the dogs that were kept on leashes outside. I would wonder why they couldn't roam free like the other dogs so often I'd try to befriend these chained animals.

I didn't have huge connections with all of them. One neighbor dog was very large and hyper. He often would jump on me so roughly when I approached him he would knock me over. Another dog....well he needed to be fixed because all he wanted to do was hump your leg if you got too close to him. It didn't matter when you saw him....morning, noon or night....he wanted to hump your leg.  Then there was Rug rat. That was the dogs name. That was the dogs name. Not sure why but that's what it was.

Now Rug rat used to be an inside dog. He got out shortly after the owners had a baby to the yard. He was a small dog, maybe 12lbs and I would sit with this dog as he was chained up next to his dog house and would pet him for the longest time. We were friends. He wagged his little tail every time I came over and  would always love a scratch behind his ear. I loved him and he loved me.

One day I was running around the neighborhood and this dog I never saw before started running after my friend and I. I never saw this dog before which was rare because I knew every dog in the neighborhood . This dog was mean and out to get us. His teeth were flaring and ready to bite. My friend and I ran as fast as we could. I knew we couldn't make it back to my house before this dog had us but thankfully in the distance we saw Rug Rats dog house and as always he was outside chained up. I yelled at my friend to follow me and we ran up and jumped on top of the dog house. The dog house wasn't very big. It would take nothing for this mean dog to get us. We were terrified. Rug Rat however knew what was happening and knew this mean dog was out to get us. He started barking and chasing this dog as best he could trying in vain to get him away. This dog was determined to get at my friend and I and kept circling Rug Rats dog house. I knew Rug Rat was little and no match for the mean dog. I didnt want him to get hurt so I started screaming. I saw my neighbors car pull up through the trees and started screaming for Neil. Neil came around the trees towards my frantic voice while my Mom who happen to hear us from inside my house also came through a line of trees to see what her daughter was screaming about. The two adults screamed at the dog and thankfully he ran away and was never seen again.

The adults got the dog away but really it was Rug Rat who saved us doing his best to ward off this mean dog. He was helping a friend. From that day forward I made a point to visit Rug Rat as much as I could. He knew and I knew what he did. He had saved us. I'm not sure why I thought about him after all these years but I did.  Even though his dog got betrayed by his owners being left outside like garbage, he still wanted to love and be loved. Thank you Rug Rat. I wish I could scratch behind your ears and sit with you for a while. Thanks for being a friend. 

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