I’ll continue the account of the dog the size of a small deer that strayed onto my brother’s place. It stayed through the following week and though it was cautious for a while, one day it finally lay down close enough for Tom to pet him. Tom made a point to check his teeth.
“I think he’s young,” Tom informed me over the phone. “His teeth are in good shape; they’re really white. He’s getting very friendly.”
Possibly whoever loved him as a puppy was overwhelmed by such a quantity of adult dog to care for. Whatever the reason for his wandering loose, nothing justified the cause for that look of abandonment we had seen on the big dog’s face that first night.
When Kathie and I returned the next weekend for a family cookout, that look was gone. Clearly he’d taken the authority to look after Tom’s place. As he strode across the lawn, his short, reddish-brown hair looked beautiful against Tom’s redwood siding, and his size fit the majestic scale of the tall trees that surround the house.
Just a week of regular eating had already made his ribs less noticeable. Tom said his outside cat had been unusually demanding all week because the dish of dry food he keeps filled for him was always empty. It was a sure bet where it was going.
“I wish you could keep him, Tom,” I said wistfully, knowing that Tom’s dog allergy would never permit it. “He looks like he belongs here.”
“Yeah, well I’m sure he thinks that, too.” Tom laughed.
My brother, Jim, was leaving to do some shopping before coming back to eat supper with us. He said he’d pick up a collar for the dog. When he opened his pick-up door, the big dog was ready to ride and tried to climb inside.
As we fussed over how friendly the dog had become, Kathie said we should call him Duncan. Already king of Tom’s castle, it was the perfect name for the dog.
Dreamer that I am, I pictured taking him for walks. A great excuse for me to exercise, I knew the novelty would wear off fast, but I asked Kathie to call her dad and find out if we could have Duncan at our house.
Over her cell phone from across the room, you could hear Mark having a fit, reminding her how tough it had been to get anyone to pay attention to our last dog. With Tom and me eliminated, Duncan’s fate lay with Jim who left Tom’s without the dog, but with plans to soon make a place for him among his other eight canines.
We put and old afghan on Tom’s patio bricks beside one wall of the house. Duncan wasted no time curling up on it. Kathie and I stayed the night, too. When I stepped out on the front patio early the next morning with a cup of coffee, Duncan was still on the afghan as though he’d never moved during the night.
I wondered if his sleep had been extra sound because he was starting to feel wanted again after his homeless ordeal. I hope Duncan never goes through that again and always has a castle to rule. I’ll just have to visit him to take that walk.
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