My dog, by Al Booth


(The following was written for one of our church’s writing groups.) 

When it became time to begin putting down on paper those thoughts that had been occupying my mind ever since I heard about this writing group, I found myself suddenly stumped.

Then I looked down and saw two sad eyes staring back at me. It was my dog.

Now, my dog looks like a dog, smells like a dog, acts like a dog and does dog stuff. So I guess that makes him a pretty good dog. As a person, however, he sucks; he looks like a dog, smells like a dog, acts like a dog and does dog stuff — probably a lot like some people we all know.

It is important, however, to keep the two species separate. I like my dog a lot better than I like some people, and some people like my dog a lot better than they like me. Sort of a status quo, which I am more than willing to accept.

Unlike my cat whose been with me for 17 years, my dog is pretty new — not quite a year and a half. When we first met, he was a sad little five month puppy with a badly broken leg and no place to call home. Since then he has become my hero. “Bogey”, so named because of his sad-looking Humphrey Bogart eyes.

I had barely become accustomed to life at Camp “AlandGail” when I became a very sick man. Repercussions from a heart attack a year before had left me literally breathless. Weak, depressed and unable to continue working I had one foot in the basket case.

Bogey would consistently lift me out of my mental basement simply by needing me. He needed to be walked, he needed to be fed, he needed to be laughed at when he did silly puppy things. He was the straw that mended the camel’s back. Having Bogey in my life forced me to stop wallowing in self-pity and begin embracing a new life style.  After several months of testing, diagnosing and finally surgical procedures I was well enough to begin walking.  As my endurance increased so did my outlook on life. I re-learned the forgotten art of smiling and saying “good morning” to passersby. Those things I had taken for granted for almost fifty years became new again. Flowers, grass, rain, birds, even bugs and pricker bushes became targets for contemplation.

God works in mysterious ways. It’s not the first time he has given me extraordinary things. By dog does extraordinary things, but all he wants from me is to love him, sort of like someone else I know.

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