‘Man’s Best Friend Is His Dog, And A Boy’s First Love’
The first time I saw him he was standing beside the narrow country road which ran by my home. I was riding on the old yellow school bus on my way from home from school. The nearest house was a mile away so I knew he had been dumped there by someone. He looked so lost and lonesome that without a thought I jumped out of my seat yelling yelling for the driver to stop! The driver payed no mind but to yell back, “You don’t need that mutt”.
The Rest of the way home all I could think of warm the small fuzzy puppy back there alone.
As soon as I got off the bus at my home I struggled up on a ten speed bicycle much too tall for my short legs which belonged to an older brother. As fast as I could I peddled back to the place I had seen him.
When I arrived there was nothing to see but the knee high grass blowing in the soft autumn breeze. Frantically I called, “Here puppy, here puppy”.
Though I continued to call for several minuets there was no sight of him.
Just as I was turning to leave a yelping bundle of fuzzy black and white energy came bouncing towards me. At every leap he would pop into sight above the top of the grass only to sink from sight for another leap.
Rushing to meet each other we collided together in the grass. I held him close as he continued to yelp and to lick my face.
I named him Bouncer.
I discovered I could not ride the bike and carry him also, so we came home with me carrying him in one arm and pushing the bike with the other.
Upon arriving home we met up with my brother three years older than me who was shocked to see me carrying what he mistook for a skunk.
My parents told me I could not keep him as we already had too many dogs. But my constant pleadings and the natural reaction of everyone to the affectionate puppy ensured him a place in our lives.
My mother would not allow pets inside our home but on many a cold winter night unknown to her he shared my bed, making his escape before being detected in the morning.
Living out in the country, the only other kids around were my two older brothers still at home and they had no use for a younger kid hanging around with them, so Bouncer became my true friend and constant companion roaming the pastures, woods and the river which ran close to our home. I was never without a companion to share my adventures as I enjoyed a young kids wonders of Nature.
There were bad times as well like the time another dog came and taught him the art of killing my parents chickens.
In the world of country folks who depends on chickens for food and eggs, a dog who kills them often faces a death sentence.
Knowing this I took the chickens he killed and whipped him with them. He never killed another chicken so he was pardoned.
As I grew older I spent less time at home, more time working odd jobs, attending school activities and playing at new games which held a different attraction. I still found time however to trek the woods and Bouncer was always ready to come with me.
When I graduated high school I left home the next day try my wings.
Bouncer stayed behind as where I was going and just getting started I could not take him with me. Working in cities I knew Bouncer was a country dog used to roaming around could never be happy locked up in a small yard,
I traveled home for visits almost every month and always the first to great me when I arrived would be my old friend Bouncer. He was always ready to take a walk out in the woods with me when I was able to make it home.
Then came the day at a family reunion at an uncles home my father told me, “Son I have bad news, Bouncer has been run over”.
He had been chasing something across the road when a pick up hit him. The man driving the truck had stopped, but there was nothing he or anyone else could do, he was gone.
Turning away to hide my tears I mumbled at least this way he would not suffer from old age. It was all I could think of to say.
Later the significance of him being gone hit me and part of me seemed to die with him. That night I wept unashamed thinking of him.
It is said time heals wounds and I have found it to be so. Remembering him has passed that painful stage when I struggled to keep from thinking of him as to do so brought such pain and sorrow.
Sometimes unbidden at an unexpected moment he comes to me in my thoughts.
In my minds eye I see a boy and his dog. They romp and roam around the country side, happy and young in a world without limits or end.
As long as I live, so will he in my heart.
These two shall forever together share adventures and love, a boy and his dog.
The Ole Dog!