The Night of Barking.

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For all the drama it creates, you’d think I have about a thousand acres in back of my house. The reality it that is a rather small plot, just over an acre, but it generates doggy drama like it’s the size of a small New England state. Early this morning, about five or so, the dogs were restless so I just opened the backdoor and released them into the wild. There’s a fence with two hot wires on it and none of the current dogs, no pun intended, seem inclined to test it.

I hear the doggie door swinging and Bud returns. Then Arco follows him, and then Wrex. I put Arco in the crate, and suddenly, I hear Lilith hammering away in the woods. Everyone heads for the door, and I go back to bed.

 

By now, the Coyotes have to realize that the Cousins are gone. Those two packed over one hundred pounds apiece and that’s a serious amount of dog. Size matters when it comes to dog fights. But Lilith is still a low slung powerful sixty-five pound Pibble with an even bigger heart. She’s backed by Tyger Linn, fifty more pounds of muscle. I doubt either of the boy mean a lot to the Coyotes; neither of them are pushing forty pounds, but there are two of them, which means at any given time you have to tangle with four dogs. Raiding over the hotwire means dodging it twice. The math is wrong for this to be Coyotes. The return isn’t worth the risk, unless they’re trying to make a statement to the naked ape who owns guns. Again, risk versus return tells me it isn’t Coyotes.

 

Arco isn’t interested at all. I tell him to lie down and he does, inside the crate, and he doesn’t lift his head or voice again. He’s about got this thing figured out, where he gets to sleep inside, and he gets petted, and there is breakfast as soon as I get up. Hunger is a terrible thing, but it lends me a great tool for training purposes, even if I am trying my very best to eliminate it. Arco would learn to deal Blackjack and light cigars if he thought he’s get fed for it. Being silent in the crate seems a very simple thing to him. Whatever is out there, it does not give him breakfast. He is not interested.

 

Lilith Anne and Tyger Linn, in point of fact, are interested. I hear them both hammering away and whatever it is has to be inside the fence and likely up in a tree. Budlore Amadeus returns and Wrex Wyatt eventually follows, but they can’t seem to stick. One again, they hurry back to the sound of Lilith’s barking.

 

I drift in and out of sleep, mostly out, listening to Lilith’s voice and wondering what she’s found. Armadillo, likely, in one of the abandoned Cousin Caverns, perhaps, or maybe there were deer just in the other side of the fence. Either way, Lilith is lending her voice to the early morning stillness and everyone who is listening, and there are many listening, know her. Sixty-five pounds in this part of the world means she’s carrying more mass than most things that hunt for a living, and they do realize that Lilith is hunting. This may have a lot to do with this display. I’m not sure.

 

Ever else can be said about him, Arco Fenney isn’t interested in leaving the house to go bark at the dark. The other dogs can come, go, bark, not bark, but he’s good, thanks, and he’s content to sit this one out, whatever this one turns out to be. He likes to stick close to me when we’re out walking, but not to the point of being a Velcro dog. He’s happy in the kennel in the corner of the room when I’m writing. Arco is all about let’s see how long this regular meals thing is going to last here before we start asserting ourselves.

 

The first few days Arco stayed in a constant state of motion, trying to sniff everything, trying to figure out where he was and what was happening to him. It was difficult to get a photo of him because he was never still. But now Arco is beginning to get his feet under him. He knows the other dogs are not going to attack him. He knows I am not going to hurt him. He knows there will be food every day, and this is a concept he enjoys. Arco will put his paws on my shoulders while I am sitting on the back steps and allow me to pet him. Allow me? He’s getting pushy about it, actually.

 

This is the second dog since March I have taken in because they were dumped at the Humane Society building. We’re teaching people bad habits by this. But Budlore Amadeus lies on my bed asleep next to Tyger Linn. Bud was strung up by the collar to the building and left to whatever fate might bring. Now Arco. Another lost soul. Another abandoned dog. Another set of eyes looking at me through the grates of the kennel, wondering if there will be more heartache and more loss.

 

I make promises. I made promises to Bud, and I make promises to Arco. I make promises to myself, about how much I’ll invest in each dog’s heart. I make promises that I won’t take in another damaged dog, I won’t pick up a hard one, I won’t take in a dog that’s been wounded in some way. But that’s all there is. That’s all of them. That’s each of them. And in some way, that’s us, too. We’re all part of the society that shifts and bends things so dogs are left to die, or left without food, without water, without decent care, because we do that to our own, too.

 

 

I can hear the sound of Arco snoring gently from across the room. It’s the deep sleep of a dog who believes, despite all the evidence, that there is a human who will take care of him.

 

I promised him I would.

 

Take Care of them,

MikeIMG_3191

Budlore Amadeus Firesmith

Wrex came back at a time I wasn’t looking to move another dog in with me. I already had two of my own and two of my sister’s dog, and Wrex would make five, which is a lot of dog. But Wrex was my first foster dog, and I allowed him to be adopted because I wanted to prove a could foster a dog, a great dog, and let him go. And it was a mistake. For four years I wished Wrex was here and even though I put a lot of faith in the young couple who adopted him, I thought this was his home.

 

Apparently, Wrex agreed. After nearly four years, Wrex was returned to the Humane Society, and, of course, I agreed to foster Wrex.

 

 

With a pack of five dogs, it wasn’t a sure thing that Wrex would stay. No how much Wrex and I thought he belonged here, there were four other dogs, and one of them, Tyger Linn, has a history of anti-social behavior. I waited a full month before I legally adopted Wrex. But he slipped right into the five position with ease and grace. The little boy gets along with everyone. Wrex Wyatt, was finally home.

 

On March the 9th, 2018, someone tied a dog to the Humane Society building in Valdosta. I didn’t hear about it until a week later, but there was no one to foster the dog, and he was scheduled for death. I saw the photo and heard the story of how Sara, one of the hardest working people in the Humane Society had to cut him down from and take him to the shelter. Sara has been with the Humane Society for years. She has seen some shit. I though Sara deserved better than to be the person who had to do this.

 

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I went to see the dog at the shelter. I had to find out of there was any way at all he could be saved. He stood in his cage and barked furiously at me. But I didn’t see aggression. I didn’t see violence. I saw a terrified dog with a broken heart.

 

The shelter agreed to keep the dog for one more day for me. I posted on FB that if no one stepped forward, I would foster this dog, The Dog Left Hanging, and that would bring me up to having a six pack, and I started calling the dog Bud. When I picked him up they offered to get an animal control officer to help me. I refused. Bud was not violent or aggressive, I told them. He was terrified and his heart was broken.

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You can see in the photo Bud is less than thrilled to be with me. But he never offered to bite me, and he never growled. When I got him home I let him have some time alone, then took him out in the yard to meet Wrex. It was like they were old friends. They chased one another in the yard, and Wrex showed Bud where the water was outside, and where the best places to pee were.

 

I let Lilith and Tyger Linn meet him next and it was a nonevent. Lilith Anne acted indifferent to him, and Tyger wasn’t aggressive towards him. I let all six dogs out into the yard at one time, and everyone was happy with everyone else. I had the six pack!

 

Of course, fate conspired against me. It was a couple of weeks before I could get Bud fixed and during that time, something very strange occurred; Lilith Anne, the Queen of all the Hickory Head Packs, started trying to play with Bud. There were other things: Bud was house trained, and he knew how to sit. He was not accustomed to being a sofa dog, but he started learning which places belonged to Lilith and Tyger. My sister took her two dogs back and that got me down to three resident dogs and Bud.

 

The sight of Lilith playing with another dog, something she had not done since Lucas died, did it. Bud would become Budlore Amadeus Firesmith.

 

In a couple of hours the adoption will be legal, and Bud will, finally, come home.

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Take Care,

Mike