Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ol' Black

Ol' Black, our ancient black lab, came home late last night and he looked like a hedgehog. He was covered in mud from head to toe. For the most part, he lies around and observes the world from his throne which is a foam cushion under the kitchen table. But every now and then when the moon is right and his arthritis is not acting up, he wants out.
I'm not sure what he chases but it goes subterranean and he goes after it. I think it's an armadillo, but I can't prove it. Most of our other dogs tire easily and they head home at the slightest smell of food, but Ol' Black is slow to give up the ghost. He has that intestinal fortitude. He's not a quitter. Most of the time he comes home in the early morning hours and you can hear him collapse on the front porch letting out a slow mournful groan...."Lord, just take me," I can almost hear him say.
When he drags in, he staggers toward his throne and lies there for days. We have to slide food and water under the table to him because he is too weak to walk the ten feet to the regular feeding place. After a few days he regains his strength and he's content hang close.
We are down to five dogs. We've had as many as eleven before we had the females spayed. The last time we had a litter it became a sporting competition between Jilda and I to see which of our friends we could rook into taking a puppy. In fact we've given all of our close friends a dog at some time or the other.
But now all the females have been fixed and the males have been tutored so there are no more puppies....and they are all aging. Buddy is the youngest and he's five.
We love our dogs and it's always sad when we lose one. They get treated better than a lot of kids. So tonight I'll set a bowl of food under the table and scratch a little mud off Ol' Black's ears and hopefully he'll be back among the living by weeks' end.

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