News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

June 14, 2009

The Off Season: The happy ‘tail’ of a dog named ‘Clark’

We were never quite sure where he came from, but some weeks ago a big black dog ambled sideways up our drive, his huge pink tongue hanging askew in search of a good drink of water. He promptly sacked out on the steps near my front door, and there he stayed, sleeping near our potted plants.

My wife and I both grew up with dogs, she with a hyperactive Irish setter, me with a yippy collie and an all-American mutt that could have been a mixture of any handful of breeds. But we aren’t dog people anymore; dogs need a little more attention than our cats, who are more independent and private, and in need of human companionship only on occasions of their choosing. So we weren’t interested in keeping this big, goofy orphan. As a matter of fact, we wanted to send him home as soon as possible, if he had one. We took to calling him “Dog” because we knew that as soon as we gave him a name he would be more of a permanent fixture around our place, that we would soon be going through an adoption process, and making an appointment at the vet for his shots, and buying him a rawhide chew toy. So we avoided looking straight into his big brown eyes, knowing too that if we did, we’d be hooked, and we’d be keeping him.

Despite his more endearing qualities, he had some irritating ones as well. As far as our barn cats were concerned, he was a terrorist. Not used to expelling much more energy than it takes to chase a lethargic chipmunk or swat at a butterfly, our trio of outdoor felines suddenly found themselves challenged by this furry goon every time they stepped a paw out of our barn door. They literally disappeared for a few weeks, living in our hay loft, venturing down a ladder for meals and water, paranoid, I’m sure, that we were actually going to keep the psycho who was holding them hostage.

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