If Dogs Ran the World: Chapter 50 to THE END

By on June 30, 2016

If Dogs Ran the World: Chapter 50

Chapter 50: The dogs wonder why some people and some dogs don’t like other dogs?

As the days passed, Cook got stronger, and we got more content. Cook put the table cloth back on. She bought us a new set of tennis balls.  She began cooking for us and we had hot food to eat every night.  Settling into our lives. The man was blessedly absent.  We didn’t know where he was. We just hoped he never came back.

We knew Earnest was on his way home.  In the afternoons , when Cook laid down on the sofa to rest, we all got under the table so that I could communicate with  Earnest and Sofia. They would fill us in on where they were, how many more days until they got home, and what presents they were bringing us from their big round-the-world trip.

“Today we landed in Vera Cruz,” said Earnest one day, sounding more excited than ever.

“So what’s in Vera Cruz?” I asked, not really that interested.

And then he told us.

“I guess I’ve just seen too much,” he said.

“What?” we asked.

“The dogs here on the dock are so thin and desperate, and they keep circling me and asking me how I got so fat.StrayDogs

I could just picture my adorable brother, Earnest, with his little short legs and his scruffy fur.

And I hardly know how to answer,” he went on. “And this afternoon one of those big wild dogs came at me and took a big bite out of my rump.  If it hadn’t been for Sofia, I know they could have killed me.”

“Oh dear,” said Mama, when I relayed the information to her.  “This is just terrible.  So what did Earnest do?”

“Sofia ran for the Captain who came out with a couple of guys and big sticks and they ran off those feral dogs “I never in my life thought I’d be so scared, and right now

all I want to do is come home.”

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2 dogs fighting

 

What happened to him was so terrible, I could hardly bear to hear it. But at least he wasn’t too badly injured. Earnest told me that he’d been picked up and taken back to the ship by one of the sailors, who took him to the dispensary, which smelled of alcohol and medicine.

The Captain and a couple of his men examined Earnest and determined that nothing had been broken. But he did have a few deep puncture wounds, so one of the men gave him a shot of something. Then they dabbed him with stingy stuff and poked into the puncture wounds with a long stick covered in yellow medicine. Earnest tried to remain calm, but it hurt something awful.

“They took me to the Officer’s mess and fed me,” he said. “but I have to tell you,  my appetite is gone,”

After he had eaten, the Captain’s man took him to the Captain’s quarters and put him in his nice little dog bed.

He told us me he’d had a restless sleep. He kept seeing those flashing teeth and he didn’t know if he’d ever get that nightmare out of his head.

He said he’d looked deeply into the Captain’s eyes and told him he wanted to go home. The Captain, who was a kind man, seemed to understand, He held Earnest on his lap and soothed him and soothed him and soothed him.

Later, the Captain put on his pajamas and the two of them got into his bed to sleep. He even let Earnest get under the covers. But by the next morning, Earnest said, every place on his body was so sore he could barely walk.  He wondered if he’d even be able to get off the ship when they got to Houston.

But then, he told me, Sofia came in and gave him some of her special Mouse Medicine, and that made him feel a lot better.

“Well at least,” Earnest said, “we only have one more stop, and we don’t have to get off. So I can rest up, and when we dock in Houston,  Sofia and I will get home as fast as we can.”

“But will you be able to walk?” Mama asked Earnest.

“To get home, I’ll walk.  You’ll see me before you know it.”

****

 

 

Chapter 51: How some things have changed

Since our adorable Cook came home from the hospital, some things have changed.  We can’t go for rides in the car because Cook says the doctors won’t let her drive yet. And she could no longer take us for long rambles in the county park where we could run off-leash and sniff, and chase, and scent, and generally enjoy ourselves.

Naturally, my brother Earnest and I would run together, practically shoulder to shoulder, drinking in the smells and sights as we went deeper and deeper into the woods.  Tex would be ahead of us, breaking trail, checking things out.

I know that Mama sometimes wondered how the four of us had wound up staying together for life. Pups are supposed to grow up and move out of their mother’s bed and into their own places. Sure she was upset during her years at the breeder’s farm having all her babies taken away. But once she’d escaped and had us, her change of life babies, she realized that you had to be careful what you wished for. Nothing had prepared her for living with two big strapping sons who romped and played and tore all over the yard making up games of fetch and chase and everything else a good dog can think of.

Not that she isn’t a good mother.  As I’ve explained before, she still gives us a good bath every day, washing our ears, our faces, our bellies and our butts. And we love it.  All three of us. It’s our family ritual and as dependable as rain.dogs groom each other

We are a loving family, but in some ways, I feel as if I am more like my mother than my brother is—and I don’t just mean in looks, although Earnest does take after our dad. Mama and I are definitely deeply connected.

We both have rough coats, good minds, and great manners.  But, more to the point, we both need time to ourselves to think our own thoughts.

I have told her I want to write stories, and even though she fusses at me, I know she gets it.

Like me, she claims her own space.  I spend at least an hour each night under the dining room table, thinking deep thoughts and composing my stories.  What I want to do for Mama and Earnest and all the other dogs I know is to tell their stories so they can claim the place in the world that they deserve.

One thing I’m sure of is that I would do anything to preserve our family.  Since Cook had her heart attack and had to stay in the hospital, we dogs have really gotten closer.

While she was gone, that horrible man kept threatening to send us away to different places. He thought he could break up our family while Cook was gone

But one thing we know for sure when we look into Cook’s eyes is that nothing, do you hear me, nothing, will ever split our family apart. We will stay here with Cook forever.

We are spending a lot of time discussing among ourselves how we can show Cook what a bad human that man is.

For her sake, for our sake, for the sake of all dogs everywhere who have been tossed aside when it got inconvenient for their people to keep them, we will do everything within our dog power to keep our family whole.

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Chapter 52:  We begin taking Cook for walks

“So, the doctor says I need to start getting some exercise,” Cook told us one morning while she dished out the most delicious oatmeal you ever tasted.

“He wants me to start walking.  Around the block at first, then further.  Who wants to go along to be my dog-nurse?”

As you might have guessed, all three of us wanted to go.  “I’ll go,” I said.  “I’ll go.”

Cook looked from Mama to Tex.

“I think I can only manage two of you at a time, so we’ll start out with you two rascals, then we’ll switch and take you.”

Tex didn’t really mind being left at home.  He just turned  and went into the bedroom, climbed into the middle of the bed, and fell fast asleep.

Of course,+ Mama wanted to go every time, but fair’s fair, so she agreed to take turns.

After Cook and I had washed off the breakfast dishes, first with licks, then by putting them into the dishwasher, she began leashing us up.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I was to be helping Cook get stronger. And Ginger had puffed out her chest so far you would have thought she was the President of the United States.

“Now we’re gonna have to go slow,” Cook said.  “Remember that I just got out of the hospital.”

Mama and I looked at each other.  We would kill anyone who did anything to harm our Cook, and we certainly were going to do nothing ourselves.

On that whole entire walk we did not strain at the leash, we did not bark at a cat, we ignored the noisy birds in the trees. We were walking our Cook and helping her get well. That was our task.

Cook praised us and praised us and told us we were her great dogs.  Over and over she said it.  How proud she was of us.

But we knew that.

When we got to the third corner we looked across the street and there were a little boy and girl walking a big lunk of a dog, really even bigger than they were.

I recognized him first.  “Raul?” I asked.  “Is that you?”girl walks a dog

Raul had been one of the first Merida rescue dogs we had placed. But what were the odds that he would wind up in our own neighborhood?

And those kids were so proud of that dog.  So proud.

“We love our brand new dog. He came to us all the way from Mexico,” they told Cook.

“Imagine that!” said Cook.  “How did that happen?”

“We picked him out ourselves on the internet, and we got just exactly the dog we wanted, and his name is Raul.”

Mama and I exchanged glances.  This was one of those moments when we wished we could explain to Cook and to these children that we’d all been together at the Yucatan Great Dogs Rescue together.

But some things are better left unsaid.

We gave Raul a big wink and we all stood on our hind legs and saluted each other, and then they were gone.

The dappled sunshine seemed brighter than ever. One of our rescues had landed in our very own neighborhood.  And we had just met a couple nice children who we knew would love that dog in his new forever home, forever. Now, if Earnest and Sofia just came home, everything would be perfect.

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Chapter 53: A homecoming and a leave-taking

In all the activity and confusion when the ship docked in Houston, the Captain wasn’t paying much attention to Earnest. He and Sofia just walked off that ship without anyone noticing.  Then they began the long walk home.  Using Earnest’s great nose and his failsafe built-in GPS, they eventually found their way to Shakespeare Street and then onto their own front porch.earnest smiling

“Not another one,” said the man as he opened the front door.  He didn’t look very friendly to Earnest or Sofia, who instantly ducked out of sight.

Earnest whizzed right past that man and into the arms of Cook, who couldn’t stop hugging him. He sat on the floor and Earnest covered her with licks, kisses, and hugs.

When she thought the coast was clear, Sofia crept into the kitchen and began drinking cream out of the cat’s dish.

It wasn’t long before that hideous cat pounced from the top of the linen closet to the kitchen floor and made a dash for the mouse.

Not that the cat was any match for Earnest, who was on top of him in two bounds, holding him in his super-strong ground-hunting dog’s jaws.  The cat looked stunned.  His eyes were popping out.  He was afraid to move for fear that Earnest would do him in.

But just then the man came sauntering in and opened the back door. Earnest turned the cat loose, and the cat ran for his life—out into the backyard, over the fence, and away. Earnest could hear the rest of us in the dog run, yap yap yapping, so happy to see him, so glad to know he was home.

Cook came running out and opened the gate.  The three of us came rushing out, practically knocking Earnest down in our joy. We jumped, we turned, we barked, we kissed him.  Never in the history of dogdom has there been a more joyous reunion.

Meanwhile, the man was standing at the back door, hands on his hips.

“You’d better get them back in that dog run l before they bite someone.” He said to Cook.

“I’ve got a better idea than that,” said Cook. “How about you don’t let the screen door hit your backside on your way out. This is my family.

“You don’t like dogs?  You don’t belong here.”

The man looked stunned. But, he collected himself, turned on his heel, and walked out.

We never, thanks be to heaven, saw him again.  Nor did we ever have to spend one more night or day in that concrete dog jail they call a dog run.

AHH. The reunion we had.  Cook made us a fantastic dinner.  She served it up in our matching red bowls.  She sat at the kitchen table and just watched us eat. She was smiling all over. Everybody had seconds.  We were all wagging our tails, looking back and forth from Cook to Earnest.

We couldn’t believe it was actually true that our family was finally together again.

Then Cook began examining Earnest’s feet.  Like Mama, he had worn his toenails down to little nubs.  It was clear he had walked a long way to get home.

Then Cook noticed the fancy collar he had on.

“Now where in the world did you get that?” she asked.

“You’d never believe me if I told you,” Earnest said, looking up into her face with pure love in his eyes, wagging his whole body and panting until his tongue hung halfway to the floor.

“Doesn’t matter.  We’re all here together now,” she said. “And you’re all my Great Dogs.”

That night, we all climbed into Cook’s bed.  Tex snuggled up against her back, Earnest against her belly.  Ginger crept up in the middle until she had her head on the other pillow.dogs in bed with cook

Me? After I saw they were all safe, I went down and crawled under the dining room table.  I had a lot to think about, and there was that story I needed to tell. The Story of My Life So Far, by Scrappy Barker.  That would be the title.

“There’s no place like home,” I said to myself.

And just about that time, little Sofia popped up, looking at me with her bright red eyes.  “You’ll never believe what I just heard,” she said.

I raised my head. I could hardly wait to hear.

THE END  ****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”