If Dogs Ran the World: Chapters 40 to 42

By on June 26, 2016

Chapter 40    How life has changed back at the Hodge Podge Lodge

I am staring at my bowl at dinner time.  Cook has called us all to eat; me, mama and Tex.  Now this may not seem like a big enough deal to bring up, but in our life before – before Earnest went on his round the world tour with Sofia on the SSSuperstitious, before we went on our trip to Mexico, before that hideous cat and that awful man moved in, our dinner was a real pleasure.dog-and-kibble

At home, Cook used to make hot food for us every night. Sometimes it was chicken, sometimes it was beef stew.  But it was always wonderful and always made just for us.

We would sit around Cook at the stove and watch her ladle out our portions.  She took care to be very even handed and nobody got more than anybody else.  Except Tex. And he is three times our size and we knew that was fair.

We never had any fights about food.  Cook took such good care of us, we didn’t need to fight.

We used to take turns once we had eaten everything in our bowls, of trading places.  Earnest was always the funny one.  He would go from bowl to bowl, just to make sure there wasn’t one more luscious morsel for him to have for dessert. We’d all sniff and taste in each other bowls before we went off someplace to nap.

And on our vacation to Mexico, dinner was an adventure every night.  Some nights we’d just eat table scraps from the diners in resorts.  When Baluum was with us, he’d find big catfish, and one time a delicious peccary.

Once we got to the plantation where we started the Yucatan Famous Lost and Great Dog Shelter, they made us a kind of hot stew every night.  Life was good.

But now,  now that we’re home, back sleeping in our own beds, and drinking our good water, and getting used to the fact that Earnest isn’t here, but trusting that he will come home once his round the world tour is over,  the worst difference in our lives is the food.

Cook just doesn’t care about us anymore.  She does a lot of cooking for the house, for the cat, and for that man, but for us?  All we may get now is the stray scrap she has left over and that she can sneak to us when the man isn’t looking.

Mainly, all we get now is dry kibble.  God I hate that stuff.  Why would anyone subject dogs who love you like no one else in the world to that crap is beyond me.

Half the time when she buys too big a sack of it, the bottom half of our ration goes rancid.  I’m not kidding.  Just plain spoiled. Sickening!

But we have to stay alive, so we eat it.  Tex drinks so much water day and night just to wash that junk down.  We’ve talked it over and we know the reason.  The man doesn’t approve of feeding dogs “people food”.

Note to self.  Must get rid of this man.  He is bad for Cook and he is bad for us.

And sometimes, he doesn’t even make Cook happy.  We see her crying sometimes when she thinks no one is looking. We gather around her and kiss her on the feet, and paw at her to take her mind off her troubles. Once, when she had gone to her bedroom and drawn the drapes in the middle of the day, we all got up in bed with her, just like old times.  She seemed to take great comfort in us.sad-looking-dog-with-separation-anxiety

But as evening came, our rest with Cook was disturbed. Tex moved away from her back, where he’d been stretched out to keep her warm.  I moved off her feet.  Mama moved away from the other pillow.

The order of our lives, the little things we did every day and every night, were fatally torn by the presence of this man in Cook’s bed.  It was heart breaking to all of us. But what could we do?

When we heard that door slam and we jumped down and slunk out of that room as fast as we could.  We did not want to run into that hideous man.

Mama says it’s clear what Cook’s troubles are.  Man troubles.  And there’s only one cure for that.  Get that man out of our lives. But what can we do?  We’re just dogs.




Chapter 41  Earnest and the little boy, Karl, with his baby sister, Abigail, get to know each other

Earnest was as good as his word.  He contacted us by D-Mail the very next night.

Karl was a big, rangy blond headed Swedish kid and his sister was just like him only smaller.  They just petted Earnest and petted him.  And, in fact, Abigail took a liking to Sofia and began carrying her around in her pocket.” said Earnest.

That was fun for the kid and a comfort for the mouse.  Sofia would stick her little head out of Abigail’s sleeve,  her tiny red eyes just shining.  It was plain this was a friendship that was working.

“What we learned on that voyage is that so long as grownups have something to do, they don’t much care about kids or dogs so long as they don’t make too much noise.

Earnest told us how their days were going along. “We all got along fine.  Karl threw the ball for me.  Abigail brushed Sofia’s hair so much we were afraid it might fall out.  And they told us everything about their lives, and we told them everything about ours.”

“They never knew why their family had split up, and their dad was taking them to live in a new place in the Bahamas where there mama could never find them.”

“That doesn’t sound nice,” said Sofia.  “I always wanted to know exactly where my babies were.”

“Oh you know people,” said Earnest.  “Easy come, easy go.”

We all looked at each other, sadly, taking in the ugly truth about humans.  We, of course, would never treat each other with such casual disdain.

Earnest kept us posted on the comings and goings of Karl and Abigail for several nights until the boat docked at Freeport, where the children and their dad left the ship for good.

Abigail gave Earnest the biggest hug and took Sofia out of her pocket and placed her on top of Earnest’s head – as he had asked her too.  Karl hugged Earnest so hard I thought he might explode.  And when he was done hugging that dog, he began to cry, deep, soulful weeping, but we could see that when he was done, he felt better.mouse kisses girl

“Now you be a good dog,” said Karl, to Earnest.

“He’s not a good dog,” said Abigail.  “He’s a great dog.”

Then Abigail kissed Sofia, right on the mouth. “I love you little Mouse,” she said.  “Are you sure you don’t want to come and live with me?”

Sofia shook her little head.  “Oh no,” she said. “My home is here with Earnest.  You never know when you might need to squeeze through a tight spot, and with me along,  Earnest knows he can get through anything.”

We were all sad to see them go.  If only life weren’t always about saying goodbyes.  Why couldn’t we all just live together in Cook’s kitchen, like it was in the old days?

End chapter 41





Chapter 42:  when the dogs get put into a concrete dog run in the back yard.  The end of civiliazation as we know it.  Dog run,  automatic waterer.  Hot sun,  dog igloos for dogs to sleep in.  too  horrible to even be discussed.igloo dog house


Back at the Hodge Podge, we could not even have imagined what was coming next.  That week, a big truck pulled up in the driveway and four men got out. First bad thing they did was cut the Chinaberry tree down.  Why?  We could never understand that.  It provided such a nice shady place to nap. Then they began to step off a rectangle way in the back yard and soon began to scrape the nice soft grass off.  Then they leveled and filled it in with concrete.

Before you could even believe it, they put up a big chain link fence with only one gate in or out.  They dumped three of those white plastic igloo dog houses in there,  installed an automatic watering system, and Cook unceremoniously threw us into this jail.  She didn’t even apologize and we noticed that she couldn’t look us in the eye.

Cook knew this was wrong.  But we guessed she was just trying to please the man.  What a mistake that was.

We were dumbfounded.  We’re good dogs.  Why did we have to live in this hideous jail?

Of course, we all knew the answer.  Cook, left to her own devices, would not have sent us to jail.  It was that damn man.

We had a big conflab about it.  Tex thought perhaps he should just kill the man. But Mama knew that was a bad idea.  Then they would just kill us.

If only Cook would give us another chance, we’d be the best dogs ever and be quiet and never bark and just kiss her on the hand.  Whatever it took.  Anything to get our own rightful place back in Cook’s kitchen.  That was our real home.

The summer wore on.  Cook was always in that kitchen with the man and that damned cat.  We were stuck in this concrete jail with just water and kibble to eat.

This was no way to treat good dogs.  And we are good dogs, even great dogs.  Every one of us.


We heard from Earnest regularly. The inside of the igloo made a pretty good screen for the D-mails, even though they were sort of distorted because the igloo’s walls were concave. Earnest looked like his eyes were sort of bulging out and he had a permanent smile on his face.  Even tiny little Sofia looked strange,  like her head was just a pencil eraser.

The thrill of travel had worn off fast once those children were gone.  Earnest was sinking into a depression himself.  The only thing that kept him going was Sofia.

But finally, the 48 days were about up.  The ship had made its way to all the ports, Sofia had taken all the pictures of Earnest and sent them to us by D-Mail.

We had pictures of him in the Captain’s quarters.  We had pictures of him on the bow of the ship, looking out to sea, as if he could see home if he tried hard enough.

We had pictures of him sitting beside the Captain.  In fact,  one night Sofia made a video and we saw the Captain throwing the ball for Earnest and calling him Bingo.  Now that was totally disgusting.  That Captain had never even learned his true name.dog on a ship sitting up

Surely when Earnest got home, Cook would relent, and let us out of jail too.  Then things would surely sort themselves out.  All we needed was to get our Earnest home and Sofia too.  We missed that mouse.  A lot.

For if there’s one thing we know, we’re patient.  We all just sat in that kennel and stared at the back door.  All summer long.  We knew once Earnest got home, things would change.

chapters 40- 42







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.”