He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. –Unknown
Outside of a dog, a book is probably man’s best friend, and inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. –Groucho Marx
Everyone needs a dog to adore him, and a cat to bring him back to reality.
If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around. –Will Rogers
Last week, Nathan played a pretty mean joke on me. This week, I got my revenge.
The One Where “Jack” Dies
It all started when I saw the dead dog.
It was this rusty brown color, just like Jack Daniels aka J.D, Nathan’s dog. And it was stretched out on its side in the middle of the highway. Not moving. Not breathing. Drying blood clotted around its mouth.
I got an idea.
Nathan was going to be home in less than fifteen minutes, so I would have to hurry. I turned the car around, postponing my trip to the grocery store. Back at Nathan’s house, I let myself in and called J.D to the back door. He came in willingly for a treat.
The next part gets a little crazy.
I had to find a good hiding spot. Somewhere Nathan would never look. Thinking fast, I decided on the attic. It was perfect. But J.D’s kennel would never fit up the ladder. The dog is a 70lb Pitt Bull. And the crate is sized for him.
I checked my watch. Down to ten minutes.
Disassembling the dog crate as fast I as could, I hauled it up the ladder to the attic. Putting it back together took a bit longer than it should have. I’ve never been good with that sort of thing. Finally, the crate was finished.
Phase one done.
I hurried down from the attic. J.D was waiting at the bottom with his head tilted to one side, curiously watching me.
“Come on, boy.” Despite my coaxing, the dog didn’t budge. How was I going to get him up the ladder? More treats seemed like the right solution. I went to the fridge and grabbed some more of the cookies that J.D loved. He heard the package rattle and barked excitedly.
“That’s it.” I shook the box. “Come on, boy.”
J.D followed eagerly...until we got to the ladder. The dog stopped. I climbed up, laying a cookie on every other rung. It was too much for J.D to resist. The dog climbed up behind me.
Dumping a few more cookies into his crate did the trick. The dog went inside and was totally content. I let him finish his treats before muzzling him. It was only fair. And I couldn’t have him barking when Nathan got home.
Phase two was done.
Back down the ladder, I turned off the light and shut the door. Just in time. Nathan’s key was turning the lock. Putting on the most devastatingly brave face I could manage, I took Nathan’s hand and planted a lingering kiss on his cheek. “Babe,” I started gravely, “I have to tell you something.”
Nathan was instantly worried. “My god, Reggie what happened?”
“I think it’d be best if I show you.”
“Okay. Just let me feed J.D first.” He raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Is that okay?”
“Uh…it’s about J.D.”
“What? Is he okay?” Nathan dashed to the back door and threw it open, calling his dog’s name. It was so heartbreakingly funny, I almost lost my cool right there. Taking a deep, calming breath, I walked up behind Nathan and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Reggie, where’s J.D? He’s not in the back yard.”
“I know.” I grimaced as if pained by the thought. “That’s what I need to show you.”
“Where’s my dog?” Nathan was clearly starting to panic now. “If you know where he is, just tell me.”
“Okay.” I let my shoulders sag sadly. “I was on my way here and saw a dog in the road. It looked just like J.D. But I didn’t stop because I knew J.D would be here, in his fence. But then I got here…and J.D was gone. I’m so sorry, Nate.”
Now, Nathan was getting teary eyed. It pulled at my heart strings, but I stayed strong. His lips quivered. Then he blew out a sigh and said, “Take me to him.”
I almost broke. But it was a damn good joke, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Nathan was completely silent as we drove through the neighborhood. We reached the main highway where I’d saw the dead dog. The motionless, brown form loomed larger as we approached. I slowed the car down, preparing to pull to side of the road.
Nathan’s bold front crumbled. “Oh no,” he choked out, and jumped from the car before it had completely stopped. He ran to the dog and kneeled beside it. Touching its fur lightly, Nathan looked absolutely broken.
I checked the rearview mirror for cars, imagining a Mack truck pulverizing my boyfriend into an unidentifiable meat patty as he mourned a dog that wasn’t his. And I started to chuckle.
Nathan was fumbling around the dog’s throat, checking the tags. His expression went from miserable to confusion to relief and then to confusion again. He stood up and came back to the car. “That’s not him,” he said. The relief and excitement was very plain on his face. “That’s not J.D.”
I looked Nathan square in the face…and burst out laughing.
“Reggie, where’s my dog?”
“He’s back at the house,” I managed to say, bent over the steering wheel in a fit of giggles. If it were possible to die from laughing too hard, my life would have been in serious danger.
Nathan sat quietly for a few moments. More than twice, I caught him looking at me like I was a complete psycho. Then the corner of his mouth twitched into a smile. “You’re unbelievable,” he said. “What a jerk.”
To err is human, to forgive canine. –Unknown