Tag Archives: animal cruelty

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Five

22 May


Photo by Graham R. Marsden Used by permission

Photo by Graham R. Marsden
Used by permission




The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Five: Time sure flies . . .

by L. Stewart Marsden



The two went through the door, and about an hour later, the mister emerged without our friend. The mister’s face was streaked with tears, and he turned and pinned Mangum’s picture and bio on the cork board, then quickly walked out of the compound and through the front door, letting it close by itself.

Hey, I said to the dog in the cage across the aisle from mine. What numbers are still left on my card that haven’t been crossed off?

He squinted and looked, then lowered his head and said something.

What? I can’t hear you, I said.

Six. Six days have not been marked off.




I’ve heard that for every human year on earth, a dog ages seven. I don’t know where that comes from. I’m four years old, as nearly as I can tell. But, am I really twenty-eight instead?

Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Or even when you’re not.

When the dog across the aisle said I had six days left — six days! — I called him a liar and said he was being cruel. After all, I can count on one paw how many days someone hasn’t been cruel to me.

I figured he wanted to get my goat for some reason.

Oh yeah? I barked back. You only got two days. Two freakin’ days! Do you hear me?

But I lied. He had about fifteen. He had come in after I did and knew better. But I didn’t like him. He had buggy eyes and no tail.

What dog has no tail?

Speaking of tail, mine had healed with the last two inches bent into an ell. What adopter is going to want a dog with a bent tail? Huh?

Next day Muffy got adopted. An old man and his wife saw her picture in the newspaper and came in.

Why, she’s just like my Cousin Gladys’s dog! Let’s get her, Henry, and the next time Gladys lords her dog over me, I’ll just say “Gladys, I have my own dog, and she’s every bit as good as yours.”

Muffy heard, and grinned at me. The irony wasn’t lost on me at all, and I wish I could have been there when those cousins got together again with their dogs. Or, maybe just one would have a dog. Life is truly stranger than fiction, I’ve heard.

Some human celebration was approaching — you know, the one where bad little misters tie firecrackers to dogs’ tails? Not my favorite.

But for some reason adopters started flowing into the animal shelter. I think the mister was so upset over Mangum that he went all out with the advertising. Guilt is a wondrous motivator.

And so dog after dog got adopted and left, their photos and bios going with them.

Even Damien. Yep. Damien was adopted, and the adopter was kind as kind can be and not into dog fighting.

It got to the point only me, the mutt across the aisle from me, the manx and that dodo head possum were the only animals left in the compound.

It was hot. Very hot.

And I was on my last day.

The mister strolled down the aisle in the compound several times, filling everyone’s water bowls — even dropping in pieces of ice, too.

He was a kind mister.

I kept thinking, Hey, why not take me home with you? I’ll be the best dog ever — promise!

And he would look me straight in the eyes, as though he heard my thoughts.

I’d take you home with me if I could. I really would. But the missus would move out. I’ve run through that hand, and we have six big dogs at home. I truly, truly wish I could.

I put on the saddest look I could muster. But he turned away and walked back out of the compound. I lay down on the concrete, trying to get cool. But I couldn’t help thinking about the next day.

So, I fell asleep and dreamed my regular dreams — Mister Master, punishment, the semi, Mangum walking down the aisle to the door, Muffy and Damien going out the other door. And that stupid possum and manx, staring at me from their little cages.


I awoke to the mister seeming to shout from the next room. It wasn’t an angry shout, but a YAHOO! cowboy kind of yelp.

It was late in the day, and I knew he was getting ready to close up and go home. But I could hear him, excited as all get out.

And when he came bursting through the door into the compound, he made a beeline for my cage.

This is him! This is definitely the one you want! Oh, his life before he came here was terrible — just awful! Mistreated like no animal should be!

I kept thinking — Wrong! We don’t want anyone to know about my past and about my hang-ups!

Walking into the compound, hand in hand, was a mister and his missus who grinned from ear to ear.

I think I heard the Alleluia chorus break forth from the heavens at that very moment!

They walked up to my cage, still grinning. She was crying slightly. I know I was. And probably grinning from ear to ear myself. I riveted my eyes on his, then hers, then his, then hers, remembering what Mangum had told me.

Oh — make eye contact. Be sure to do that. If you continually look away, they think you’ve got something to hide.

I had nothing to hide — that’s for sure! It was all I could do to restrain myself from jumping up on the door of my cage. Instead, my tail began to hurt it was wagging so fast!

Perhaps they would see the ell in it.

Let’s go fill out the adoption papers in the office and get everything in order.

God, I thought I’d never hear the mister say that about me!

And they walked back to the front, the misses looking back several times, smiling, and still tearing up as she went.

So there it was! This was it! Miracles of miracles — my luck was about to turn! Good-bye Mister Master! Good-bye BAD DOG! Good-bye hiding and getting hit or kicked or starved or a hundred other bad things my memory is full of.

What was that tune? Happy? Oh, yeah! HAPPYHAPPYHAPPYHAPPY ME!

Then I suddenly remembered when the mister first bent over to pick me up in the waiting room. And how Mister Master jumped into my head. And how I snapped at the mister for no reason at all.

Naw. That wouldn’t happen — couldn’t happen now, could it?

Could it?


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 22 May, 2014


The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Two

21 May



The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Two: Ain’t Nuthin’ Betterin’ Bacon

by L. Stewart Marsden


Is he up on his shots? I see he has a tag.


Except love, I thought.

Mister Master handed my leash to the other mister, grunted, and walked out of the door and out of my life. He didn’t pet me, or say good-bye, or even look at me once. He just walked out the door, got into his truck, and drove away.

What now? I thought, and watched the other mister come around the counter with my leash in hand.

He bent down to pick me up.


I heard about this scientist that did a lot of experimentation with dogs and dog behavior. Seems we animals get conditioned to respond in certain ways.

If a bell rings, for example, we run to a door and press a button. It opens, and voila — a dog treat!

In my case, I was conditioned by Mister Master — only what I do is definitely not good. When he would come and get me, and when he would stick his face near mine? Sometimes I growled and snapped at him.

He said I had a nasty temper. I say I don’t really know.

So, when the mister at the animal shelter bent down to pick me up — I dunno — Mister Master’s face flashed in front of me, and I growled and snapped at him pretty viciously. He dropped me and the leash and backed up and around the counter quickly, grabbing a long pole with a loop made of wire.

In the meantime, I headed for the front door just as a little old lady opened it from the outside. I scooted outside into the parking lot and looked around quickly to see where to hide. Just across the road from the shelter was a big field of corn that had grown maybe a couple of feet high.


Just as the mister ran through the door after me, I dashed for the field. I had one thing on my mind: that corn field.

Hey! Stop pooch! Stop! C’mere!

I heard the word C’mere, which acted like jet fuel in my veins. I just didn’t hear the semi headed down that road.

SWEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWW! went the truck, barely clipping the very end of my tail. Dang that stung! I yelped loudly and sped into the corn field, the mister running and calling after me.

In the middle of the field I found a small ditch that had standing water. I lay down in the ditch, careful to douse my hurting tail in the muddy mixture.

I could hear the mister moving off to my left in the field, calling Here doggie! C’mere, doggie! I won’t hurt you, doggie! And he would whistle over and over.

I thought why did I act that way? I knew this mister was not like Mister Master. I could tell by his eyes, and the way he looked at me — sad-like. Why did I do that?

I was too afraid to stand and move — still hurting too much. I would wait the mister out. He would give up. And then what? Where was I going to go? What was I going to do?

The sun was hot, and while I licked at the water, it was very muddy, and there were mosquitos buzzing about. I had heard mosquitos were not good for me.

A pesky fly kept buzzing about my head, and I snapped angrily at it — not sure what I would do if I caught it. What does a fly taste like, anyway? What did I care? It was getting late, and my stomach was growling. I hadn’t eaten all day. Sometimes Mister Master fed me. Sometimes he didn’t.

I lay my head down on the ground and tried to get comfortable. My tail throbbed. The voice of the mister got further and further away, and finally stopped altogether.

I fell asleep.


I was awakened by a loud screech just overhead, and jerked alert in time to see a huge owl swoop by, illumined by the light of the full moon. The owl dipped into the cornfield suddenly, and a few moments later flapped back into the sky, a small mouse twitching in its talons.

My stomach rumbled again. My tail still hurt, but not as much. And now I was really thirsty. The late afternoon heat had dried the puddle I was sleeping in — or maybe my fur soaked it up.

I shook what water and mud had clung to my back legs and body, and looked about. Then I tilted my nose into the air and began to sniff.

Something absolutely incredible wafted into my nose!

Bacon! There was bacon out there — not too far away, in fact! Mister Master had given me small pieces of bacon — back when I was a good dog. When I was a really small puppy. My teeth weren’t too sharp at the time, and I mostly gummed it — but oh, glory be! There ain’t nuthin’ like a good strip of bacon! I could just howl thinking about it!

The problem was, it was coming from the other side of the road. From the animal shelter I had run away from.

Know what? I didn’t care. It would be worth the risk to cross back over for some bacon. Besides, how’d I know there wasn’t some other animal — a raccoon or a possum or a fox or skunk — sniffing out that bacon at the very same time?

As quietly as I could, I retraced my steps back to the road. In my imagination I saw and heard the semi barrel by, brushing my fur with the wind of its passing.

But it wasn’t there.

I looked down the road — first one way and then the other. I listened to hear the sound of tires speeding over asphalt. Or to see oncoming headlights.


Carefully — but not too carefully, remembering all the other critters getting ready to congregate around that bacon — I clicked over the road, my toenails making a snappy sound. Once across, I headed for the cinderblock building.

Sure enough — in a metal bowl on the front stoop of the shelter — was a stack of bacon! And next to that, another bowl filled with water. Just sitting there! God, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

I moved in quickly, but stealthily, wary of any other animal, or that some kind of trap had been set.

Nobody and no thing. Just slices and slices of bacon stacked up high.

Oh! I dove in with unabandonment. And the taste! The aromas! The crunch of the pan-fried meat! I was inundated in ecstasy — euphoric — totally out of my mind with bliss!

As I wolfed huge bites of bacon down, at the corner of one eye I spied the mister approaching slowly, carefully from around the building with that rod with the wire loop at the end of it.

And you know what?

I did not care one iota.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 21 May, 2014