Tag Archives: new life

The Saga of a Rescued Dog: Chapter Three

22 May




The Saga of a Rescued Dog

Chapter Three: The Hoosegow

by L. Stewart Marsden



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.


While bacon is indeed an incredible culinary experience, it is not without its consequences. The first being the euphoric state of mind that renders you incapable of normal reactions.

So when the mister slipped the wire loop over my head, I did not budge from engorging myself on the diminished pile of bacon strips.

And when he slowly tightened the noose, I was not distracted from licking the morsels and bacon grease from the metal bowl.

And when he gently tugged me away and into the animal shelter, I followed willingly. Maybe a growl and a snarly look at the first tug. But because the bacon was all gone, there really was nothing for us to fight over.

We walked into the waiting area and around the counter to a second door in the back of the room. That door led to the animal compound.

The compound was a long room situated perpendicular to the front of the building. A concrete aisle ran down the center of the room, and on either side were caged spaces with doors — five to a side. Nearly all the spaces were occupied by a dog, and all were barking their little heads off when the mister and I entered.

We walked down the aisle and stopped midway at the door of an empty cage. The mister opened the cage and walked in with me, then crouched down carefully.

There, there, little buddy. This is your new home for a while. And these are your companions.

I sat and wagged my tail a bit to show the mister I wasn’t going to be a threat. He slowly reached his big hand out, which I sniffed, then licked. There was bacon smell and taste on his hands.

Here’s some water, and here’s the bowl where you’ll be fed — once the bacon works through.

That’s the other thing about bacon — and dogs. It’s a consequence of eating bacon at all — but especially of eating a whole bowlful in the matter of a few minutes. If you understand what I’m saying.

So, for the next day and a half, my stomach and my bowels gave me  and the mister  a fit. But he was understanding, and happy to have his little misters clean both my cage and me following the aftermath.

My cage was a cubicle — not too small, but definitely a downsizing from the space I was used to. It was simple. Concrete wall at the back with a rectangular space left open that led to a small fenced-in yard where I could go if I chose.

The cages were also separated by cinderblock walls that went up a few feet — high enough to keep animals in adjoining cages from physical touch.

The floor of the cubicle was concrete, and cool to my underbelly when I stretched out on my belly or side. There were a lot of flies.

Paddle fans suspended from the ceiling along the aisle moved the air about, and kept a wafting breeze that would tickle the hairs on my nose, causing me to sneeze abruptly from time-to-time.

Inside the compound were the mixtures of smells: the other dogs, the wall of small cages where small animals were kept. Like cats. Yuck. And the smell of PineSol and other cleansers.

My yard was mostly dirt, with a walked out trench along the fenced closures. Some grass and dandelions grew along where the fence touched the ground. There was a line of trees a few feet behind the yards that threw late day shade over the yards on that side of the aisle. I was lucky that mine was on the west side, and didn’t get the harsh splash and heat from the morning sun.

For those first days I recuperated from my orgiastic meal. I wasn’t too aware of my surroundings so much, and not at all of my fellow companions. I only vaguely sensed them as I went in and out of nausea — hearing them talk, like dull background clatter, or getting a brief whiff from time-to-time.

Why I was where I was had faded to a dim memory, which I dipped into from time to time during my dreams.

Mister Master. His large, angry face grown incredibly large — spewing curses and harrumping his fat body like an irate gorilla.

The kicks and the lashes and the hours on end chained to the elm tree in the back yard.

The dry, rusty water bowl, neglected for days.

My own feces, piling up in the small grassy lawn — which was always tall and unkept. Flies swirling in packs, alighting on my head and ears.

Bzzzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzz.

The echoing conversation between Mister Master and the mister of the animal shelter.

Thirty days.


The vague sound of the mister, leading other misters and misses down the aisle and back, who looked in on the various animals, asking echoey questions. Stopping at my cage and asking What’s wrong with him?

Thirty days.

Euthanasia. If you don’t want your pet euthanized, better not leave him here.

Nobody will take him. May as well euthanize him now.

It’s the law.

What’s wrong with him?


I awoke, startled, hungry and afraid. It was night, and I stood on wobbly legs and slowly stepped out into the yard.

The moon was waning — yet bright enough in the sky to illumine the tall oaks that bordered the compound. I lay down in the cooling dirt and shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The conversation resurfaced slowly.


Thirty days?

What day was it?


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



Old ways, new ways

9 May




Old ways, new ways

By L. Stewart Marsden

Dear Kiddo,

I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, but since the big move to Honey Glades, I’m still unpacking and arranging my new life.

And, I hate my cell phone. The old landline was just fine. I don’t trust these new electronic gizmos. Same with the computer. The government is listening in, in case you haven’t heard.

So, don’t text me and don’t send me email. I don’t need you-know-who looking into my personal stuff.

Snail mail might be slow, but it gets to you all the same. By the way, if it looks like my letter has been opened up and resealed, would you for god’s sake let me know? Thanks.

And by the way, my old television reception is fine. A maintenance guy with the Glades came by and brought some box, which he hooked into the back of the set. I get ABC, NBC, CBS and the public stations, of which I think there are more than I could use. Cable is such a waste! Why in god’s name do you need 400 stations?

Hey, there’s also a sex channel I get! And for free! Not that I have any interest any more. You probably don’t want to hear about that, right? Too much information. TMI. See? I’m not so terribly behind.

Anyway, in my book, a handwritten letter is the best. When I was working, I always sent a handwritten note to whatever customer I had just met with. That very same day. I carried a box with Thank You! cards and pre-stamped envelopes. Jotted something simple and slipped it into the first mailbox I could find. Sometimes, right in the letter slot of the business I was visiting.

They all would mention that.

I got your card, they would say, and smile.

Remember that, Kiddo. The new ways aren’t always the best ways.

I haven’t got out to play golf yet. I don’t really know anybody, and these old geezers seem to have regular golf buddies. I think you put your name onto a waiting list at the pro shop and whenever someone kicks the bucket, they call the top person to fill the spot.

Unless you happen to sign up for a tournament and score well. Like that’s going to happen for me.

It’s like when I lived in Manhattan. God, you had to look up the obits in The Village Voice if you needed a place to live. Rent controlled is rent controlled. You do what you have to.

It’ll probably be a little time before I actually get to play. In the meantime, the driving range is fine.

By the way, I appreciate the Big Bertha driver you bought me, but the goddam club head is so big I can’t lift it! I’m going to use my old reliable driver. Accuracy is more important than length. That’s what she said!

The balls are appreciated, though. A man my age appreciates good balls! : )

So the reason I’m writing today is that when I went out on my porch this morning, I discovered a wonderful thing.

Remember the little Christmas tree your kids decorated for me last year? The one they said was a memorial to Mother?

As you know, it died. And, as you know, I insisted we take it in the move.

Oh, no — you said. It’s dead weight and what am I going to do with it?

Remember what I said?

Something will come up, and I’ll be able to use it. That’s what I said.

Remember that?

So I put it out on the porch next to the railing. It happens that I put it in the vicinity of the bird feeder you bought me. The one you filled with sunflower seeds.

That sticky, brittle dead tree looked so awful I finally pulled it out of the container and threw it away, thinking I might put some herb seeds in leftover mulch in the pot at some point.

Guess what?

This morning, as I was sweeping all of the sunflower debris that the birds leave (along with the bird poop, I might add), I looked down in the pot and what do you think I saw?

Sprouts coming out of the dirt!

Sunflower sprouts!

So, that same pot — your mother’s pot, as far as I’m concerned — the one where the tree died — has given life to something new.

Talk about your karma!

I don’t know why I’m so excited about it, I just am! I actually took a picture of it with my camera, and as soon as Walmart develops the roll, will send you a copy. I’m not even going to wait to finish the roll. There might also be a picture or two of your mother. I’ll send those, too.

And, while I’m at Walmart, I’m going to that little pet store nearby and get me a pet. I’ve been thinking about what you said — older people living longer because they have a pet.

But I don’t want a dog or a cat. Too much looking after for me!

I think I’ll invest in a nice fish.

Have a wonderful day, Kiddo. And please don’t forget me.


PS: There’s a woman at the dining room who has been making eyes at me. Imagine that! Also, did you know there’s not a cart trail to Denny’s? What’s with that?


I think this is at the beginning of summer last year, just before she took a turn for the worst. God, I miss her.

I think this is at the beginning of summer last year, just before she took a turn for the worst. God, I miss her.

I know it would be mean to say "I told you so." But, I told you so! Love, Dad

I know it would be mean to say “I told you so.”
But, I told you so!
Love, Dad

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 9 May, 2014