Alan is a salt-of-the-earth fella, whose wife just bought him a camouflaged recliner. It’s the first thing he shows off to visitors. The second thing he takes you to see is a mounted buck head the size of a Chevrolet.
Framed photographs litter his side tables. Pictures of Alan’s kids, grandchildren, weddings, baby pictures, big kills, vacations.
And one chocolate Labrador.
“This is Babe,” he said, tapping the photo. “She was THEE dog.”
If you’re a dog-person, I don’t have to explain what such a statement means. And if you’re not a dog-lover, you might as well stop reading here.
Alan went on, “I got her for hunting, but then realized, she wasn’t that kinda puppy. So, I ended up spoiling her. She rode shotgun with me, ate whatever I ate. She loved Big Macs.”
Don’t we all.
It was one spring, while Alan was installing a deer-stand in the woods, he noticed his chest felt funny. His heart raced, he felt dizzy. He fell, caught himself. Stumbled again. He lost consciousness.
Babe licked Alan’s face until he awoke. When he got up, he didn’t know where he was.
“I was bad lost,” said Alan. “Didn’t know what the hell was happening, I felt like I was dying. Babe just kept licking me, nudging me home, from behind, a few feet at a time. I really thought I was a goner.”
When he got closer, Babe alerted Alan’s wife. She rushed him to the hospital. Doctors say he was lucky to survive.
In Alan’s backyard, a wooden cross pokes out of the grass. Alan removes his ball cap whenever he stands in front of it. “Throat cancer,” he said. “She quit eating when she got old. We miss her.”
To be honest, I don’t know why people love dogs so much. After all, there’s nothing filthier than a canine. Take mine, for instance, they’ve destroyed rugs, pantries, reading glasses, sheetrock, and declared war on my backyard.
Still, humans aren’t exactly a walk in the park either. For crying out loud, just watch the evening news. People kill, cheat, and steal. And if they can’t find something good to hate, they’ll make it up. I’m not excited about where things are going, and each day it seems folks are angrier than before.
But I do believe there’s hope for this old world. And if you don’t agree, try staring into a puppy’s eyes without speaking. You’ll see something selfless in them.
Look long and hard.
This animal might just save your life.