My dog Sam, Part 4

Sam really wasn’t that much to look at, just some mid-sized mongrel dog whose tail slightly bowed in the back. He was mostly white with several large brown spots and touches of black on his nose; medium haired, flop eared and unassuming in stature… of a Heinz 57 variety, might have had some bird dog in his distant genes.

I came home from school one afternoon and my mom had Sam all moved in. I walked up to the front porch and spied him chained to a nearby tree, with an old pan of dog food and a bowl of water.  Neither of them looked to be touched by our new temporary family member.  Sam just laid there on his haunches, the bottom of his head resting squarely on the ground. He looked up at me, obviously disinterested in anything I did.

“How ya doin’, boy?” I asked walking up towards him, Sam didn’t move but offered a low growl. I stopped and looked at him.  I tried to sound sweeter, crouched down and offered my hand. “What’s a matter, boy? Don’t ya like your new home?” Sam didn’t flinch, only growled again. “Great,” I thought, standing back up,” just what we needed… some mixed breed with an attitude.”

“Suit yourself.”

I walked around and went inside the house. Mom asked if I’d seen the dog and I grunted a response. She started going on about how smart he was but I didn’t stick around to hear the rest. I made a beeline for the T.V. and plopped myself down. After a few minutes I went to a window and looked outside, Sam’s back was to me. He hadn’t moved an inch.

Later that afternoon I went back outside. Sam’s position was virtually unchanged, the food and water still appeared untouched.  I tried a new approach. I stepped off the porch allowing the screen door to close behind me and then sat down on the steps. Sam was facing off to my right but I caught his eyes roll in my direction momentarily.

“How ya doin’, boy?” Nothing. “Hey, hey Sam! how ya doin’ boy?” Nothing. Sam was a statue, I picked up a twig and tossed it at him. Sam’s ear closest to where the twig struck perked up but dropped immediately. “Hey Sam! c’mon boy! here Sam! c’mon, c’mon Sam!” It was almost as if Sam was in mourning.  I whistled and began patting my leg.  The only response I got from him was a low growl similar to what I heard before. I started to look around for another twig to throw at him.  I whistled again, “c’mon, boy!” Just then I noticed some motion out in our yard and saw Frankie moving about.  He was heading in our direction, perhaps having heard me whistle and call to Sam.

It wasn’t uncommon for Frankie to do his rounds in the early evening. Usually he had another dog or two to accompany him, and they frolicked through the neighborhood oblivious to fence or boundary. But this night he was alone. Frankie came within a few feet of us and stopped, like he just realized I was there and then he spotted Sam.

Frankie let out a quick, short bark and watched for Sam’s reaction, which was nil. Emboldened, Frankie came closer and started sniffing the ground. Sam’s eyes rolled back over towards me but he did not move or utter a sound. Frankie snorted and came closer. Sam could have jumped up and taken a bite out of him in a second but he didn’t move, he lay perfectly still and only watched Frankie. I sat there both mortified and dumbfounded. Frankie practically pranced around in front of Sam, sniffing the ground and snorting.

Finally he made it to the base of the tree Sam was chained to, hiked up his stub and peed. He looked up as if to challenge me, but all I could do was watch him. Dropping his leg, Frankie went over to Sam’s pan of dog food and scarfed it all down in rapid gulps. He lapped at the water bowl, turned to look at me again then stepped in the bowl, trying to knock it over and splashing water with the effort. Frankie stood and stared at me for several more moments, then turned and moved a few feet away. He started to whirl around, like he was chasing his tail without a care in the world.  Then Frankie ran back towards the main road, leaving me to ponder what had just happened.

Finally, Sam raised his head to turn and look at me.

“Perfect.” I growled at him.  “Just what we need here, some chicken shit dog.”  I got up and went inside.

With winter in full force, mom would have me put Sam on the front porch to keep the wind off of him.  Iowa winters can be brutal sometimes.  They have this thing called wind chill.  The actual temperature might be 10-15 degrees below zero but the blowing wind made it feel like 40 below, thus “wind chill factor.”  Once Sam was on the porch the chain had to be removed so the only thing keeping him in was the screen door, which had a hook and eye lock.  Sam repeatedly tried to push the door open and escape those first few nights, but the base of the screen door had a wood panel in it so he couldn’t push through the screen and the lock seemed to hold well enough.  Eventually Sam would tire and lay down on the blanket we provided for him.

But early on my mom decided that Sam should be brought inside.  Although he was out of the wind, there was virtually no insulation on the porch and the upper level screen just allowed the cold to saturate the small area like an ice box.  Sam would lay trembling forlornly into the night.  So if the mercury dropped below freezing, my soft hearted mother would tell me to let him in.

With everyone else sleeping upstairs. I would be alone downstairs on the hide-a-bed and Sam was designated to the floor.  But right away the first night he was inside Sam jumped on my bed and began humping me as soon as the light went out.  Each time I would kick him off and within minutes he’d be back on, amorously attached to my leg.  Finally my kicking and punching would convince him that the feeling wasn’t mutual and he’d calm down and go to sleep.

We had Sam a couple of weeks and it seemed as if he would never come around to accepting us.  Each day I’d chain him to that tree as I headed off to school and in the afternoon I’d come home to a mutt that refused to be my pet.  And usually at night Sam would be brought inside. 

One night I had enough.  The light went off and Sam began his ritual of jumping up on my bed with lovin’ on his mind.  I was tired of this dog by then.  Tired of him not responding to me and moping around like some love sick puppy.  I got out of bed and put him outside on the frigid porch.  Sam looked up at me and began his trembling but I wasn’t moved with any pity,  I had had it with this animal.  I went over to the screen, detached the spring that automatically pulled the door closed and lifted the hook off it’s hitch.

“There, you horny bastard, nothing holdin’ you back now.”

I went back inside and closed the front door. 

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4 Responses to “My dog Sam, Part 4”

  1. Cyndi Says:

    I didn’t remember all this, but then I was one of the ones that went upstairs to sleep and was, therefore, oblivious to it all. I remembered something else about him, but I’ll email it to you in case you want to use it in your story.

    Oh how this all takes me back, like you said, who would have ever thought that we’d look back on those days fondly–in the good old days when times were bad.

  2. Cyndi Says:

    I’m ready for Part V now.

  3. chrisfiore5 Says:

    hey cyndi,

    yeah, we all have our own fond memories of that dog…

    I’d appreciate the input.

    you must really be ready for part VII now.

    ;-

  4. chrisfiore5 Says:

    😉

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