Tales of spot, p.1
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       Tales of Spot, p.1

           Lily Hathaway
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Tales of Spot
Tales of Spot

  A short story

  By Lily Hathaway

  All rights reserved © Lily Hathaway

  1. Spot finds a home

  It would be dark soon and she had been looking at dogs all over town since early that morning. Standing outside a dog pen behind a wooden house in a rural area near Cincinnati she thought to herself, this is not a German Shepherd dog, which is what she had thought she wanted. What she saw were half a dozen small puppies which were several weeks old which may or may not have had shepherd in them. They were too young to tell what their parents were, and no mother dog was in sight. The dog she had come to look at was much older, about three to four months, and was white mostly, with some gray speckles and one brown ear. Definitely not a shepherd. She looked more like the RCA Victor dog, Nipper, sitting and looking quizzically at the gramophone on the old vinyl record albums. This white dog came over to the fence and looked at Pam and wagged her tail, sniffing her outstretched hand. She continued to wag for just a minute, and then went and jumped up on the flat roof of a dog house inside the pen. She was trying to get up and away from the younger puppies who obviously thought, and hoped, that she was their mother. She laid her head down on her paws and looked as though she would go to sleep. Pam looked at the late November light fading in the sky to the west and thought, this is not really what I had in mind, but I promised myself that today I would get a dog. Her husband travelled a great deal of the time and she was uncomfortable being so often alone at night. She had determined that she would not go another day without a dog and all of the others she had seen had been too big, too small, too young or too old. This dog at least was a good medium size and would probably be about thirty five to forty pounds when grown. She had short hair and Pam thought, she will be cold when winter comes if she doesn’t find a good home very soon. The older woman she had spoken with on the phone told her that the dog cost ten dollars, and that she came with a 24 hour guarantee. Puzzled, Pam had asked what that meant and the woman replied that if the dog died within 24 hours, she would give her another one. Pam had never heard of a deal such as this one, but it wasn’t a bad price for a dog. As the light faded from the sky, she decided to take her. She paid the older woman and asked her where she had found the dog, but the older woman would only say that she knew of shelters and people around town who needed to find homes for puppies, so they called her when they had a dog or a litter that she might be able to sell. The old woman got the white dog out of the pen. When the younger puppies saw her again they all started yapping and crying to be fed. The older puppy looking relieved to be out of there. She hopped in the back seat of Pam’s car and sat up like she had been riding there all of her life. Now began the long trek back to the city, and to supper, and a husband, and to bed.

  Once or twice during the ride home, Pam looked back at the dog she had just bought. During the first part of the ride, she sat up in the back seat and looked around at the passing scenery, but after a few minutes she settled down and went to sleep. At least she’s pretty laid back, thought Pam. After almost an hour, they arrived at the town house in the city where she lived with her husband, and their cat, Rosie, an orange tabby who was probably the most unhappy cat in the world. Ever since they had moved to town from the farmhouse with all of it;s out buildings, hay lofts, fields, and timber stand, Rosie had been disgruntled. A business opportunity for Pam’s husband, Mark, had brought them to the city several months before from a farm on the proverbial forty acres, way out in the country in the Deep South where they had had two dogs and three cats, all of which they could not keep in a small townhouse in the city. So they had found homes for all but Rosie, who was the oldest and who had been with them the longest. Every day at their farmhouse, Rosie would eat breakfast on the big front porch and then walk leisurely out across the fields to an old hay barn, and climb up into the open loft and lie there looking down at mice and birds and snakes too, probably. In the evening she would make her way back across the field for supper and repeat the process the next day. When they moved to the city, she voiced her disappointment by meowing every few minutes, all the way from the farm to the townhouse, a trip of about five hours. Not a pitiful, sad meow, but an ugly, mad meow, almost a growl. Then daily, repeatedly, throughout the day she meowed pitifully and balled herself up on the front doorstep. If they had known she would be so unhappy, they would have left her there, but she couldn’t have stayed at the farm since no one would be there to feed her, and being an older cat, they thought it would have been hard to find a good home for her. So here she was the unhappiest cat in the world, missing her farm and the good life she had lived there.

  Pam had brought a leash to get the new pet into the house and away from the road without mishap. She put it loosely around the new puppy’s neck and said, “Come on, pup.” They went inside and shut the front door, taking the leash off as soon as the door was shut. Her husband, Mark, was in the kitchen, drying dishes. He came around the counter to look at the new dog. He started to laugh and said, “You must’ve really wanted a dog bad. Where did you find her?” Pam filled him in on her visits throughout the city that day to look at dogs and then this one at the end of a long day of searching.

  “You know when she was in the pen with the other younger dogs, they thought she was their mother and kept yapping and pawing at her and trying to nurse, so she jumped up on top of the dog house to get away from them. They couldn’t see her anymore, so they quieted down. I thought that was pretty smart,” she told him. She didn’t mention her thought that with such a short coat, the dog needed a home indoors. She had long ago learned to keep such thoughts to herself.

  Mark went back to drying the dishes, but commented, “You need to get her spayed right away”. He apparently thought that the new pup was too ugly to try to find homes for any puppies she might have, and it was true that she would never have been called pretty or even cute. One side of her face was white and the other side was brown, including a big patch over her eye and ear. It made her face look off balance. Her ears were pretty big, and stood straight up except at the very end where they flopped over. She had a kind of comical expression when she looked at you. Pam had not stopped at the grocery storeon her way home, since it had gotten so late, so the puppy had to eat people food that night. She was apparently not unhappy about that at all. Mark and Allison quickly discovered that anything thrown in the general vicinity of the puppy’s mouth was almost certain to be caught. She liked to play catch and she was good at it. They fed her some bread and some lunch meat and ate their own dinner. Mark would not allow her to watch them eat, so they ignored her until she gave up and went to lie down by the sofa. She could still keep one eye on the dinner table, in case there happened to be some food, but none was forthcoming, so soon she was asleep. Mark was impressed. “At least she’s not hyper”, he said.

  “That’s what I thought too,” Pam replied.

  Still, Mark shook his head and smiled each time he looked over at the dog. “You must have really wanted a dog, Pam,” he said, and gave her a hug and a quick kiss.

  That night when it was time to go to bed, the puppy followed Pam to her side of the bed. Pam turned to give her a pet and told her she was good dog. “You wake me up if you need to go outside, OK?” Her new puppy looked at her with her comical ears perched up on top of her head and then lay down right beside the bed. Pam woke up a couple of times during the night, and the pup was still right beside her bed, asleep. Their first night was a success.

  So began the first of many happy years of a friendship between Pam and Spot the dog. Of course, everyone who has a dog is convinced that their dog has to be the best dog in the world, or the galaxy, or the universe, and Pam was no exception. They began by walking every day up to the large city park where Pam would
let Spot off the leash to run. Pam didn’t name the dog Spot, but every one who saw her immediately said some variation of “Well hi, Spot”, once they saw the big round, black spot centered on her back like a black bulls eye on a white background. Spot it was; there was no point in trying to call her anything else. She seemed to like it and answered to it from the first. Spot was friendly to people when she noticed them at all, and would give a quick sniff to any other dogs she came across in the park on those morning romps, but Spot’s real mission in life, one that she took very seriously, was to keep the squirrels up off the ground and in the trees where they belonged. As soon as Pam would let her off the leash in areas of the park that weren’t near the road, she would run flat out, like a greyhound, which she probably was at least half greyhound from the shape of her body and her speed and total lack of wasted motion when she ran, towards any squirrel that happened to be down from their perch in the trees. There were always several squirrels on the grass up under the huge trees, oaks mostly and a few willows and some smaller ornamental trees. Spot
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