Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dusty's other brother

Poor little Charlie, Dusty's littermate, had been killed by a car when he was still tiny, so Dusty was a lone dog except when he romped with Spanky next door. 

But then Dusty's breeder called and said that a third puppy from the litter needed a home. His family, she said, had small children and the young fellow was not good with them. On the other hand, since our children were older...

Of course we said yes.

So Dusty's long-lost brother, now full-grown, arrived. We were eager to see if he was as wonderful as Dusty.

He wasn't. He was snappish and sullen, and obviously had suffered through a lot of mishandling.

But we embraced him - from a distance - and made him part of the family.

Whatever Dusty's thoughts, he kept them to himself. And when evening came and he could smell delicious woodsy things on the air, he showed Sam how to go howling off into the woods in their pursuit. 

Two beagles howling in the woods is a formidable sound. We always knew where they were, but what did the suburbanites who surrounded us think was happening? Surely some poor animal was suffering...?

Indeed, later we found that the woman who lived all the way through our woods and hers and up the hill to the estate beyond had concluded just that and was contemplating sending her teen son out with a rifle to put an end to the agony of whatever poor beast was suffering so.

The dog boys couldn't be called home until they'd tired of sniffing and yodeling, but just before we went to bed we'd call them: Dusty! Sammy! and in they'd come, bolting up onto the porch and in the kitchen door, skidding across the floor, panting with hanging tongues, ready for a bowl of fresh water and a good scratch behind the ears from their beloved stay-at-home friends. 

After a few months of nightly forays, Sammy began to mellow out. He never did engage with us as Dusty did. But Dusty was exceptional, and Sammy was just a dog, and for that reason alone Dusty loved him. 

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