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Ghost Dog

I’ve never been one to believe in apparitions, mystical beings, signs from the universe or Karma (unless she visits someone who is a veritable boil on the buttocks of the Earth.)  Then, I believe.

Today was just another ordinary day.  It began with the usual chores.  I mean chores like making the bed and actually getting dressed.

It was rainy and cold…the kind of cold that cuts through you like a knife, despite the thermometer lying that it was a balmy 54°.

After exhausting myself by putting on my socks and shoes, I sometimes indulge in grabbing my sustenance (Boost) and sitting out on the hard concrete steps on the side of my house.  I look at the sky that is exactly the color of my house and then affix my gaze to what’s left of a tree, directly in my sight.

That tree had to have been five hundred years old.  Most of the top is gone and I have often wondered why the trunk was left standing.  I mean…it’s only the size of a small country.

After my first sip of Boost and my first whimper about it being “cold outside,” a dog came through the bushes from the house next door.  My first reaction was to sternly say, “Go away!”

It hesitated for a second and then turned and did exactly as ordered.  A few seconds later, the dog returned.  I don’t really speak dog but in my kindest bark, I said, “go on back home.”

It paid about as much attention to me as my children did when they were young…and teenagers…and young adults…and older adults.  I suspected for a second that the dog might be one of them and my eyesight was really failing me.

I finally allowed the dog to get closer and discovered that it was a she, and was an “older she.”  I think she might be a pit-bull (Yikes) but I really don’t know enough about dogs to be certain.  She is obviously “with pups” and I mean she must be carrying five-hundred thousand of those little critters.

I gave her a bowl of water, but I think she wanted food.  She was so thin and frail and I could see her ribs.  She was trying to eat grass, or maybe she was looking for grub worms or the bones of a body that had been buried incognito, many moons ago.

Now…you all can imagine what my refrigerator looks like.  Yes, it has a mountainous amount of Boost, but I think I may have a bottle of mustard in the door.

I got an old towel and put it down for her to sit on but she only sat there for a minute.  I came back in and she tried to follow me into the house. Aw.

I opened my refrigerator door again, looking for a pot roast or chicken that maybe in my old age I had forgotten about, but alas, old mother Hubbard’s cupboard, uh, refrigerator was bare.

Suddenly, in the back of the top shelf, I spied a pack of bologna.  I remember getting it.  A few weeks back, I had a hankering for a fried bologna sandwich.

I never had one of course.  That would require me turning on the stove, getting out a frying pan and actually standing there until it had the much coveted black edges that I love.

I took out a few slices and gave them to her.  She scarfed them down like she hadn’t had anything to eat in weeks.  She almost took my hand with it.

I’m not a dog person, but I can look in their eyes and tell when they’re sad or lonesome.  This girl was one of the saddest dogs I have ever seen.  I don’t know how long it had been since she had felt the warmth of a human hand, but she rested her head on my knee while I petted her, and never moved.

I told her that I was sorry I couldn’t spend the rest of the day, sitting outside in the cold with her.  It was like she understood.  She got up and started walking down the little brick pathway leading to my driveway.

When she got to the other side, she turned around and looked at me.  I told her that it was okay.  I was sure her owners were looking for her.

She walked behind that huge tree and I waited to see where she would go. After a few minutes, I walked over.  I thought maybe she was laying down, resting, or Heaven forbid…giving birth.

When I got to the tree, she wasn’t there.

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