It was 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and I was dreaming about an air horn. Or was it a train whistle? No, I think it was a bomb. Suddenly I dreamed the roof was crashing down on me, and I was jarred awake. Someone was trying to beat down the front door!
I willed my brain awake and stumbled across the bedroom for some modest apparel. I walked down the hall and peeked through the window. It was my Amish neighbor. Opening the door, I greeted him in a cheerful I have been up a long time manner.
“Do you have a big, white, long-haired, shaggy dog?” he inquired.
I thought for a moment through the fog. Big—white—dog. Suddenly a light came on. “Ah, yes, it is my brother’s dog. I decided to let him loose the other day, and he did not return.”
“The dog is at our place. He killed our beagle and somehow got tangled in the chain. We tried to get to him, but he growls at us. We cannot get close to him. I don’t know how we are going to get the beagle away and buried.
“We are leaving early to go to a church service a distance away and that is why I am up this early,” he apologized.
“I’ll come over,” I told him. With a satisfied smile he left. I soon followed.
When I got to his house, I stood in line with my neighbor and his children and gazed upon the scene. The big dog was lying beside the limp beagle. We edged closer to the dog. He showed his white teeth and snarled. We stopped the approach. I took a few more steps. He showed me more of his very big teeth. We soon realized that we were on enemy territory. Someone had to come up with a plan.
I never trusted the dog. Every time I went to visit my brother, the dog would try to sneak up on me. My brother would tell me that if I ignored the dog, he would leave me alone. Everything went well until one day we went to visit my brother and did not find the family at home. The dog came creeping around the house, snarling. Edging to the barn, I found a pitchfork. Coming out of the barn with lance in hand, I barreled toward the dog like an arrow out of a bow. The dog stood his ground. I ran straight toward him. He braced himself, showing me that he had teeth. I kept going. At the last minute, the dog turned and ran for the house. I followed like a race horse bent on his first win. The dog kicked it in high gear. High gear did not work for me. I lost him. That dog had it in for me from that time on. It really was a foolish thing to do, since I am not sure what I would have done if I would have caught up to him.
When my brother moved out of state, he asked me to care for the dog until he could pick him up. The dog and I had a mutual mistrust of each other. I fed him and got out of his way. It took a lot of nerve to finally edge my way to his collar to let him loose. When the dog was free from his chain, he sniffed a couple bushes and took off for the woods. That was the last I saw of him, until now, when he was lying beside a dead beagle, snarling at me.
“We have to get the beagle away and buried. I don’t know how to get the dog away unless we shoot him,” my neighbor intoned. I did not want him to shoot my brother’s dog. I don’t like guns, and I don’t like dead things. I had received orders to attend to the dog, which meant feed and shelter him, not kill him. But what else could we do.
I finally consented to the evil deed. My neighbor’s son ran to the house for his big gun. As I watched him go, I thought I detected a little too much eagerness to get that gun.
When Eager came back he held the gun on the dog while Eager Junior held a huge spotlight on the target. I did not think I wanted to watch this. I also did not want to tell my brother that we had exterminated his dog. I looked away. The gun roared, and I had to look. The dog was kicking in the dust. When we were assured that the dog was dead, we walked up to pull him away from the beagle.
We were almost to the dog, when suddenly the beagle lifted his head and looked at us! He took one glance at the dead dog and then rose to meet us. In shock, I gazed at my brother’s graveyard-dead dog for a long time. I tore my gaze away and looked at my neighbor’s living dog. He looked much better than my brother’s dead dog even if we had not been the best of friends.
I wondered which one I would look like once I told my brother that we had exterminated his dog!