Those Doggone Dogs: A Tribute in Prose and Poetry to Our Canine Friends
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by Jean Marie Stine
Description: For Everyone Who Loves Dogs! This collection pays tribute in story and verse to our four-footed canine friends--those doggone dogs. You will find every kind of dog: loyal and devoted dogs, honest to a fault dogs, brave dogs, trouble-prone dogs, hungry dogs, bad dogs, misunderstood dogs, understanding dogs, comforting dogs, and many more. Among the stories, verse, dogs, and writers represented in this one of a kind collection are: Albert Payson Terhune and Bruce, Richard Harding Davis with the story of "The Bar Sinister," so good it has been made into a movie twice! Stanton Coblentz and his memorable poem, "Heritage," Dorthy Lundt and her touching account of "Dikkon's Dog" and the fate it meets at a remote army outpost, Bret Harte's droll tale of "The Yellow Dog," Mary E. Wilkins moving "The Lost Dog," plus "Dog Wanted," "A Railroad Dog," "A Dog's Life," "The Doings of David," The Surrender," "The Doings of David," "Character in Dogs," "To a Dog Grown Blind," and many others. You will laugh, cry, and ponder as you read this delightful tribute to our dog companions. For, without them--and their doggy hearts--the world would be a colder, less interesting, and certainly less loving place. So here's to those doggone dogs! Cover: Mia Jennings email@example.com
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner, 2003
eBookwise Release Date: August 2004
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [177 KB]
Reading time: 228-320 min.
THE LAST CALL
SEWELL PESLEE WRIGHT
THE VET stayed only a few minutes. "Not a thing we can do about the poor old fellow, doc," he said. "Dogs are a good deal like humans in lots of ways. When they've lived as long as he has, there's no fight left in them. Sorry--but you know how it is."
Doctor Gates nodded slowly. Sure, he understood that. He was getting old himself.
Then he asked the question he had been asked so many times; asked it as he had been asked it: hesitantly, fearfully, his voice not quite articulate.
"How--how long will it be, in--in your opinion?"
"Can't say, doc. You know how it is. Couple of hours, maybe; maybe a couple of days. It all depends. I wish there was something I could do, but..."
Of course. Doc had said the same thing so many, many times, and hated himself and his profession because there was nothing he could do. You loved someone, and when they needed help you called a doctor, and he stood there and shook his head--just as the vet had shaken his head over Wolf and said, "It all depends... I wish there was something I could do, but I'm afraid there isn't. Not anything."
That was letting people down. That was failure. That was what took the heart out of a man, and the soul.
The vet left, unhappily, understanding the bond there may be between a man and his dog.
Gates leaned over and rested his elbows on his knees. As though by drawing close to the dog, he might in some way help. "Good old Wolf," he whispered.
The great police dog at his feet opened one eye. His tail thumped once or twice, wearily, on the floor. Then he sighed and seemed to relax again. A couple of hours, the vet had said; or maybe a couple of days. It seemed to doc this was too much to bear.
Old Wolf--why, he wasn't just a dog! He was a friend and confidant and companion. Not once in all these years had doc made the rounds, or gone on an emergency call, that old Wolf hadn't been with him. Many a tough case he had talked over with Wolf, while Wolf had listened, his head cocked on one side, his brown eyes worshipful, and somehow the dog's love and adoration had helped. Wolf had believed in his master so completely that from him had come confidence and courage.
Those were things a doctor needed, especially a country doctor. People whined about bills: "I'll pay it, of course, doc, but it does seem like a lot of money, the way things are." The few women who could afford to be neurotic didn't call him any more, because they liked younger, better-looking doctors.
And lately everything had gone wrong. He had lost a little boy with pneumonia; a grand, stout lad he had brought into the world less than a year before. Les Trevor had disobeyed orders and got a crooked arm out of a fracture which should have given no trouble--a crooked arm to reproach Doctor Gates every time he saw Les on the street. He had burned out the bearings in his car, bucking the drifts, a couple of weeks before, and walked a mile through the snow to treat a case of simple hysteria. The woman's husband had said she was dying. It was a dog's life, this business of being a country doctor.
There had been several wrecks along the road, and not a single person had even offered to pay him, even though he had undoubtedly saved two lives. Then that spoiled Junior Wycombe had said Doctor Gates had hurt him, and his mother had promptly transferred the Wycombe patronage to Doctor Armitage--who might or might not be able to clean up a deep puncture wound without causing some slight discomfort.
And now this.
It wouldn't have been so bad, perhaps, if there'd been anyone else. Anna, his wife, had died nearly twenty years ago. Marge and Peter had grown up and married and moved away, and had families of their own. Doctor Gates was all alone in the huge house on the edge of town; that is, he would be all alone soon. In a couple of hours ... or a couple of days...
He opened his mouth to speak again to the dog, but caught himself. There was no need for words between himself and old Wolf. Wolf knew his master was there, that his god wouldn't leave him, now that he was old and sick unto death.
The phone rang softly in the office. Automatically, Doctor Gates rose to answer it. Wolf looked up inquiringly.
"I'll be right back; take it easy, boy."
He hurried down the hall and entered the office. The phone kept ringing insistently, urgently.
"Doctor Gates," he said shortly.
"Doc, this is Jim Summers--out on the old Buckley road. One of the kids is sick, doc, and we wondered?"
"I'm sorry, Jim," interrupted Doctor Gates. "I'm afraid I won't be able to make it. I'm not answering night calls any more. Not in weather like this--unless it's a case of life and death. You'd better call Doctor Armitage if you feel you should have a doctor at once."
"But doc! She's your baby, and she'd be scared of anyone else. She..."
Doctor Gates tried not to listen. After all, Doctor Armitage could do as much as he could. Let a younger man get out and grind his way through the midnight smother.
He hung up and glanced out the window. The snow was still streaking madly across the panes. He was too old to be out in weather like this, fighting the drifts and taking the risk of sliding into a ditch. Besides, there was old Wolf.
Perhaps there was something he could do to make things easier for the old boy. If he suffered too much--well he could be kinder to a dog than to a human being. He picked up his black bag and walked back to the fireplace in the living room.
Wolf heard him coming and wearily opened one eye. He lifted his head and staggered to his feet; stood there panting, his sunken eyes eager and happy.
"Not this time, boy," said doc. "I'm not going out. You're mistaken, for once in your life."
But Wolf didn't understand. He trotted to the door and stood there, watching his master. The phone had rung, and doc had come out of the office carrying his bag. They were going out on a call. It was all very simple to the dog.
"But you couldn't, Wolf," doc whispered. "You couldn't make it through the drifts out to the garage. And if you did; the strain..."
Wolf whined impatiently. "Let's go!" his tired eyes said, "I'm ready; what are we waiting for?"
"We're not going, boy. Come lie down. I told him to get someone else. You don't have to go."
The dog sat down by the door. He was trying to be patient.
"You'd go, sick as you are, wouldn't you, old fellow?" Doc knelt and put a shocking arm around the thin, corded neck. "You think it's your duty ... to go and keep going."
Wolf whined again and rubbed his grizzled muzzle against the doctor's cheek. The phone rang again.
"Doctor Gates," he said into the transmitter.
"Doc, this is Jim Summers again. They cut us off, and I had a devil of a time getting you. The storm, I guess. The kid's worse; you'll come right away, won't you doc?"
Doctor Gates glanced down at his feet. Wolf was sitting there waiting. Waiting to do what to him was his simple duty to go--and keep on going.
"I'm leaving now," doc said softly.
"Wolf and I--we'll be right out, Jim"