by Rocky Macy
The pink fringe of a breaking dawn had just begun to paint the horizon when the stranger lumbered down the lane and onto my doorstep. She came to the back door, which told me right away that the old hound had a fair amount of sense. The back door opens out from the kitchen!
The cracklin’ bacon and mindless static of a radio talk show didn’t keep me from hearing her soft whine and scratching as she begged sanctuary in the warmth of my kitchen. Somehow the old girl knew that Rusty Pails could always manage to throw together a meal for a weary traveler.
But she was more than just hungry. The big lady with the cold nose was also on the brink of motherhood. After breakfast I fixed her a box in the utility room next to the hot water heater. She climbed in and nuzzled the towels around to her liking before settling down for the wait. I thought quietly as I left the room that the old girl had probably taken to the maternity box many times before. She wouldn’t be needing any help.
Late that afternoon, after several grueling hours at the domino table, I came home and was greeted by the squealing harmony of newborn pups. Five sightless little mongrels were huddled in a corner of the box waiting impatiently for the arrival of more brothers and sisters. At bedtime the count was eight, and when the sun rose the next morning, I found the haggard mother feeding thirteen demanding youngsters their first breakfast. It was a Baker’s Dozen, and from that day to this the name “Baker” has stuck to that mama dog like those thirteen hungry pups!
Two months have passed. They have been filled with joys and aggravations that only a parent – or perhaps a school teacher – could appreciate. The litter tumbled out of their box and into the world of Rusty’s cabin, marking their trail with puddles, paw prints, and chewed furniture. It’s been fun – for all of us!
Heck Frye will be by later today and we’ll take Baker’s family to the big sale across town. It shouldn’t be hard to find a good home for most of the little nippers. Rufus the Yapper will make a first-rate watch dog, and Miss Lola has the curiosity of a hunter. Little Esther, with her love of dragging junk home, will pay her own way in life. The only one I’m worried about is Shadetree – that pup’s almost too lazy to eat!
But I reckon they’ll all get by, just like the rest of us here in Sprung Hinge. It’s the variety that makes life interesting. Leastways, that’s how I see it!
Auction Tip: Don't wear your Sunday shoes to a country auction. You'll probably have to park in a pasture!