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Lançado em:
Aug 15, 2018


TOD is the acronym for the name of a huge, incredible dog that adopted my wife as his human female. Tod's name was derived from his position in his former family. He became "The Other Dog" after he charmed his way into their lives and became their second canine pet. After our neighbor's divorce Tod stayed with the husband and was consequently abandoned by his former mistress who took with her their first animal. This was an event that broke Tod's heart and left a huge hole. My name is Ad Gartenberg and I became Tod's best friend behind my wife Janae' and his canine girlfriend Jazzie. The evening after my wife and I closed on our new home we drove to it for another look before the movers arrived the next day. It was dark when Tod paid an unannounced visit and frightened me beyond description. Nearly paralyzed with fear, my wife came to my rescue and coaxed Tod to allow her to pet him. When she did he mournfully whined and was reduced to a pile of quivering, slobbering black fur. Tod is a beast in the truest sense. A mixed breed of the combined Bouvier de Flandres pedigree and a mystery variety, the huge animal stands about three and a half feet and weighs nearly two hundred pounds. His fangs, of which half are permanently, partially on display below his upper lips, are as long as my fingers. His growl is convincing and can be as terrifying as the MGM lion's. This is a story about Tod, my wife, our son, our neighbors and me, along with other critters we acquire along the way. The antics of these beasts and our human reactions may sometimes seem far-fetched. In spite of the fanciful narrative what happened changed our lives and made our place lively and more livable. Most of the happenings portrayed parallel real incidents from a time in the author's life. Although he has liberally exercised the privilege of literary license the reader will never know where and he could offer convincing testimony to anyone who thought they could tell.

Lançado em:
Aug 15, 2018

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Tod - Alan K La Selle

Chapter 1

The Other Dog

Asplit second after I got out and closed the driver’s door of my pickup I realized I’d made a big mistake. I heard a noise that could only come from an angry dog. Damn! The door was closed and I couldn’t get back in. I turned and was greeted by the beast, large, slobbering and black. The animal was huge, broad at the shoulder and head, fat and round in the middle with finger length fangs waist height. I’m 6'3". This was a large animal that appeared to be serious. About what I didn’t know but it probably had something to do with me being where I was right then. My crack intuition told me he didn’t want me there. A problem because I owned the place. Under his curled lip his incisors could have come from a wolverine or an alligator. His incisors and cuspids needed no dental work, they looked perfect to me. His body and tail resembled a pig’s. I’m a country boy so I know what a pig looks like. I heard a low menacing growl. With a couple of bites he could have easily removed my top half from my bottom half, or worse.

My wife and I had just celebrated the closing on our new house that day with a nice dinner at the only upscale restaurant in town that we knew of. Because the movers would be here the next morning, we planned on spending a little time that night deciding where to place furniture and wall decorations. At the moment, those plans had high potential for change. I was frightened, I was mad, adrenaline was surging.

Janae too was frightened. Knowing that the guy responsible for house payments was in dire straits, she wanted to help. Stay right where you are, I commanded, I know what to do. Having not a clue but wanting to appear manly and in control, I put out my hand hoping to coax this unpredictable cur to a calming pat on the head. His curled lip relaxed and his fangs disappeared as he inched forward. When he reached my hand I patted his forehead then cautiously scratched his ears. He responded by wildly wagging his kinky furred tail. An ecstatic whining mixed with a few soft yelps replaced the growl I’d heard.

Janae got out and grabbed my arm to keep me from collapsing from the adrenaline rush. She reached out to pet my antagonist, and he folded into a quivering, slobbering blob of whining black fur. My wife apparently had the same effect on him as she did on me. After making sure I could stand on my own, Janae knelt beside the animal and scratched his ears and belly. He loved the attention, a complete change from the previous five minutes. I tried to get in on the action but yielded when it was apparent what I offered was an annoyance. I walked toward our new house jingling the keys in an effort to coax my wife away from the brute.

Before the key was in the lock, Janae was beside me. The dog, now totally in control of himself, had followed her and crowded in front of me before I could get the door open. When it opened, he entered, waited for my wife then led her on a tour of the place as if he was our realtor. He totally ignored me, indifferent as to whether I was there or not. Finally they came back and he lay down in front of the door, letting me know that now I could have her. After I got my ego under control, the two humans surveyed the floor plan and playfully bickered about where furniture should go and how the walls would be decorated. After a couple of hours, I called to Janae from the bathroom, You ready?

Not yet. Poochie seems to want us to stay.

When I got to the mudroom, the animal had wedged himself tightly against the door and wouldn’t move for her. When I tried to relocate his huge carcass, he didn’t get belligerent, but firmly let me know that he was going to stay where he was.

What are we going to do now? I asked my bride.

Why don’t you try the front door and I’ll stay here. Then I’ll follow you after we see what he does.

I went out the front door and came back to the mudroom door, but her Poochie still wouldn’t move. She tried to go out the front door, but he pulled the same trick and plopped in front of it. When she made a move to the mudroom, he beat her there, keeping her trapped.

Let’s try this, I said through the door. I’ll come back in from the front, come to you here, and keep him occupied while you exit from the front. Make sure you lock the front door, and then come back here. When he hears you outside, I think he’ll let me out to get to you.

She tried that and it worked. Poochie moved so I could open the mudroom door. He went outside to be with Janae and I escaped. I locked up, and Janae and I got in my pickup and drove off. He stayed outside the mudroom door as we left looking as if he were seeing his best friend for the last time. Because we’re both animal lovers, we were really touched by this dog. In only a few hours, he had gotten a big piece of both of our hearts. Truth being that not knowing whether or not we’d see him again we both hated to leave, but didn’t say anything. I didn’t know about Janae’s composure, but I was trying to be a manly man. If it hadn’t been dark, she might have seen a tear or two. About the only thing that brings me to tears are animals. I’ve been known to say, I’d rather bury a friend than a pet. I didn’t look at her because I figured I’d see her crying. If I would have, it would’ve been the end of me and we’d have gone back and slept on the floor.

That night neither of us rested, so we returned to our new house at 6:00 a.m. to find her new friend waiting. He and my wife greeted each other in a near replay of the previous night. A couple of hours later, the movers arrived with our stuff. Janae took two of them and attacked the bedrooms. The other two and I unloaded the truck. Poochie stayed at her side most of the morning going out three or four times, once or twice to potty, coming right back in, other times going out and disappearing for a short time then returning.

Janae had packed a sort of picnic lunch. She’d made arrangements with the movers to feed them, so when we broke for lunch, everyone was hungry and ready to rest for a while. All of us sat at the picnic table we’d unloaded on the patio.

Janae asked, Do you think I should go to the store and get this animal some dog food?

You probably should, I replied, We have no idea whether or not he’s eaten. After you finish eating, take off and I’ll keep these guys lined out and put some of this stuff where I want it.

Oh no you won’t, she retorted, I’ve told these guys where I want everything that’s left and I trust them.

The in-charge mover who was called Jeep commented with a smirk, She threatened me with the dog if we didn’t put things where she wanted. Any woman with a dog that size always beside her should not be disobeyed. Trying to make the statement sound casual, he failed. It was easy to see that he was intimidated by the animal and somewhat mistrustful of him. He was a man about 5'8", estimated 190 pounds, and built like a fireplug. At that moment, I thought about it and realized that he and the dog were similarly constructed. Both man and beast were powerfully put together; the beast, however, was one-up on the man. The dog wasn’t intimidated.

Since the only vehicle we had was my pickup, when she went to it, the dog followed. He wouldn’t let her get in. Not wanting a replay of the previous night and the threat of losing her, he stayed between her and the driver’s door.

She came back in. He won’t let me leave, she declared. What now?

I don’t know how but we’ll deal with this later, I said. You stay here and I’ll go to the store.

That dilemma solved, I left.

When I returned with dog food, everyone was busy again offloading and placing our household at my wife’s direction. It looked like we’d be finished by early evening. I was beginning to see why my dad had said that if he ever had to move, he’d cause a fire then start all over. This was damn hard work and we were moving an accumulation of ten years from the house we were leaving plus what we’d moved into it while we lived there. From the size of the truck it took to move us and the way I felt, we had entirely too much stuff.

Janae hollered, Hey, honey, I unpacked two bowls for Poochie. Fill them with dog food and water and put them in the mudroom please.

Being an obedient husband, I followed the instructions then went back to work hauling what the truck still contained into the house. Janae showed the dog his food and went back to work with her guys. The dog ate everything from his new bowl and almost emptied his water dish. When I saw how much he ate, I had visions of poverty and he acted like he was still hungry.

Since I estimated that he and Jeep were approximately the same size, I queried Jeep as he came by, How much do you eat in a day, as much as that bowl over there will hold?

When I work like I have today, I eat five times that much, he quickly answered. Maybe more.

Seeing the need for a second job, I groaned, hoping that this dog belonged to someone else and we wouldn’t have to feed him. I groaned again when I grasped the thought that my wife’s wishes were cancelling mine out.

By 7:00 p.m. we had every stick in our new house, and by 8:00 P.M. we’d signed off the mover’s inventory and paid them. After the movers drove off, I was tired and broke and hoped that the cousins named exhaustion and indigence wouldn’t be permanent residents at this house. I really didn’t want to, but Janae and I worked for a while longer. We got as far as making our bed and showering then hit the feathers for a much-needed night’s sleep. It had been a long day. The dog found a place at the foot of our bed and seemed to not want to leave. I didn’t care where he was, I was asleep before I got comfortable.


The next morning I awoke to a nightmare; there was a huge black monster with his nose six inches from mine staring at me, looking hungry. What the hell, I bellowed, instantly waking. When I regained my composure, I spoke, Janae, he loves you but he wants me to do something. Find out what it is and do it.

She moaned, Let him out, I want to rest a little longer.

Having dismissed my desire to do what she was already doing, she went back to sleep. I went to the back door and let our adorable puppy out to do his business. As I watched him water a tree, I thought he might float our new house away. He hadn’t drunk that much water the day before, but when he quit peeing, the puddle was twenty inches across and a half inch deep. I was sure he’d been standing in it, but when he came back to the door, he did something that I’d never seen before. He thoroughly wiped each foot on the mat before he came in. At that point, I allowed that it didn’t matter whether he’d walked through the wet spot or he hadn’t. I was impressed. Trying for years, we hadn’t gotten the kids to do, without being told, what the dog just did.

Since I was awake and wouldn’t have been able to sleep if I’d tried, I found a coffee maker and the coffee and did what good husbands do for their wives.

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