One hundred days ago today I stopped and picked up a stray puppy. Lucas ran from me at first, and then he hid in a cotton field, unsure of my intentions. Oddly, every stray is looking for a home, but they’ve already come to mistrust humans. This one allowed me to coax him out, pick him up, and put him in the truck with me. He rode on my lap all the way home. This one was muddy, had ticks, smelled like road kill, and was clearly afraid of what was happening, but in some weird way, Luke knew this was a good thing happening to him.
Sam tried to kill Lucas a ten days deep into the adventure. That precipitated a very brutal flying lesson where Sam learned dogs do not have landing gear, and there would be no killing of the puppy. Since then the two play together more often than they fight, and even though they have yet to share food like Bert and Sam will, we’re working towards that goal. Bert sat out the fight, and for the most part he doesn’t play very often with Lucas.
The yard looks like the Marines have shelled it with mortar fire. Dead chew toys litter the landscape like the soon to be discovered dinosaur bones after a flood. I’ve lost two pairs of tennis shoes, the laces off another pair, some of the paneling on the side of the house, a couple of glass bowls, and who knows how much sleep. I’ve spent the better part of five hundred bucks getting him looked at by the vet, getting shots, getting Lucas fixed, getting him chipped so if he gets lost someone will know he’s mine, and buying him chew toys.
It’s funny how much about having a puppy I had forgotten. I had forgotten how destructive they will be, and I had forgotten how much mischief they will get into, and I had forgotten how adding a dog rearranges pack dynamics. I had forgotten what a mess a puppy creates, and how housebreaking a puppy is a bitch. ( Sam helped by trying to kill him, Lucas will always associate Sam’s attack with me trying to housebreak him. You couldn’t pay Luke to pee on the floor now). I had forgotten what it was like to find a good pair of shoes partially eaten. I had also forgotten there is damn little a puppy will not try to eat. He’s eaten half a rotten cucumber, a paper towel, a disposable razor, a dime, and a glass marble.
I also had totally forgotten how grateful a stray will be once he realizes he’s won the lottery. Lucas is loving and affectionate. To the degree any puppy his age can be, Lucas learns well and is obedient, at least when he needs to be. I’m was not at all surprised but very pleased when our first trip into the outside world showed me Lucas has social skills, and knows when he’s supposed to sit there and look very cute. The puppy Lucas is a very cute dog, and he knows it. As time has progressed he’s come to enjoy a life most strays do not get. I must say Lucas has worked hard to earn it. I nicknamed him The Loki Mutt for all his energetic mischievousness but truth be told this is a good dog. The three of us, Bert, Sam, and myself, were nearly as lucky as Lucas.
One hundred days later Lucas naps on my chest as I watch television but he’s getting too big for it. The Loki Mutt digs up things, plays too rough with the elderly dogs, takes things from me and runs away with them, and generally speaking acts very much like a puppy. He’s nine months old now, and about this time next year I’ll notice he’s beginning to mellow, just a bit, and the puppy Lucas will be a dog soon after that. Far too soon, in my opinion, really, but I look forward to seeing who he grows up to be.
Lucas will transition me through Bert and Sam one day. I realize now just how old they’re getting. Lucas will be grown, I hope, when one of those two passes on and I’ll lean heavily on the stray I found in the road, that hot August day. When you rescue a stray, when you take from the road a certain death, and when you make that stray your own, you negate part of the evil humans do, and you restore humanity, just a bit, in the Universe. Strays rescue us from ourselves, when we rescue them.
Mike. Photos follow
Lucas, Day One
My Loki Mutt today