Family Dog

by Regis Boff

I had two dogs. Now I have one. My old retriever turned up his paws and headed off to wherever minor souls go. I suspect it is a place where stealing food and pooping are rewarded.
My father would buy our family’s dogs in the same way he would buy us a car. Both would be stripped down to essentials, nose, fur, perhaps a tailbut he would not pay more for that.. Then he would search out a “deal.” It was our luck that he always stopped short of stealing one from our neighbors in his thrift. Then somehow he would apply the old adage of “how do you sculpt an elephant out of a giant piece of granite? You just cut away anything that is not elephant. My dad could do the same with beauty. We had the ugliest hounds and cars imaginable.
Our animals were treated like animals. They were smacked with whatever was handy. They were expected to not only obey all commands from birth but often were obliged ( if they knew what was good for them) to be prescient. The phrase “good dog” might be used if the beast dragged a baby 
Our dogs growing up died with a kind of regularity that would make less trusting families check carefully their dinner meat. Dogs roamed dangerously free then and came back only for meals, just like us kids. One afternoon after school I came into the kitchen to find my dad crying at the table. He said our dog was dead. I asked where he was and he told me that sometimes when dogs know they are going to die they go off into the woods and bury themselves. My belief in my father was science. This became fact to me. Moon is buried somewhere in the woods.