Gone. Grenny is gone.
He was my Big Brown Dog, a lovable, oversized lunk from the day he was born into Todd’s hands. He was bigger than all his litter mates, including the feisty runt we named Bodetta Bosaphine, Bobo. Todd wanted a male, a legacy dog to continue the line of German Short-haired Pointers. We all fell in love with Bobo, too and kept them both. When we started the litter on solid kibble, Grenny taught us that food allergies among dogs were real. He broke out in bumps from snout to toes. Until we eliminated all grains, I had to bathe him in oatmeal daily. He loved his baths, especially when I sang to him “Rub a dub dub, Grenny in a tub.” He was born the day after Christmas, 2005.
And today, October 5, 2016 heaven gained an exuberant four-paw angel. Big Brown Dog got his wings.
Grenny was a frolicker. He was so toned in muscles in his prime that the kids called him the German Underwear Model. He never walked; he loped. Everywhere and after everything. He and Bobo learned to hunt mice together. She flushed and he nabbed. They graduated to rabbits and my yard was rabbit-free, unlike the rest of the neighborhood. One year, he caught a large grey squirrel while Todd was out of town. Being a squeamish buckaroo, I couldn’t dispose of it and every time he went in the back yard he’d pack it around like one of those un-stuffed dog toys.
In 2007, Grenny suffered a chihuahua attack. It sounds like nothing to be concerned with given his attacker was 14 pounds and he was 80. But two days later the aggressive little dog turned up dead in our cul-de-sac and Grenny was blamed. It led to a scary year of court trials, wading through a fabricated story and arriving at the truth — the chihuahua was hit by a car. Grenny was finally exonerated in court. This is a premise I used in Miracle of Ducks, though I spice it up with fictional characters.
Big Brown Dog thought he could take on nature, though. One wedding anniversary, Todd and I came home, let the dogs in from the back yard and he shook blood all over the floor and walls. It was his. Todd went outside and found a dead muskrat. It put up a fight and ripped Grenny’s ear and bit through his face. The vet was amazed he tangled with a muskrat. Grenny was not through challenging nature. He barked at a moose and got bit. He growled at a bear and got bit and ripped. It taught us, too that if Grenny fights something he decides is bad news, he can escape. Mostly, he liked to chase scents, zigzag across creeks and dig up gopher holes. He was peaceful despite his tangles with nature.
And so loving! Always, my lap dog. Last night he felt so low he couldn’t even lay his head on my lap. After a sleepless night of taking him out every hour, we called the vet. He was normal yesterday morning, then he threw up twice and by morning was peeing blood. We were concerned about something he might have gotten into, but we couldn’t think of what. He was on leash, in the car or in the trailer. And always with us. The vet delivered bad news — he could feel a softball-sized tumor that had escaped detection until now. It obstructed his bowels and was causing bloody urine. He was dying. And we didn’t even know it. It happened so fast. We said our goodbyes in the office and sat, sobbing with our dog that had brought us so many stories and so much love.
I didn’t think I could write this and it certainly wasn’t the post I intended, but I’m glad I did. I just needed to get out Grenny stories. Most who met him, loved him. He recently got to meet family in Mesa and he made a splash when he fell into their swimming pool. The look of surprise on his face was priceless!
We will miss him. I’m still so shocked he’s gone. It’s another notch in feeling homeless, rootless and alienated. I almost feel like giving up the fight except I know there are those who are still walking beside me, still believing in Carrot Ranch, in Miracle of Ducks and Rock Creek, in supporting writers from around the world with flash fiction and compassion, in Todd and I getting stable housing. With the help of a friend, we are possibly going to finance a rig that will make us true RVers and not homeless campers. I’m in the process of filing paperwork to make Carrot Ranch a non-profit and working to get the first of many anthologies published.
I won’t give up now. I’m devastated, but will honor my dog by being the person he believed me to be.
October 5, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a Big Brown Dog. I just want to read Big Brown Dog stories this week. I know dogs arn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you can write about that, too. Keep it happy, write something funny, surprising or tender. Thank you.
Respond by October 11, 2016 to be included in the compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
Big Brown Dog of Rock Creek by Charli Mills
“Da! Come quick. Lizzie says there’s a big brown dog at the creek.” Monroe stood at the barn door, panting.
Cobb glanced at his son, setting aside the chisel he was using. Without grabbing his shirt, he followed Monroe to the edge of Rock Creek. “Is it mean?”
“Well, it sounds big. But I didn’t see it.”
Lizzie sat with her other two brothers gleefully clapping, “Big brown dog!” Her brothers looked as worried as Monroe, who was eldest.
“So, where’s the dog?” Cobb scanned the thicket below. He heard a rustle. And out walked a big brown bear.
Note: This is an actual excerpt from Miracle of Ducks. G-Dog is based on Grenny. It’s not part of the flash this week, just something I wanted to share.
Feeding the Brown Dog Trio by Charli Mills
Week two and Danni was ready to kill the dogs.
If she had asked Ike to flag a likely spot for locating an old French Fort, he would have been more successful than she was at feeding what she now called the Hounds from Hell.
Ike coached her over the phone that first night he was away. “Make them sit, fill their bowls and don’t let them eat until you pat each one on the head.” Sit? Was he kidding? Biddy walked around like a dazed and deaf old woman. Two weeks of this and Danni didn’t believe Ike’s dogs would ever listen to her.
“Biddy! Sit! Biddy come here! Sit! Now G-Dog—Biddy get back here!”
Ike advised Danni to call each dog by name: Rosabel, Garon and Dagmar, but Biddy, G-Dog and Sis rolled off her tongue. If they were in her care, she’d call them what fit.
“G-Dog. Sit! Sit! Good boy! Biddy, get away from the chukar! Sit, Sis, sit!”
As soon as Danni reached for the dog food in the plastic box, Sis dashed over and stuffed her entire head under the flat blue lid, scarfing kibble like liquid.
“Sis, no!” Danni grabbed the muscular little dog by the collar. The entire time, G-Dog sat motionless with threads of drool oozing from both sides of his floppy jowls. Sis reared back on her hind legs as Danni tried to get her away from the food. G-Dog looked moist and faint, and Biddy…. Where did Biddy go?
“Biddy get out of there!” Step by plodding step, Biddy walked as if her muscles had frozen. “Come here!” Danni yelled, which made the old dog walk slower. Danni dumped food into G-Dog’s bowl, and warm drool dripped across her hand. Sis plowed into her bowl, failing to sit and had her kibble devoured before Biddy reached hers. As soon as Danni poured kibble for Biddy, Sis stuck her head right into it and ate heartily. Biddy looked up at Danni with round, droopy eyes. Danni kicked a pile of empty beer boxes, sat down at in Ike’s worn barstool and hollered his name loud enough to be heard in Iraq. Feeding the trio was impossible.
You made my life richer, Big Brown Dog. Rest in Peace.