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Big Brown Dog

big-brown-dogBrown eyes. Brown coat. Brown spots. When a big brown dog comes to mind, it’s like a worn memory of a childhood teddy bear for some. For others, the idea is pure fiction.

Writers took to the form of flash fiction this week to honor the memory of a big brown dog named Grenny. Many had memorials and memories of their own to add — photos and stories. Be sure to click on any highlighted title links to read the blog posts some of our writers include with their flash.

The following is based on the October 5, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a Big Brown Dog.

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Dog Show by Geoff Le Pard

Punchenello Tillingdown – Punch – a pedigree boxer who had to be shown. He was Magnificent. Mum took him to the local dog show. All went well until the vet inspection. Worried faces. Mum wanted to disappear as the vets fondled near his exhaust. ‘Sorry Mrs Le Pard. Has to be disqualified. He’s a mono-orchid.’

Mortified, Mum drags him home, humiliated. At a cathartic coffee morning, she tells our neighbour, Olive Haylor, about the missing testicle. Later that evening Olive regales her husband with Mum’s doom. ‘It was dreadful. Poor dog. He’s a mono… He only has one tulip.’

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Constant Companion by Kerry E. B. Black

Latte rested her head on Sally’s lap, and the girl wrapped her arms around Latte’s neck, sobbing until the dog’s fur turned slick. “I thought Jen was my friend.” Latte licked the tears, blinking acceptance and love as her girl hiccuped. “They laughed at my crutches, called me stupid.” Sally’s grip tightened, and Latte gulped. Sally’s Cerebral Palsy made muscle control difficult. “It isn’t fair.” Latte wiggled which loosened the grip a bit, then placed a paw on the girl’s lap. “I don’t hate them. I hate myself.”

Latte wished for human language. Sally sniffed, understanding. “I love you, too.”

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Toledo by Bill Engelson

With The Banker downwind, Dobbs sucked in a lungful of hot noon air. The town was tense; word had spread.

Their element of surprise was quickly sizzling away.

At one point, Merle Taylor, accompanied by the family mutt, a big brown dog with the unlikely name of Toledo, which was Merle’s home town, brought some soda bread, pemmican and three jugs of freshly drawn water.

He watched Henry kiss his wife and wave her away.

Heading back to safety, Merle and Toledo halted before Dobbs. Touching his arm, Merle said, “We need him, Mr. Dobbs.”

“Yes Ma’am. I know.”

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Brown by Ann Edall Robson

She was the only one in the litter that was brown. It made her theeee one! We called her Brown.

By the time she was six months old, we were getting questioned about her name. That loveable ball of brown fluff was changing. Her baby hair was taking on a different hue. Flecks of gold shimmering through.

Big brown eyes watch our every move. She is still the Brown that we brought home so many years ago. Slower now, but fetch is still her favourite game.

We still get questioned about her name. She will always be our Brown.

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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.

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Flash Fiction by Gordon Le Pard

“It’s beautiful.” She looked down on the ancient house, nestled in a fold of the moorland.

“It’s your home now.” He swung his bride round and kissed her, she shuddered.

“What is it?” he asked, concerned.

“Nothing,” she replied, “I just thought I saw a big brown dog, it startled me.”

Smiling she took his arm as they returned to the carriage.

“I think we will be very happy here.”

Laughing he lifted her in his arms.

“Despite the hound?” He asked as he carried her over the threshold.

She kissed him. “Of course.”

“Then welcome to Baskerville Hall!”

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Big Brown Dog by Pensitivity 101

Barney was brown, black and white, fluffy, soft and loveable.
A border collie, we brought him home with his brother Rubble on August 5th 1995.

Rubble grew distressed every time we closed the door (we only had one into the property) so we had to take him back to the farm.

Barney however stayed, but was afraid of thunder and fireworks, so he’d hide in the bath.

When we revamped the bathroom and replaced said bath with a shower cubicle, he was confused for a while, then just sat on the little step where the bath used to be instead.

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Therapy Dog by Anne Goodwin

A two-year wait for an assessment? She could be dead by then.

“You can have a therapy dog in the meantime.”

She imagined a big brown dog barking at the juicy bits. Why not? If dogs could sniff out landmines and prophesy an epileptic fit.

Bruno was bright, but not that bright. Even so, his exuberance hauled her from her bed. The rhythms of walking soothed her. His antics dragged laughter from her belly. His wagging tail drew her into conversation with strangers.

Two years flew by. She still wanted therapy. But only if she could keep the dog.

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The Big Brown Dog (Jane Doe Flash Fiction, Also Being a Tribute to Troubles) by Deborah Lee

Jane rounds the corner of the shabby house, hoping her break-in has gone unnoticed, and stops cold at a sound, a sound that isn’t traffic or birds or whispering trees. A whimper, a whine. There, on the porch.

“Hey, beautiful dog,” Jane whispers. “Did they leave you, too?”

The dog, a German Shepherd, thumps his tail. He’s panting lightly in the heat, ribs like slats under a dull coat.

“Looks like you need a friend, big guy. I need one too.”

Jane fumbles in her backpack, small movements, and tears open the package of jerky.

“Wanna share my dinner?”

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Home With Bixby by Diana Nagai

Jo opened the door to her childhood home and breathed in the familiar scents.

“Hello,” she called, receiving no reply. Years ago, before leaving for college, she would have been greeted with exuberance, Bixby’s front legs reaching for a human hug. Slobber would have splashed her as the massive dog nuzzled, necessitating the use of a “Bixby Rag”.

Jo crossed the kitchen and crouched beside the dog. Bixby awoke slowly, taking a moment to focus. Recognizing Jo, Bixby rolled to his feet and gave her the wet kiss she was expecting.

“Good to see you, too, old boy.”

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Ruskea by Roger Shipp

Ruskea lay sprawled out in front of the sofa. Her two pups wriggled and twisted under her belly.

With a yelp and one push of a paw, play was over. Ruskea had had enough. It was time to sleep.

Katja and I had hoped for three pups. Ruskea was so gentle and kind with our own two small ones, everyone who visited wanted a pup.

This benevolent protector of our twin boys was now the financial advisor of their future college fund.

Ruskea must have felt our compassion and appreciation. With a wink and a nod, she was asleep.

Important Note: Ruskea is Finnish for brown.

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Big Brown Dog by Irene Waters

“His food looks better than mine. Besides which, I’ve eaten all mine.” The big brown dog moved his head tentatively towards his siblings bowl, pulling it back as he saw bared teeth accompanied by an angry growl.

“I want his.” The big brown dog let out a ‘someone’s at the door’ bark and raced to the front door. His sibling followed, not knowing what he was barking at but definitely not going to let the side down. The big brown dog passed him as he returned to the food bowls, quickly wolfing down his brother’s meal before being seen.

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The Big Brown Dog by Ruchira Khanna

“Cappie Go. Go!” I would shout at him as he would come near me.

The fear factor of a four-legged animal creeping onto me was still going strong although that episode happened as a toddler.

The howl, the shriek still fresh in my mind thus, making me very conscious if a dog would come near me.

Today Cappie, the big brown dog, was one of them.

I unknowingly was sitting on his blanket thus making him wag his tail around me, and I was on the yelling end.

Until his owner came and swooped the blanket beneath me.

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In Memory by Jules Paige

Brown, white, tan – longhair mix, with one blue eye and one
brown eye…The shelter dog we had for nine years… She
helped to balance the household…and she was my protector.
She demanded the run of the house, she did not like to be
kept in a cage, or even in a small room.

When the boys were younger she’d let them dress her up
like a doll…I’ve got a photo of her in a set of shades looking
so cool.

Alas she is gone. We have been pet-less for a long time…
and may remain so.

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“Yo, Adrian” by Sascha Darlington

I’m outside on this brilliant autumn day, bluest of skies, leaves dappled burnished hues, but feeling melancholy.

“Adrian?”

A brown dog stares at me with its head cocked. “Adrian?” His muzzle moves as I hear the name.

Finally losing it, Sascha. You think this little brown dog is calling you Adrian.

“Yes, I’m talking to you.” The dog places its chin on my knee and stares up at me with liquid brown eyes. “Kasey sent me.”

“Kasey died.”

The dog nods. “That’s why I’m here.”

“I’m not Adrian,” I say.

The dog says: “And I’m not Rocky. We’re even.”

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Carl by Drew Sheldon

People often ask what breed Carl is, and I always give the same answer, “big brown dog”. I got him from a shelter when he was just a tiny puppy. I think they rescued him from a hoarder. I named him after a friend I had just lost. It turned out to be a great idea as their personalities were so similar, sweet and playful but with no patience for fools. They both got me through some hard times. Now we’re both getting to the end of our time the way we all should, old and tired and content.

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Name Game by Larry LaForge

Ed looked back and forth between Edna and the huge brown Pointer she brought home from the shelter.

“What’s his name?” Ed asked, still trying to figure out why Edna can’t leave well enough alone.

“Help me name him,” she replied.

Ed scratched his head as Edna spouted off some distinct possibilities. “Brownie, Expresso, Mud, Hershey, Nut Meg, Fudge . . . “

Ed covered his ears in protest, clearly having heard enough. Edna frowned as she stopped in mid sentence.

“The name is obvious,” Ed declared while raising his finger to make sure he had Edna’s full attention.

“Huh?”

“Big Brown Dog.”

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Grenny in 99 Words by Charli Mills

From puppy teeth to an old dog’s grizzled muzzle, you knew to roll over on your back and grin. You slurped toilet water when available, and once you went sewer tasting, as if it were the ultimate baby-diaper notes of California Chardonay. Lap dog, big dog, confronter of moose and bear. If an ambulance passed, you sang two-part harmony with your sister. Known as Wingus & Dingus to the two-legged pups in your pack, you were my source of stories and photos. You always comforted your sister, licking her face, warning us of coming seizures. Now she whimpers alone.

Grendel “Grenny” Big Brown Dog 2005-2016 R.I.P.

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October 5: Flash Fiction Challenge

october-5Gone. 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!

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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.

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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.

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You made my life richer, Big Brown Dog. Rest in Peace.

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