A Kid and His (Three-Legged) Dog

Pancho and Laverne

Pancho the overgrown puppy is having the time of his life at my house.  He jumps into the pool approximately every fifteen minutes, which means he stays wet all day long.  So he got a haircut  (a shave, really, since he can’t stand on three legs long enough to brush his hair out), and he wears his neckerchief with a jaunty swagger.  I admire him, my damaged dog, for the simple reason that he doesn’t mope around focusing on what he’s missing.  He’s over it.  I find myself wanting to be like Pancho.

The dachshunds have grudgingly accepted him.  They wouldn’t look me in the eye for the first two days he was here, but a large plate of cheese and pastrami scrambled eggs fixed that situation.

Bella the crazy, tainted pussy probably will be pissed forever.  She jumped onto the kitchen counter and punched a hole in the package of beautiful pasta I brought home from Italy just to let me know how much she hates me.

My kid wrote Pancho’s story for a class assignment.  I had to share it:
“What happened?” Mom asks.

“Pancho just lost his leg,” I choke.

“You’re joking,” she says with a chuckle while she fills my bowl with more soup. I hold up the sweaty phone to show her the text. I feel sad and angry at the same time. Not angry at his new owners, but angry at myself. The best dog in the world just lost his leg because of a careless mistake to put him in the bed of a truck.  What were they thinking? More importantly, what was I thinking letting them have my dog, my best friend?

She slides the bowl away as if she can read my mind. There is nothing I can do. It was my decision to let him stay in the mountains with them. Images run through my mind of a sad dog that drags through life because he is missing a leg.

A few days pass, and he returns to his house in the mountains. We decide to go visit him and see how he is recovering. I walk around the corner of the house expecting to see him lying in pain.

But boy, was I wrong.

He dashes around the corner and jumps straight onto my chest. He kisses me like he thought he would never see me again. I stand up and look straight at him. He looks at me and settles down. He’s a few feet away, but I know what he’s thinking.  Any sudden movements, and I was sure to be attacked with more licks to the face. I slowly raise my hand and creep over to him.  He knows what’s going on.  I start sprinting the other way in hope for a game of good old-fashioned chase.  But I look over my shoulder and see him sitting there with his head tilted. I sit down on the grass and he trots over to me. He rests his head on my knee as if to say, “Can’t you see I’m missing a leg?”

I pat his head while tears stream down my face.  He immediately answers with a lick to tell me it’s not my fault.  So as we sit on the field watching the kids play, I know who my best friend is.

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