Puttin’ in the Dog

If you live in Hinton, WV, and this is your dog, I swear I’m not trying to steal him. I just like to borrow him from time to time, when I’m in need of a dog fix.

After so many years of constant canine companionship, this dog lover finds herself struggling. A few months back, my daughter moved into a rental that allows pets, so she repossessed her dog and his cat, who had been living with us. Rudy, our squirrel, was glad to see them go, but his fearlessness toward dogs makes it unlikely we can bring home another so long as Rudy’s around.

Which is how I found myself in the dog borrowing business.

For the past few years, almost every time Don and I pull into the drive at his family’s camp in Hinton, we’re greeted loudly by the dog in this photo and his raggedy lady friend, who live somewhere nearby. He appears to be the result of a long-ago dalliance between a Corgi and a Chihuahua; while she’s a Llasa Apso, with dreadlocks. The two little yappers have seemed to take great pleasure in screaming at us when we would arrive. They wouldn’t come close and seemed impervious to my highly honed dog luring skills.

Still, since we were going to be in the area more often than before, I was determined. Their little hearts would be mine. (And yes, while still inside their chests.)

With the assistance of a goodly bit of ham, cheese, and Vienna sausages, I have emerged victorious.

The dogs still run, yapping loudly, when we pull up, but it’s happy yaps they do now. There’s a difference. Perhaps a whole quarter decibel lower.

Late last week, Don had to return to Atlanta for a few days, so I was in Hinton alone, working and sleeping at the warehouse, but cooking at the camp — and rewarding the little dogs for simply being dogs. (I set my bar low on which dogs I will love.)

I have no idea if my little friends are ever indoors or always kept out, but since ours is a shared camp and these dogs are tremendously fragrant — and there’s currently no running water at the camp to remedy that situation — I couldn’t allow them inside. But then it started to rain, and the wind was blowing wildly. The scraggly dog left, but the old boy stayed, pressed against the front door, kept dry by the overhang, but not protected from the cold.

So, I microwaved an old bath towel until it was nice and warm, and then wrapped it around the little guy, who immediately curled into a ball and closed his eyes.

A short while later, the rain changed directions and began hitting the porch — not directly, but enough that I worried about that little old dog. I opened the door and let him in, and then dropped his towel just inside the door. He took that as his cue for where he was to lay and resumed his curled-up position, as well as his nap.

When the rain stopped and I was ready to return to the warehouse, I opened the door and told my guest it was time to go home. He sat for a moment, looking up at me as I snapped his picture, and then headed for the door.

Stopping just long enough to pick up the towel in his mouth and carry it home.



Karin Fuller is a newspaper columnist and short fiction writer who resides in both Atlanta, GA, and Hinton, WV.

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Karin Tauscher Fuller

Karin Fuller is a newspaper columnist and short fiction writer who resides in both Atlanta, GA, and Hinton, WV.