November 22, 2006
Originally published June 22, 2004
Bud was Jennifer's dog when I met her, but Bud became MY dog for a long time. He's a chow-black lab mix and he weighed about 95 pounds in his prime. Jennifer had him de-nutted as a puppy (she's trying that with me now), but Bud never lost his alpha male instincts. He was a Tall Dog.
Bud always hated cats, other male dogs and any person wearing a uniform. He killed several cats that were too stupid to run from him when they invaded his property, and I learned to bury the broken-necked corpses on the other side of the fence, because Bud would dig them up and "play" with them if I planted them in the back yard.
Bud was as gentle as a lamb around children. I remember Quinton crawling in diapers up to him and saying, "Nose!" as he poked Bud in the nose. "Eye," as he stuck a finger in Bud's eye. "Tail," as he tugged Bud's tail. Bud just laid there and took the abuse as if it were all part of his job. He never even growled.
Of course, Quinton wasn't wearing a uniform. I came home from work one evening and found my back door knocked clean off its hinges. Huge claw-marks were all over the wood and Bud was in the back yard. I don't know how the guy from the electric company got away after reading the meter, but Bud went after his ass and took the door down doing it. I found a note in my mailbox saying, "I will call the next time I need to read your electric meter. Can you please secure your dog?"
Hell... I thought the dog WAS secured. That was a solid wood door he tore down. I'm not sure that I could have done that. But the meter-man always called after that incident, and I tied Bud up with a heavy-duty choke chain when the reader came to call. Bud never did learn to like him.
Needless to say, I never worried about being burglarized back then. Anybody who broke into my home would be reduced to dog turds in short order, because Bud didn't like unauthorized visitors. He seldom barked, either. But he had a low-pitched, throaty growl that sounded absolutely vicious when he was angry.
A Peeping Tom started cruising the neighborhood and spying through people's windows at night. A lot of elderly widow-wimmen were worried about the guy and I told them that I would be on the lookout for him. I didn't need to. One crisp, cold winter night, we turned Bud out in the back yard and he decided to sleep outside. He liked cold weather.
The Peeping Tom tried our bedroom window that night. Bud was coal-black and pretty much invisible in the dark. I think he was asleep under our bedroom window when the Peeper must have stepped on him. Bejus! What a commotion! I heard Bud's growl, an "OH SHIT!" and the sound of running feet. A few seconds later, I heard a "CLANG" as something hit the back fence at high velocity.
I grabbed a pistol and went outside. I found Bud panting with blood on his muzzle. It wasn't Bud's blood. The next day, the neighbor behind me said that the noise woke her up and she saw a young man vault over my fence with Bud hot on his ass. "That boy had no seat left in his pants," she told me. Bud damn nearly chewed his ass off.
We never saw or heard from the peeper again.
Bud is almost 17 years old now. He is arthritic, deaf and half-blind. His coat has almost as much gray as my beard. He sleeps a lot.
I ask about him every time I see Quinton. As of Sunday, Bud was still hanging in there. He's not the Tall Dog he once was, but if he's still good for 15 seconds, he's still a bad-ass. I loved that dog.
I still do.
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