Sorry, loyal fans for my extended absence. I have been busy.
Here is a little story about my Gramma’s old dog.
When my Gramma was young, her family had the smartest dog in the world. He was a German Shepherd called Mac, and not only was he smart, he was particular. It was the days before Purina, and the family dog got their own portion of whatever the family was eating (hence the term “doggie bag”, I guess). Under no circumstances would Mac eat peas. If there was stew for supper, and Mac’s portion contained two peas, they would find the peas, licked clean, in the bottom of his bowl. He did like ice cream, though, and whenever Gramma’s brother and his wife bought ice cream, Mac got a full portion. It was only fair, with no freezer, it would only go to waste.
He was also particular about the newspaper. The town was small and rural, and Gramma’s family owned the store. There were two newspapers that came from the big city, the Free Press and the Tribune. Each was delivered to the store in a bundle by a different bus, indistinguishable to humans. Mac liked the Free Press, and ran out to meet its bus every day, bringing the papers back to the store, but he refused to meet the Trib’s bus. No one could tell which bus was coming, no one except Mac.
He also liked Archie from Archie’s Meat Market. Archie would give Mac the meat delivery, all wrapped in paper, and Mac would dutifully bring it into the store, never so much as sneaking a lick. One day, though, a couple of stray dogs met Mac along the way and stole his meat. He never met Archie again after that, he hung around in the store and greeted him with wagging tail instead.
Mac was smart, too. The store was at the front of the house, and he would happily greet customers and walk them out when they left. He knew how to jump up to unlatch the screen door to open it, but unless Mother came along to shut it behind him, it would flap in the breeze and let the flies in. Finally in the middle of a busy afternoon, Mother got tired of walking through the house to the door to shut it, so she taught him how to close it behind him. It took about half an hour, but soon he was deftly scratching open the door to let the customers out, and then turning around and latching it closed with his nose. If there was anyone around to instruct him, he would close it immediately but if no one told him what to do, he’d stare at the door a minute or two, then close it anyway. It was like he knew it was the right thing to do.
Once, Mac got the mange. He needed to be bathed in Creolin, a disinfectant that smelled terrible. He hated it, and the second he got a whiff of that stuff, he made a beeline under the porch. Gramma was the only one small enough to crawl under and haul out his dead weight, but he never bit, no matter how hard she had to pull his tail.
Poor Mac met an end familiar to many dogs who lived near the highway, he was hit by a car. Gramma still talks fondly of him, though, the smartest dog who ever lived.