The brown dog

27 July

I often think of the brown dog who used to walk by the church on the corner, near my house.

I first saw him in February. There was snow on the ground and this beautiful large dog was sitting by the side of the road watching cars go by. I thought, some careless pet owner has left his gate open and his pet is lost. I was on my way to work and did not stop.

The next week I saw him again. This time he was chasing cars and I thought, that careless pet owner needs to fix his gate or he’s going to lose that beautiful dog. I was again on my way to work and didn’t stop.

I didn’t see the brown dog, or even think about him, until March when I again saw him walking in front of the church. This time I stopped. The dog did not have a collar, and was considerably thinner. He walked a safe distance from me, maintaining a steady pace as I talked to him; he did however turn his head to look at me. He had a sweet, untroubled face that was endearing.

As I drove away I saw a large metal makeshift cage along the side of the road. There was a sign on it that said the city was trying to catch a stray. There was a bowl of scrambled eggs in the cage. As I read the sign and took in it’s meaning, a tiny kitten come out of the brush, crawled through the gate and began eating the eggs. I felt sad, got back in the car, and drove to work. I saw the brown dog several more times after this. Once I was even able to leave him food and then retreat to watch him eat it. He ate not in big gulps as I had expected, but respectfully as if enjoying each bite.

To me the brown dog represents hope, faith and strength; his situation did not seem to diminish these. I imagined many scenarios of where this animal came from, what he does during the day, and the kind people who have left him food.

It is now the end of July. I haven’t seen the brown dog in more than a month. I hope he found someone to trust and is in a good place. I know that I will never pass that church on the corner, without remembering this animal, wondering at the impact one proud brown dog had on me, and remembering that dignity comes from within. ~ Janet

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