I went to the pantry and retrieved what was left of an old six-pack of beer. Removed two cans, room temperature.

It had been a long day; was about to get longer. The news I’d just received, had in fact been privy to its making, was going to extend the day.

I got down our last half-gallon can of tomato juice. Placed all three on the bathroom sink. Took an un-opened bottle of hydrogen peroxide from the medicine cabinet. I was almost ready!

No, I was not about to concoct a new variety of Bloody Mary. And the event I’d just witnessed, though bothersome, was far from catastrophic.  

It was our dog, one of our remaining two.The big one. Big D — seventy-five pounds of bluetick coonhound. She was outside for her last “walk-about” before retiring for the night; where she sleeps on a pallet beside my side of the bed.

Her bawling on trail was no surprise; as for the last several nights she’d been treeing possums in our orchard (see Facebook page Rick Mansfield for video). We wondered at the number for the evening, for though she began treeing singles had in fact put two up a tree the last couple of evenings.

Curiosity had got the better of me as I wandered outside, flashlight in hand.

There was sure enough an opossum at the base of an apple tree. D, however was several yards away barking bayed. Just as I hit her with the light, she leaped back and began rolling on the ground. The overwhelming coffee smell wafting towards me told the rest of the story.

I fastened the leash to her and headed, somewhat reluctantly, for the house. She took turns imitating a crocodile-like “death roll” on the ground in between trotting towards the house. Judy got the “dog towels” and fun began.

First a round of the hydrogen peroxide mix (1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon of liquid laundry soap). Rub in well and then thoroughly rinse. A showerhead on a long flexible hose is a must; works well on humans, too! Then the tomato juice; this she tries to lick up and drink. Another rinse, and the two cans of beer; this she enthusiastically licks. Must be the grain!

More rinsing, one last round of the remaining peroxide mix and then after another rinse, her medicated pet shampoo for dry skin. A final rinse and then the “dog towels” and drying. Lots of drying!

This step should not be taken lightly, as any residual water will be flung all over walls and furniture when she leaves the bathroom and re-enters “her” living room.

The final humiliation is when I restock our supplies and get to wander down the drinking aisle of some nearby store, all the while fearing someone will recognize me and think me a hypocrite for my stance on drinking.

Make no mistake, drinking spirits is NOT a sin, only their abuse. Much as gluttony is to eating.

There are those that by now wonder why the trouble for a dog. I’ve done far more for family and friends who do not bother to express thanks.

To friends who pout like teenage adolescents when I apply my beliefs to my life. To people that will accept my gifts and behind my back attack my person.

Sadly, too many of these are either kin or fellow churchgoers.

D licks the hands that feed; she does not bite them. She is faithful; loyal. She is my dog.

By Rick Mansfield

(Rick Mansfield is a seasoned storyteller and writer, and is always looking for new audiences. He can be reached at emansfield2004@yahoo.com.)

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