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Gunther’s adventure on the block.

April 15, 2021
Is he tuckered out?


Gunther lies on his side on the couch as the clock strikes one.  Tuckered from barking all morning, no doubt.  Earlier, he barked so much I had to send him to the basement so I could take a nap.  Such is the excitement I experience. I’m not complaining. I like excitement like this.

Well, I do have a book, John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row,” and I enjoy the earthy and gritty prose therein.  I’m about halfway through the short novel.

Our house is cold.  I draw myself a glass of malbec from a “bota box” in the cupboard above the stove because I believe it lubricates the brain to churn out some writing. I think documentation is essential.

I started out wanting to write a fable about Gunther, the famous little dog of Facebook.  

He is a brussels griffon, I breed of street dog from Belgium, used for killing rats. I believe Gunther would love to kill rats, although he’s killed one squirrel. I have a picture somewhere.

The brussels griffon is typically smaller than an ordinary griffon, usually 6-15 lbs.

He is comically self-important and seems to believe he is much larger because he will menace other dogs. Gunther weighs 28 lbs, and has wounds from being bitten by other dogs. He acted fierce, but ran in terror when attacked. Brussels griffons have an almost human face that some people find attractive. Others think he is ugly, like an Ewok.

This morning about 9:30 I took Gunther for a walk unleashed; or I should say, he walked and I followed him west, around the block.  Things went well.  He made it past the vomit in the street without visiting it.  (I sharply ordered him to stay out of the street, then rewarded him with one of the bribes I carried:  a 5-lobed dog biscuit.  I gave him one of the lobes.)

Gunther visited the porch at the corner as I watched helplessly.  I paused, and as I walked past, he reappeared to lead me to the house next to the alley, where he began scarfing some black stuff that I think is barbecue grease.  I arrested his effort there.  Grabbed him. Gave him a bribe.

Around past our neighbor Charlie Grime’s corner he finally pooped and I caught all of it with my bagged hand before inverting the bag and shaking its contents.  I tied a knot.  We proceeded east along the backside of the block.

Our neighbor Sharon’s bird feeder was too much temptation for Gunther.  I never did walk onto Sharon’s yard to get Gunther.  I issued some stern commands to cease and desist eating garbage, followed by a honeyed promise of a dog treat, but of course, none of it worked.  His weakness is bird feed there. I opted to leave Gunther behind.

I walked on alone, past a truck supposedly owned by a carpet cleaning company.  Stepped over a fat blue hose and an electric cord. A worker was pulling the fat hose.

A driveway leads between two garages and my alley, so I cut through because the owner’s pickup was gone.  I dropped the poop into a dumpster, then walked the alley to the end of the block, thence home.  

I didn’t curse Gunther.  I stopped doing that perhaps six months ago.  I still reflect on the hundreds of dollars in veterinarian bills I’ve paid to rehydrate him and medicate him for what the vet called his “garbage gut.”

Instead I returned home.  Once indoors, I looked out the window to see Gunther trotting back down the block from the East, same way I had come.  I went to the back door, whistled, and “jingle jingle,” in ran the dog himself.

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