In the Doghouse with Victro
By Mike Stevens
He howled out his frustration, and suddenly light showed in the windows of darn near every home on the block. “Shut up, you mangy mutt!”, and, “Go home!” were just two of the screamed epitaphs hurled into the dark. Victro had no idea what the first thing meant, but he knew what, “Go home!” meant, and he would have gladly do so if he HAD a home! He had bailed on his real home, after his owner, Freddy Lawson, had gotten mad at him, and Victro had left, rather than face his master’s wrath. Then, he had befriended little Sally Vernon, who had taken him home, but her dad was a big-time jerk! So he had run away from Sally’s house, which was a shame, because Sally was good people. Not so, however, her father. Now he didn’t know what to do, or where to go. He was once again freezing and hungry.
The days since he’d left Sally’s house were okay, because the sun warmed the winter air, but the nights? Burr! Just then, he heard a loud voice, immediately answered by another, as two drunks staggered out of the tavern, and headed for home. Victro didn’t know any of this, of course, after all, he was a dog! All he knew was the people entering the door across from where he lay, concealed in the shadows, strode confidently up and opened the door, and the people leaving it staggered and acted like they were dancing with the sign posts, and the smells coming from there were heavenly! They were why he’d settled on this spot. He didn’t pay the people leaving much mind, until these last two. One of them was saying,
“Wait up; wait until I finish this burger! A few more bites--oh, forget it; you’re not going to listen!” and he threw something into the vacant lot next door. Then, he hurried to catch up to his acquaintance, who was staggering quickly down the sidewalk.
“Hold up, Tom; what’s your hurry? Is there a rerun of ‘Dicks’ on B.A.A.D. T.V. tonight?”
And from there, the sound of their voices faded away from Victro’s ears. The man had thrown something away, and he was going to check it out. Victro got painfully to his paws, and listlessly started across the street. God, was he ever hungry! He reached the other side of the road, and found the bag the man had thrown away. It contained something that smelled wonderful to Victro’s nose. Of course, he was so hungry, he would have wolfed down a grease-covered cleaning rag; but this was 1/2 of a hamburger!
He had devoured the burger in three slobbering gulps, the way a dog eats, and his desperate hunger had abated somewhat. Then he went back across the deserted street and back into the shadows, where he did his best to sleep.
He stiffly got to his paws, feeling more miserable after a never-ending night of napping and freezing. He just had to find someplace warm, where he could get some rest. He painfully made his way out of the alley where he’s spent the horrible night, and tried to decide which way to go. Right, would be taking him into unfamiliar territory, and left, would also be taking him into unfamiliar territory. He decided on right, and sluggishly started putting one paw in front of the other; until he had left the city far behind.
He was shuffling listlessly along, when a van pulled up and stopped. The sound of mournful baying came to his ears. A man stepped out with a long pole with a loop at the leading edge, and started towards him. Victro didn’t understand exactly what it all meant, but he figured it wasn’t good news for him, so he galloped away. Behind him, he heard,
“Hey, dog, come here!” He didn’t pay any attention to the voice; he was out of here!
Animal Control Officer Bobby Crenshaw had already had a long day, and it was still morning. His wife had nagged him about yard work, until he had been looking forward to work, and he hated his job. So he had been in a lousy mood when he spotted the black and white dog walking along the road. He was going to cause problems, and might get hit; Bobby sighed deeply and pulled his van off the road, grabbed his control stick, and exited the truck. The dog was just sitting there, watching him approach. After watching him for a few more steps, the dog turned, and started trotting in the other direction. S**t, he sure wasn’t in the mood for this! He screamed at the dog, which only seemed to increase the dog’s gait. Soon, he was gone.
Victro figured he had to get off the road, so he veered off into a field, which stretched away into the distance. He was soon loping, at least as much loping as a s**t night’s sleep would allow, through an un-mowed field. He came upon a farmhouse, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. A man was sitting with his legs up on the side of a deck. The man had spotted him.
“Come here dog, come here!”
Victro knew that meant to come closer, and he trotted about halfway towards him, keeping a wary eye on possible escape routes.
“Well, look at you! Aren’t you a cute one!”
Victro could see the man was eating something, and heard his own stomach growling in protest. Man, was he ever hungry! It had been hours since the hamburger the dude had thrown way, and he was famished; so he trotted closer still, and the man could follow the path of his eyes.
“Are you hungry, boy?” he spoke, and tossed something into the grass at his feet. Victro gratefully sniffed at it: bacon! Immediately, his mouth started watering, and he wolfed it down in a single gulp. Then, he fixed his gaze like a laser on the man’s empty hand. The man chuckled, and said,
“Looks like that’s not going to be enough for you. That was the last of my breakfast, but let’s go see what we can find.”
Victro had been here two weeks, and had wanted for nothing. Food, shelter, water, human companionship; he had it all. He knew how lucky he was; the man was incredibly nice to him!
Daryl Wiseman had just found a new performer in ‘The Wiseman Animal Circus’. The dog looked to be trainable; the key was to be nice to the dog, and then he would do exactly what he wanted!
Victro was happy, except for what Daryl wanted him to do. He was supposed to pull around a little red wagon, into which went the droppings of the more exotic animals in the circus. It was humiliating work, but when he considered the alternative, which was basically being a stray, it was a small price to pay for a little sense of permanence.
He had done exactly what Daryl wanted in practice, but gazing out at the crowded circus tent, Victro decided that this was b*****t! Sure, he wanted to do what the man was asking him to do, but, come on; he wouldn’t be the cute little dog hauling the s**t wagon. So when Daryl, working with an elephant, called for ‘the cute little dog’ to come out to the center of the ring, so he could scoop up the elephant dung and put it in the wagon, and have ‘the cute little dog’ pull it out of the ring, Vicro just sat looking at Daryl.
“Come here, boy!” commanded Daryl.
Victro just sat there, staring. Daryl got angry, and stomped over to the wagon, and again commanded Victro to get out there. He didn’t move, and an angry Daryl unhooked the wagon, and pulled it out in the ring by himself.
“You worthless mutt, out you go; hit the bricks, you good-for-nothing dog!”
Victro didn’t quite understand, until the man’s size 11’s showed him clearly; he was once-again a stray!