My Life With Dogs 4-4

Friends: I have decided to share with you My Life With Dogs. The Blogs taken from my book, 14000 Dogs Later, may be one page at a time, or more. I don’t want to dump too much on you at a time. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to make comments here, or on my Face Book or Twitter account. Best, John
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/johnprestonsmith Twitter: @PrestonBooks
“If dogs could talk it would take a lot of fun out of owning one.” Andy Rooney

Behind the house where I grew up the backyard stretched all the way to the horizon, a distance such that you could ride a horse into the ground before catching an hombre on the run. Back then, jumping from the porch steps and into that yard transported me from the age of six into a world of fantasy. My first death was there, but not before I killed some of the meanest, low down scoundrels in the West. And always, my sidekick Jeep, a Heinz special, black haired and of medium build, stood by me. He knew though, there were times he would have to scamper for his life. Depending on my supply of rubber tipped arrows, or plunger tipped darts, he was deemed anything from a wild boar to a diseased wolf.
As an Indian I could zing arrows from behind a huge Sycamore catching Buffalo Bill and his sidewinders totally unawares. As a cowboy I could ride my white steed through blazing enemy fire without so much as a scratch. My second dog, Taxi, endured every minute of my pain as I was dragged by my feet along rutted forest paths, through rocky creek-beds, and burning coals.
An old dilapidated shack at the end of the yard doubled as an oft-robbed bank, a fort surround by bloodthirsty Indians, or a house on fire where damsels awaited rescue by firemen or Knights of the Round Table, depending on whether dad had left the garden hose out or not.

Silver, another dog of mixed ancestry, often played the part of the bad guy, the demon, or the damsel in distress.
Death in the backyard was not only inevitable, it was dramatic. I fell dead in rusted fencing that separated our yard from Mr. Fischer’s, I died hanging by my ankles from Cigar trees, and death left me draped across an inverted U-shaped steel bar in the middle of the yard, in fantasy I was hanging from the gallows. Always though, always, Jeep, Taxi, or Silver remained in the midst of my fantasy. They were my playmates and my fantasy friends come to life.
The most trusted weapon back then was the semi-automatic pistol that carried a load of 50 caps. Sometimes I used rifles, but they were not as dependable and nothing’s worse than a jammed cap-gun when the wagon train is surrounded by savage Indians who’d just as soon scalp and torture you as to put an arrow in your neck.
Today, I can still smell the pungent odor of the smoke that came from the exploding caps, right through the barrel of my gun. I can taste remnants of the gun powder that I sucked into my mouth. And I remember blowing that gray-colored-smoke back into the air as if I were the toughest cowboy this side of Death Valley.
(WIL) But, none of that ever came to life without one of my dogs at my side. Each listened as I planned every venture, they jumped from the back porch steps and into that fantasy world with the same excitement as I, and at the end of each day I would sit on those same steps with one of my dogs snuggled at my side. I’d review the day’s adventures and plan those for the morrow while they’d look me in the eye and bark with anticipation. I never considered that they didn’t understand me, or that they couldn’t speak…in fact it was quite the opposite. None of that excitement would have come to pass without my constant companions. I didn’t know, back then, that most of my failures and accomplishments of the future would end the very same manner…with one of my faithful and trusted friends at my side. dog and kid playing (2)

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