Thursday, February 22, 2007

Grendel: Requiem for a Ragamuffin

A stray dog showed up about 3 weeks ago. Actually, JEB and I were roaming the woods by the road when the pickup stopped to let him out, then sped off. JEB is really protective of me, so to avoid a potential conflict with a large and unknown adversary, he and I cut up the hill.

That night the stray got into the garbage down on the road. About a week later he was up tearing into trash behind Mr. B's house and barking incessantly. Mr. B came out and yelled him away, threatening gunfire. He ran partway down the drive where he hung out barking 'til JEB lost his patience and chased him off.

I loved him immediately--my heart always goes out to strays. (JEB was one once, til he heard I was interviewing and came up to inform me he was my dog.) He was huge and black and doofy, like he hadn't grown into his skin yet, and his feet flopped like clown shoes when he ran. I called him Grendel. I was sorry JEB and Mr. B chased him off before I could befriend him.

This morning Grendel was down by the old hogshed while I was pulling blankets off the mares, barking and barking but not running. I stopped what I was doing and went over and communed with him awhile, gradually moving closer, enjoying the feel of sunlight while he refigured his ideas about humanity. He was still barking, but wagging his tail and stepping ever closer when out of the corner of my eye I saw JEB purposely marching down the hill to interrogate the interloper. As I walked away to distract JEB, Grendel took my place, smelling the places I'd been, watching intently as I finished my work with the horses.

On the way home tonight I almost drive off the road avoiding his massive, inert body sprawling across the pavement. Rest in peace, Grendel. I'm glad we got to know each other a little.

It's tough to spellcheck through tears.


  1. This is a heart-warming post. I can identify! Poor guy. It is amazing what and who will stir us to open our hearts. Thank you!

  2. I just read this one. Oh man...I'm sorry. At least you got to meet Grendel for a little while, and that's the way to always remember him.