The Dog Next Door

by David Ray Israel


The world is a hard place and getting harder. Its nice to have someone on your side occasionally to look out for you. Sometimes it’s a relative sometimes it’s a friend. Then there’s times it comes from someone that you never expected such as an animal you barely knew. I wish not to give away the story other than you’re better off helping a stray dog than a human.

Chapter 1

The Encounter

               It was a hot Saturday night in mid-August and my AC was broken. All the windows of the house were opened, it felt moist the ceiling fan was whipping around set on self-destruct speed. Sitting on my couch in the TV room watching reruns of Jeopardy drinking a beer. I happened to glance out my front door. That’s when I saw it sitting on my front porch! At first, I was not sure what I was looking at and I don’t think it realized I could see It sitting there in an Indian style sitting position slowly licking my screen door like an ice cream cone with a tongue the size of a wet raw meatloaf. It would start at the bottom and slowly push its tongue up to the top of the screen. It was covered in fur with a dog face human looking hands and a large head, God what a big head. Oh yeah, it had yellow eyes, and they had a slight glow to them. It appeared to be taking much pleasure in licking my screen it would Humm as it licked. All I could do was stare at it.

            I realize it hadn’t sensed me looking at it yet. I did’t dare move and just hoped it would leave. But it started to slow down in mid lick, it began to stair in my direction trying to focus in on me. Oh shit, went through my mind. Its eyes became brighter as the predator realized I was there. Fear and anxiety began to build I could feel my butt hole pucker. Then out of nowhere I hear, “What you never seen a dog lick a screen door before.” I looked around the room and then back at the beast. I thought to myself, “Is this thing talking to me.” It spoke again, “Look I’d be licking your neighbor’s porch screen, but they always clean there’s and it tastes like Clorox. Yours is always fresh.” My brain tweaked, “Its talking to me I’m looking in its face, and I can hear it trying to have a conscious conversation with me. I answered back with a nervous, “Sure.” It pulled its tongue back in its mouth, sat there and stared at me for what seemed like two minutes or a lifetime but was probably a couple seconds. Then it spoke again, “Ok, dogs don’t normally lick screens I have a thing for them don’t judge.” I answer back, “I’m not judging I’m trying to figure out if this is what happens when you have a brain aneurysm?” It answered again with a sort of educated tone to its voice, “No you’re not defecating and urinating all over yourself, I think your good.” “Oh.” I said, “So you live nearby.” It Replied, “Oh, yes about 4 streets down next to the old red barn.” Thank God it did’t say my back yard. I replied with, “What do I do now.” It answered back, “Well if you give me one of those beers, you're drinking I'll be on my way.” I slowly reached into the case of beer that was next to me, pulled out one of my Miller lights. I apprehensively got out of my couch and slowly started to approach the door. I stopped in the middle of the TV room. I asked, “If I open the door and give this beer to you are your goanna kill me?” It answered back with a deep raspy voice, “Of course I'm a wild animal.” I quivered inside, “Well, I guess that's good to know so how do I get this beer over to you without being murdered?” It eyes narrowed, “That's a dilemma isn't it, because I'm not going to leave until I get that beer and the only thing between me, and you, is this flimsy screen that I've been licking for the past five minutes.” I had to think fast. I could feel my lips and mouth begin to dry up in fear. I cleared my throat, I could hear my voice crack as I spoke to the beast,” look I'll roll the beer to the door. Can you open the door and get the beer?” It replied with a smart alack tone, “I've been alive for 200 years I think I figured out how one of your doors work.” So, I rolled beer across the floor to the door. Before the beer got to the door, it had the door open reached his long hairy arm in about 3 feet snatched the beer up and shut the door. It stood up it must have been about 11 feet tall, he had to hunch down to keep from hitting the pouch ceiling. It looked at me with glowing eyes and growled out, “Thanks I owe you one.” Then it leaped off the porch and ran down the street.

        I walked to the front door nervously as I watched it scurry down the road towards the street where the old barn set. I shut and locked the door, turned walked back over to my couch and sat down. My brain was trying to figure out what happened, finally I told myself it was all a hallucination and decided to stop drinking the rest of the week.

            My wife finally came home a little past 10:00. I asked her where she had been and why she was out so late. She told me she had to stay late at the school where she worked as an elementary teacher. She said something about, a parent wouldn’t shut up about their kid made her late. Not sure about what she was telling was true. I asked her more information she got snippy about how paranoid I was being. She then told me she was taking a shower and going to bed. Not sure what to make of her attitude. I decided it was time for bed. I needed to get up in the morning and do a 12-hour shift tomorrow at the tire plant. I made sure all the doors were locked left the windows opened upstairs but locked all the down stair windows before going to bed. I told myself, “Tomorrow, I’m calling the air conditioner guy to fix the air conditioning I don’t want to have another problem like tonight.”

          The next 2 days everything was fine wife even came home and made dinner that was nice. The air conditioner was fixed cost an arm and a leg. No more dog man, I just chalked it up to drinking too much. My wife noticed I wasn’t drinking and asked, if I was on a health kick. I just told her; I did’t like how it made me feel and it was time to quit.

           Thursday night rolled around my wife was working late, I decided to do some pushups and sit-up’s while watching old Alex Trebek. While old Alex was asking a question about cars and Indians, I don’t remember the exact question. There came a knock at my front door without thinking I just opened it. No one was there. Then I heard a voice say, “Down here.” I looked down and there it was I jumped back from the door my mouth opened. It looked up at me with its yellow eyes. It was sitting in the same position as Monday night. It Spoke, “The answer is Pontiac. I replied with a nervous, “What?” The answer to Trebek’s question, “Pontiac.” I stepped back, “You’re not real no way!” It grinned at me, “Yep, I’m real alright Opie. There’s another one, Apache. Are you paying attention Trebek’s throwing some zingers?” I said, “What?” He replied, “Indian tribe named after a truck. The answer is Apache.” I looked at the TV for a second and started to realize he was answering Trebek’s questions. I asked in a Squamish voice, “How do you know so much?” It Responded, “Well, Cletus if you think about it, it’s simple. We just look through your windows as you watch TV, we just listen and learn. You know you humans get so hypnotized by your entertainment that I could walk in and eat your grandmother and you would never know. Get it grandmother, big bad wolf, you know me being the wolf.” I interrupted his nonsense, “Yah. I get it. Gees, for a wild animal your full of lam humor. Say, why are you here again and why me. I’m sure there’s other houses with screens that you can lick that haven’t been cleaned with detergent.

      It grinned at me again. I would say it was grinning, but I couldn’t tell. It just showed a lot of teeth. It replied, “Well Harold you’re the first human that did’t come unglued at the sight of me. You’re also the first human that got the drop on me. I don’t know how but I just did’t see your fat ass sitting there. Sorry for the fat ass description.” I replied, “It okay my butt is big, too much beer.” It interrupted, “Speaking of beer can I have another?” I replied, “Yah, I guess I quit so you might as well have them.”

       I walked over to the fridge and grabbed a cold one from it and rolled it over to him. He opened the door and grabbed it. Let me tell you, seeing this thing open a door like it owned it made me wonder how much danger we are in from these things. It took the beer and opened its mouth let its big tongue out and laid the beer on the inside of its mouth. I said, “That’s a weird way to drink a beer.” It looked at me with its eyes squinting. I thought, “Oh boy, hope I did’t piss this thing off.” It pulled the beer out of its mouth to reply, “If you must know I have a bad tooth the cold helps numb the pain.” I felt bad for my remark, “Oh, wow I’m sorry. Look let me get some ice.” He made a whimpering sound just like a dog then said, “Please.”

       All this being awkward as it was, I went to the kitchen, grabbed a plastic sandwich bag filled it full of ice. I looked in his direction and told him, “Hey, I’m going to throw this at you.” He nodded his head yes. I threw the bag of ice he opened the door and snatched the ice and closed the door in a graceful manner.

      I thought, “Maybe I should know this things name, it might make this situation a little less awkward.” I asked, “What do you call yourself?” It Replied, “What my name?” I said, “Ah yah do you have one?” He Replied, “Of course, I have one. I can say it in human words, it sounds a lot like the name Lester. I thought to myself, “Wow, what do you say to a creature sitting outside your screen door named Lester. “Well, it’s nice to meet you Lester my name is.” Before I could finish my thought, he cut in, “Your name is Herb, and you have 2 kids one boy one girl and a wife named Josephine. Oya, you had a white and brown coley I ate 2 years ago.” In shock I replied, “You ate my dog. I never had a dog.” Lester looked at me confused, “Then whose dog did I eat.” I grinned, “That was my Wife’s dog. Damn thing barked all the time. Now I know why. To be honest, I can’t get mad it was very annoying. Craped on myside of the bed bit everyone that came near it. Pissed on the couch once a weak. You know I’m kind a glade you ate it.” Lester responded sarcastically, “Glade to get that off my conscious.”

      I thought it best to change the subject So, “Lester what’s wrong with your tooth. He replied, “I bit into some bone on a deer caucus and split a tooth and I have a couple thorns in my tongue I can’t get out. It is killing me.” He let out a Dog whimper a couple times as he adjusted the ice pack in his mouth. It was hard to watch him sit there in pain. I asked, “Would you like me to help you with that?” Lester looked at me with what appeared to be a hopeful expression. “What, can you do?”, He asked.

      I told Lester that I would ask an old friend I grew up with, who is a veterinarian what to do. I told Lester to come by tomorrow. Lester stood up, jump off the porch and ran down the road. God he’s big I thought to myself again. I was intimidated by his presence and this insane idea of helping him. I decided that was not going to stop me from trying! “I hope this thing doesn’t eat me.” I thought to myself. The next day at work I called Charles my veterinarian friend.

Chapter 2

The operation

     It had been a while since we talked last after we got caught up. I explained to him that I found a stray dog with a badly infected tooth. He told me what to do and what I needed. From what he told me, I needed to make sure the dog was worth it because it probably would bite me while I did the procedure. This left me having to decide how close I wanted to get to this thing. I began to wonder if it was just toying with me, and it planned on hurting me.

     It was Friday night; my wife had another teachers meeting. This did’t seem right she never had so many meetings in the past. If I did’t have plans, I would have questioned her further. I knew I did’t have the time, so I let it go. I waited for her to leave for her meeting. After she was gone, I went into the garage Laid out the Items that Charles told me to get. Then I just waited.

      About 10 minutes passed I thought I heard someone walking over to the garage door. Then I heard my name, “Herb”? I said, “Yes Lester.” He asked in a very squeamish humble tone, “You don’t have a gun or a camera in there do you?” I realized he was just as worried about this meeting as I was. I responded in an assuring tone, “Lester, I promise your safe.” He stuck his hugh head in looked around the garage making sure there was no one there. He slowly entered the garage having to hunch down to stand in the garage.

     looking at him in full light he was intimidating but elegantly built. With long and muscular slender arms and legs, fur was gray and tan in color and well groomed. His physique was very close to an NBA player except his legs were built like a dog. Lester’s eyes locked on to mine. I thought to myself, “He’s either going to eat me or not. I hope not!” Lester spoke, “So what did you find out?” I answered, “I need to see how bad it is first?” Lester looked at me nervously and asked, “How do we do that. I replied, “Lester, you must let me look in your mouth.”

     I walked over to my work bench and pulled out my stool from underneath the bench. Lester reluctantly sat down on the bench, like a child getting its first haircut. I looked at him and slowly approached him as he stared at me intently. As I approached him, I wondered what in the hell am I doing why am I not running and screaming there is a monster in my garage. After studying him I could see he was extremely uncomfortable. This relaxed me a little knowing he wasn’t sure about this either. He crossed his arms like a kid huffed then slowly opened his mouth. I instantly could see a big ball of swollen flesh inside his mouth where his right back molars should be. The smell of rotting flesh and puss filled the garage. I covered my nose grab my flashlight with my free hand turned it on and looked. His mouth was a mess his rear molars were barely visible due to the pus ball surrounding them. His tong also had what looked like a big zit on it. Lester spoke with his mouth opened. Sounding awkward and muffled he asked, “How bad is it?” I replied, “Doesn’t look good. This is going to be painful.”

      I felt his hand gently touch my arm. I change my focus and look at his eyes I could see the pain in them. He was looking at me with desperation. I knew then I had to do something for this poor animal. He replied, “I don’t care please get it out.” I asked, “Lester if I do this, please don’t bite me.” He answered, “Herb, I promise you it will be fine please help me.” I spoke conscientiously to him, “I’m going to have to drain it first. This is going to hurt, I’m sorry. Lester opened his mouth wider. I began to work lanced the infected area and drained the puss from his gums slowly reducing the swelling. I could see the tooth that was well rotted. I let Lester know I was going to touch it and not to bite. He made a muffled, “OK.” I touched the tooth, it wiggled, Lester winced his whole body tightened up he whimpered this made my heart break for him. He spoke with a muffled, “Get it out!” I quickly grabbed my pliers that were laid out on the on the bench. I grab a hold of that tooth realizing I had to do this quick, or I might get injured. I pulled fast and hard as my hand exited the danger zone his jaws snaped shut like a mouse trap. Lester fell forward from the stool on to the floor on all fours. He whimpered and kept spitting huge amounts of blood and puss. I looked down at my pliers. I had it, his whole tooth and its roots. It was nasty looking black and rotted to the core.

    I looked at Lester he began to hipper ventilate I put down the pliers and knelt beside him rubbed his back and spoke into his ear column down your good I got it Lester. Slowly his breathing became normal. His body began to shake. I spoke softly Its okay Lester I’m here. I helped him back into the chair. He looked at me with puppy dog eyes. Any fear I ever had of him left I just felt pity for him. I spoke softly to him, “Alright we must clean it and pack it with gauze.” Lester slowly and reluctantly opened his mouth. I could see the gaping hole left by rotted tooth. I quickly cleaned out the wound with gauze and hydrogen peroxide using a pair of needle nose pliers. Lester was okay with all this he did’t cry much or wince. I packed his mouth with gauze where the hole was. I asked him, “Do you want me to take care of your tongue?” He shook his head yes as he opened his mouth, I popped the zit formation on his tongue and removed two large thorns from it. I felt that’s all he needed. I looked at Lester told him we were all done.

    I handed him a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Told him to rinse his mouth with it 3 times a day. To be careful of what he ate. I asked him if he needed me to get some soft food for him I would. He put his hands together as if to pray, realizing this meant please. I replied, “I’ll get you some ground beef from the fridge.” I walked out the garage went into the house and grab some meat and a beer. When I got to the door Lester was standing there. I handed him the food and drink. Told him to come by tomorrow, I would check his mouth. He leaned into me rested his head on my shoulder let out a little whimper and walked off into the woods behind my house. I must say I worried about my new friend quite a bit the next day. I left work early got home to check up on Lester. When I pulled into the driveway, I could see him hiding at the corner of the garage. I got out of the truck and quickly walked over. “Lester you can’t be in the open like this!”, I scolded him. He said in a slight muffled voice’ “I just wanted to thank you.”, with his tail wagging. This threw me off a bit and made me feel, I don’t know like he was my dog but on another strange level.

Let’s get in the garage before my wife gets here. I quickly unlocked the door let him inside set him down to check his mouth. He opened his mouth I pulled out the gauze. I could see he was healing quick I would say faster than human. I quickly cleaned his jaw repacked his wound. I could her my wife pull up, her car a door opened then slammed shut. I could hear her talking to someone on her phone, “I don’t know why he’s home early; I know well let me find out why!” I could hear her opening the front door. Lester looked at me I looked at him in a panicked silence. He said in a whispered tone, “I got to go. If she finds out well this could go sideways real fast.” I looked at him with anxiety, “Well let me go in and distract her.”

    I quickly went into the house; she was busy getting things together to go to a meeting. That’s what she told me. “Okay honey.”, I said. I walked over and leaned into her for a kiss. She quickly walked around me and said, “I can’t make dinner I’m in a hurry to get to the school love you.” Then she went about her business. I looked at her as she walked away from me. She had been rather cold and intolerant of me for a while now. I let it go, “Well honey, I got something I’m working on in the garage. I guess I will let you get back to it.” She ignored me and kept on her way. She seemed to keep herself busy just to keep from being around me. She used to look for reasons to do things with me. I thought after our last child moved out; we would be closer instead she has become colder. Maybe it’s an empty nest faze. I’ll let it pass, what else can I do.

      I shook myself out of thought and hurried myself to the garage. I walked back to the garage opened the door. Lester wasn’t there. I heard my wife’s car door slam shut it startled me, she started the car and quickly pull out and driveway. I asked perplexed, “Lester where are you.” I heard his voice, “Is she gone.” I did’t know where his voice came from, “Yes, she’s gone where are you?”, I replied. Lester responded nervously, “Under the workbench.” I glanced at the work bench I could see nothing unusual. As my eyes focused on a dark corner near the wall under the bench, I could see Lester’s glowing yellow eyes. He blended in so well in the darkness. He gracefully pulled his long lanky body from the small space. How he could squeeze into such a small space I don’t know. He sat back down in the stool opened his mouth I finished packing his mouth.

     After getting him fixed up I went to the house and grabbed some food from the fridge. I handed him a steak and chicken breasts. I wasn’t sure what to give him to eat. I guess something was better than nothing. When I gave it to him, he looked at me with wide eyes and grabbed the food. His face contorted into what I think was a smile for a dog. All I saw were fangs and gums. He said, “I’ll see you tomorrow and left.”

      I took care of Lester for the next two days on the third day I told him, “It appears you’re all healed up.” He said, “I know when the infections gone, we heal fast. I guess that’s that, won’t be seeing you again got to go back to the wild and what not.” I was a little sad I replied, “I guess this is like releasing a wild animal back to its habitat.” Lester looked at me, “That is some of the cheesiest shit you have ever said yet as a human. Back to my habitat, you are so goofy.” I became a little confused, “Well, what am I supposed to say. Seya later or hope to see you again.” He let out a few high yelps wasn’t sure what it meant at first. Then he held his side and made noises like Dick Dastardly’s dog from Wacky Racers, he was laughing at me. A little aggravated I said, “Glade to know I did’t offend you. After he caught his breath from his laugh he said, “Oh herb, I’m not leaving you for good we are brothers for life. I’m like a raccoon you feed me once I’m always coming back for more.

      Forgetting about his stupid sense of humor. I realized he was just messing with me the whole time. “What’s this brother thing mean?” I asked. He cleared his throttle, “You saved my life I will always be by your side.” I thought to myself, “A dog is man’s best friend.” Still giddy at me he asked me, ‘Hay Herb, can I have a beer.” “Sure, there’s some in the fridge.” I Replied. Thinking to myself, “Great, it would figure. I got a dog that drinks my beer.” I asked, “Hay Lester what are my benefits in this relationship.” He stopped his whimsical attitude and gave me a serious look. He responded, “I will do everything in my power to help you and I will always be loyal to you.” With that I said, “Ok I have a Question.” Lester looked at me sternly, “Don’t like those.” I asked, “Don’t like what?” Lester response was, “Questions.” I asked, “Why?” His response was, “They make things complicated.” I said, “Okay, but can I just ask one.” With a contrite look he said, “Sure I will allow one. I may not be able to answer it, but you can ask.”

    Realizing there are things us humans just aren’t meant to know on this plant. This had me perplexed for a second. We are not the only intelligent beings that exist on earth. There are beings that just don’t take part in our activities that live amongst us. With this new understanding, I asked my question, “How come we never see your kind and how do you stay hidden from us?” He answered, “Oh, that’s an easy question. People are so Intune with themselves and their self-centered life. Humans could step right on us, and they wouldn’t notice. I’ve watched television so often just by sitting very quietly outside windows and doors over the years. We know more of your culture than you think. We are very discreet about being invisible to humans.” Lester looked down at the ground for a moment as he contemplated what he should say next. Rubbing his chin, he began to speak, “But not those damn monkeys. I swear they want to give away all our secrets for a joke.” I asked, “What do you mean a joke. He waged his head no as he spoke, “Those monkeys they throw rocks and make stupid noises just so some stupid hillbilly will chase them into the woods. When they get a stupid hillbilly looking for a monkey behind every stick and rock in the forest. They sit behind a tree and laugh there assess off about it. As disturbing and illuminating all this was, I couldn’t help to let out a laugh, “So were just a sort of joke to you and these monkeys. Lester when you say monkeys, you mean bigfoot?” He replied, “Yaa pretty much on both of those. But them monkeys are more like you than us. Damn things always full of shit can’t trade with them they always cut you short. Or give you a story about were all the elk are to send you the wrong way. What’s worse they don’t just do it to us, they do it to each other and find humor in it. Frickin monkeys! Won’t be long till there stealing cars in New York.” All I could do was listen with my mouth open in disbelief. Lester could see the bewilderment on my face, “Well, I said enough. I got to go. I’ll come by in a day. He nuzzled my shoulder and gracefully turned, with to great guzzle type leaps he was back in the woods.

Rate this submission


You must be logged in to rate submissions

Loading Comments