Page 112 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneA Dog To LoveAfter my parents divorced, my mother was only able to to rent an apartment in other people’s houses or apartment buildings. Because she was a single working mother, she often had to take in roomers to help pay the rent. She had a difficult time. Regardless of where we lived at the time, my father was always picking up stray dogs to bring to me, he had a soft heart when it came to stray dogs. The one and only dog that he owned when he was a boy was a little bull dog when he lived in Spring Valley, Illinois. My father said that the Sheriff shot him as a part of rabies control. It was standard procedure for the Sheriff to load up his weapon and walk through the town each Spring and shoot strays in order to prevent the spread of rabies disease. No matter where we lived, we knew that keeping a dog was a short time arrangement. The situation made me yearn for a dog to keep all the more.We were living in a brick two-flat and it was during the Christmas Season that my father brought me a bull dog that was probably similar to the one that he once owned. My female cousins were staying with us and the tree was all decorated. All of a sudden I heard screaming and my cousins were running and jumping up on tables and chairs and my mother and sister did so as well. I saw the dog standing in the hallway and chocking and gagging and frothing at the mouth. He looked like a rabid dog on the attack. All of a sudden he vomited and out came a wad of stringed candy that he had eaten off of the Christmas tree. Eventually we saw an article in the newspaper about a lost dog. The people were called and they gave my cousins five dollars.It was during the time that we were living in a building on 65th Street that my father had a friend whose dog had a litter of puppies and that is how Rusty came into the world. after my father took me to pick up Rusty, I was overjoyed to have a dog of my own. Rusty was an Irish Water Spaniel and he had the most beautiful coat of fur that one could imagine. My mother’s friend said that it was a shame that God had wasted such beautiful hair on a dog and not given it to her. The building had a fenced yard and I was able to keep Rusty under control but one day, he disappeared. A friend of mine told me that he saw a sailor walking him down the street with a rope tied around Rusty’s neck. A few days later, Rusty came back dragging a chewed rope. Unfortunately, mine and Rusty’s happy life would soon come to an end. The dog that I always wanted and learned to love would have to be given away because my mother announced that she and my sister and I would have to move. The three of us took up residence on 79th112

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