AJ (2nd excerpt)

This is the second excerpt of my short stories.  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

AJ didn’t bark or make any sounds at all.  We would have been worried about that, but Buddy didn’t bark for days either when we first got him.  Maybe it’s their way of getting used to the new surroundings, just sitting back and observing.  When AJ finally did bark it was this little hoarse sound that made him sound like he had laryngitis.  He has these beautiful eyes that usually have a contemplative expression like he’s assessing the situation.  His eye color is the golden brown of a chocolate lab instead of the dark brown that most black labs have and his eyelids come down over his eyes slightly to give him a hooded look.

Because he had this great ability to jump from zero to very high without any effort, he didn’t understand that the bed was off limits to him.  When I left in the morning to go to work, he would jump up on the bed and snuggle up to Mitch, who sleeps very soundly.  One morning, Mitch woke up and felt a presence in the bed touching him, he looked at the clock and saw it was 6:30 and thought I was still asleep.

He nudged “me” and said, “Susan get up, you’ve overslept.  It’s 6:30 you need to get up.”

A black head raised up and looked at him all bleary eyed and then went back to sleep. Mitch decided that if that was the worst AJ did, then he could live with AJ sleeping on the bed.  So much for “dogs don’t belong on the furniture”.

We also discovered something else about AJ.  He liked to chew. It didn’t matter what it was, if it was within his reach, he would chew on it.  I had a pair of old leather Keds that I kept at the end of the bed and wore around the house.  I came home from work and there were my shoes, one was now an open toed sandal and the other had no heel.  Apparently AJ didn’t like me going to work and leaving him home.  I threw them in the trash and Mitch fished them out.

“Why are you keeping the shoes?” I asked.

“Well maybe if those are still there on the floor he won’t bother anything else.”

I was skeptical, but I thought, what the heck?  I’ll try anything.  This was my first exposure to a dog that chewed up my shoes.  Well we were wrong, AGAIN.  AJ didn’t stop at the shoes.

I took Mitch to work one day and left the dogs at home.  I was only gone for 30 minutes, just 30 minutes.  How much damage could he do in that period of time?  As I opened the door, there was AJ waiting in the entry hall just like always, happy to see me.  I held my breath and hoped for the best.  As I walked into the living room total chaos overpowered me.  The floor was covered in shredded pages from a travel-guide – obviously not a destination AJ wanted to go.  In the middle of the room was one lone mangled hiking boot.  The padded top that cushions the ankle was gone – chewed to bits.  AJ was right next to me wagging his tail showing me how pleased he was of his handiwork, or should I say molar work.  It even looked like he was smiling.  I picked up the boot and looked at it closer.  The tongue was gone, probably in his stomach.  There were pieces of orange foam on the floor.  Closer examination determined them to be an insole.  How he got that out of the boot was beyond me.  It dawned on me that I only saw one boot.  So the search was on for the other boot.

I started looking from room to room searching for the other boot, picking up pieces of the boot top of the first boot.  I don’t know, I guess I thought that maybe I could glue them together and put it back on the boot and maybe nobody would notice.  I found the other boot in the bathroom almost unscathed.  The tongue had been chewed, but otherwise it was still wearable.

I walked out of the bathroom with the boot, looking for AJ thinking that death was too quick and easy for him.  There he was sitting there waiting patiently by the bed in the bedroom not realizing how close he was to death and mayhem.  Time for plan B.

Come back for more.

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