As one best friend passes, another takes his place

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Did I ever tell y’all about my first dog, Bo?

He wasn’t a little bitty dog. He was a Mastiff and he was big ... I mean really big.

Now, I don’t know about girls and their pets, because I’m not a girl. I know they probably love them just like boys do, but there is just somethin’ about a boy and his dog.

I mean they’re both, sort of alike. You know the old sayin’ about boys bein’ made of puppy dog tails and such, well, it’s true. That was the way Bo and I were.

We were both cut from the same mold. We played hard, and when we rested, we rested hard. If I wasn’t chasin’ Bo, he’d be chasin’ me.

I might have him tied to an old coaster wagon full of kids, but he was always game. There wasn’t anything that dog wouldn’t do. To me, he was the greatest animal that ever lived.

Bo was the first thing I’d ever known that snored. And boy did he snore. After we’d play awhile, Bo would lie down in the cool grass, and I’d use him for a pillow.

I never got any sleep, because of his snorin’, but I’d lay there as long as I could, because if I got up, he’d think that he needed to get up, too. He stunk, too. He smelled like a dog.

He liked to roll in stuff, and the stuff he liked to roll in stunk. It was usually dead stuff. I always knew when he’d been rollin’ in stuff, because he’d run up, tackle me, and try to roll some it on me.

He thought that was funny. Of course, I stunk, too. I smelled like a little boy. But, I figured if he could stand me, I could stand him.

I couldn’t wait to get home from school, because when that bus stopped, I could always count on Bo bein’ up at the top of the road waitin’ for me. I’d race him home, and sometimes he’d let me win.

Then we’d play until Mom made me go in the house to eat. Then I’d feed him, and we’d play until Mom made me go in the house for the night. Bo stayed outside. He was just too big to fit in the house.

One day when I got home from school, ol’ Bo wasn’t there waitin’ for me. I got off the bus, and looked in the old school bus stop that the bread company had put up at the top of the road for us kids to sit in to knock the wind and rain off while we waited for the bus to show up.

Bo would sometimes lie in the shade of the bus stop to stay cool, but he wasn’t there that day. Well, I didn’t think too much about it. I figured he was out chasin’ somethin’, or somethin’ like that. After all, he was a dog.

I ran on to the house, and went inside. Mom was in the kitchen, like always, gettin’ somethin’ ready for supper. Lookin’ back, I remember that she didn’t greet me like she usually did, but I figured she was busy, so I just said hi, and ran on back to my room, to throw my school stuff on the bed. Then I shot out of the house to go play. I saw one of my friends down the road and I ran down to see what he was doin’.

“Hey Joey,” I greeted him. He “heyed” me back.

“Sorry about Bo,” he said.

“What about Bo?”

“I’m sorry what happened,” he replied.

“What are you talkin’ about?” I asked.

“Bo gettin’ killed, and all,” he replied. “You know, gettin’ kicked by the horse.”

“You’re lyin’!” I yelled, and then took off.

I ran back into the house, and grabbed Mom and spun her around. I looked at her and I could tell she had been cryin’.

“Mom. You know what that liar Joey told me? He said that Bo is dead.” I said.

She sighed. “He is Rusty,” she said as tears ran down her face. “I am so sorry.”

“Bo Mitchum?” I asked, and then tears flooded my eyes.

It seems that Greg Hunt’s horses had gotten out, and were walkin’ down our road. Well, those horses didn’t know that that road belonged to Bo, and he’d decided to let them know.

One of the horses kicked back at Bo and caught him upside the head. Mom heard the ruckus and stepped out on the front porch to see what the commotion was. What she saw was Bo draggin’ himself toward her. She sat down and took his big head in her lap and petted him, and that’s where he died.

Man, I couldn’t even eat supper that night. All I could think of was Bo. I didn’t even watch T.V. I lay on my bed and cried.

After a while, my dad came into my room, and sat on the bed.

“I’m gonna give that Greg Hunt what for tomorrow,” I said.

“Now Rusty,” my dad said. “That wasn’t Greg’s fault. That was Bo’s fault. That horse was doin’ just what anything else would have done in its place.”

“But it killed Bo,” I said.

“I know, but stuff like that happens. Now, I want you to promise me you won’t be ugly to Greg.”

“But,” I said.

“I know it’s hard,” said Dad. “But you’ve got to do what’s right. Understand?”

“Yes sir,” I said, but I really didn’t.

“OK then,” he said, and then he hugged me.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I was thinkin’ about ol’ Bo and Greg Hunt.

Now, at that time, I really didn’t know Greg that well. He hadn’t lived there very long and his house was across the Highway, and I wasn’t allowed to cross the highway, and neither was he. I only saw him on the bus going to and from school.

The next mornin’ I got up, grabbed my stuff, and headed out the door. I sat in that old bus stop, and waited for the bus. All the other kids stood at the top of the road, but I didn’t feel like talkin’, so I stayed where I was.

Finally the bus stopped and we all got on. I went to the back and found a seat all by myself, and sat down. The bus made several more stops before it stopped in front of Greg and his older brother’s house.

I didn’t even look up as they got on the bus. The bus took off and finally I looked up, and there, in front of me, was Greg.

“I’m really sorry about what happened to your dog,” said Greg. I tried to say somethin’to him, but nothin’ would come out.

“I’ve got a dog,” said Greg. “His name is Fritz. He’s a German Police Dog. If you ever want to come play with him, I won’t mind.”

That day, I found a new best friend.

A BOY AND HIS DOG,

by Me

A boy and his dog are two of a kind,

Together forever, it seems at the time.

Then the Angels come and take one away,

The other dies too, a little that day.

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