The Dogs of Sherburne : A Great American Dog NOvel by author Tom Mody

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Meet the Dogs of Sherburne
dog Dallasdog Sugardog Scooter
dog Laddiedog Scampdog Sam
dog Hobiedog Generaldog Brandi
dogs Tuffy & Mitsy

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Author Contact:
Tom Mody
Mody Company Creative
607-336-6233 ph | 607-336-6232 fx
56 West Main, Norwich NY 13815


Author Notes | Chapter Excerpts | Fact or Fiction | Paw Prints

Chapter 10 Excerpts

Milk Bone Hysteria

"I couldn’t help it. I loved milkbone brand dog biscuits. Master Mother would toss them across the linoleum and in my hyper state I’d struggle for several seconds to secure the treat as it slid away from me time after time. Once it was trapped in a corner I could flip it up and snatch it in my salivating jaws and I’d barrel outta’ control through the dining room to the living room.

An innocent two year old toddler still green to this world, short of balance and anticipation, was no match for a grown dog in hyper-happy mode. As she made her way babbling through the dining room she met my charge and I tossed her aside like a dead flea enroute to the living room. I never stopped to look behind. I paid no matter to the smack on my head. I never considered that Nat wasn’t strong enough to brush herself off and carry on. I just wanted to get to my slab of slate near the fireplace and chow down."


Master Disaster

"I charged towards the boys quite frankly scared of the metal beast due to the startling sounds and smells of full on screeching tires. Seconds later the Trans Am burst out the school driveway and rounded the corner. All the boys freaked and scattered again. I followed Master Tom as he headed for Captain’s house. The front porch wouldn’t be cover enough for him. He ran down the back driveway and leaped upon the stone stoop only to forget about the tin doors to the cellar which lay flat across the stoop. His full weight came down on the flimsy metal and he collapsed through, fortunately grasping the outer rim and hanging by his fingers. It was a radiant forceful sound and Captain’s whole family rushed to the back door as if something had crashed into their house. Master Tom sheepishly looked up, dangling in the cellar passage and was assisted out by Captain and his father, the latter which didn’t seem amused. As I peered up I was able to get a live peak at the mangily poodles Tago and Pierre shaking in the arms of the two Sister Masters from the disturbance. Their startled unsettledness seemed to make Master Tom’s embarrassment worth while to me."



"Sam came across as your average good dog. He didn’t try to promote his nobel stature like Laddie. And though he wouldn’t be easily bullied by General, he preferred to avoid the confrontation, secure in his own skin. Outside his skin he was shaggier than myself though part black lab with a setter mix. He possessed alot of the same qualities as his Master Jimmer- Strong, silent, amicable, and a closet juvenile. As Master Jimmer began to spend more time with the village kids on their nightly carousing, it was becoming clear that Sam was not the straight laced honor dog keeping his nose clean."


Mating Rituals

"For some dogs we prance around and sniff and show some dominance to our intent. Other times we spring from the bushes like savages. Actually, it’s the latter that’s the more evolved approach. You’d think the savage primal surprise mounting would be that of our brutal ancestors but really it’s more of an enlightened realization. We’ve finally desocialized sex- at least when the female breed is smaller. You have to admit, it’s not alot of fun tryin’ to woo your intent in dance when your loins are really achin’. With a smaller and weaker mate the outcome is generally inevitable anyway so why waste time and energy- and in your case, money, buying beer after beer. Animals at a lower evolutionary state tend to need some mating rituals. Those can still be necessary, particularly when the female is large and bitchy. In hind sight, I can see the positive effect alcohol would have on easing the advance on these types. Still, I prefer to revel in our ability to move beyond rituals and make better use of our time."


A Step Closewr To Humanity

"A few days later I happen to be heading down South Main Street when the ole’ brain chemicals nearly had a human response breakthrough. Sam approached from his driveway and snarled a bit at me. He had a cumbersome cast on his bone shattered front leg. He was in no condition to berate me with threats and I paid him no attention. I kept an eye on him though as he backed off towards a flower bed and lifted his leg to piss. Because of the weight of his cast his whole balance was off and he fell right over into the flower bed. It took him a moment to gather himself but I’ll tell ya’, inside both of us were sittin’ on the preceface of human emotions.

In my way I was laughin’ my ass off and in his way he was embarrassed as all doggie hell. I could feel it in my head, my brain screamin’ “this is funny, do you get it”. It kinda’ tickled. It caused the muscles in my face to tighten and my gut to vibrate. No, I didn’t get it at my doggie level of earthly comprehension but I found myself recalling the incident throughout the day and having the same physical responses."


All Hollows Eve

"And I most certainly never wanted egg on my face. But that’s what I got during Halloween of 1980. Halloween in downtown Sherburne was something I could really appreciate. There was bedlam, hooliganism and chaos. There was revelry, camaraderie and treachery. There was a big mess. As I look upon life in this new century, I know I was livin’ at the best possible time because these days there’s no way in doggie hell, human hell or any other unfortunate species hell, that kind of controlled environment war would be tolerated."

"...I guess the continued rotating lights stayed on to keep the peace while a “thud” struck combatant was attended to and escorted away. The blood shed was official and adults stepped in to fray the crowd. Obviously the “thud” struck side was pissed over non “splat” objects being thrown and more “thuds” were thrown on both sides but the human adults with uniforms (all three of them) quickly got control and the war was finally disassembled. This usually meant that many of the kids would continue on in their inner groups with some type of side street pranks and minor skirmishes about the village"

"...The boys headed all the way up towards Laddie’s home but took the final right turn on to East Street South. A few houses down one of them pulled out a lighter and started the bag on fire. They tiptoed up to the nearest door and rang the door bell, dropped the burning bag on the stoop and dove into some bushes down the street. Laddie and I were utterly confused. More so than normal for dogs and we wandered up to the stoop only to get a charred wreak of my waste bellowing from the smoking bag. The door opened with some senior citizen holding a tray of goodies immediately spewing profanities as smoking burned dog shit blew into her home. Why get mad at this? It’s TRICK or treat and you got the trick. That’s the chance you take for opening your door on Halloween.

So were standing there looking up at her and she spews on at us about God damning us dogs. I’m thinkin, “stop chewin’ me a bone lady, like I’m clever enough to crap in a bag, then pull a match from my ass, light it and toss it up on her porch”- I wish! She doesn’t even kick the bag off her stoop. Smoke is spewing on her tray and so she just chucks the whole tray of goodies at us and slams the door shut. This turned out to be a very fortunate incident because it was full of cookies. I guess she wasn’t comfortable giving out shit steamed cookies to the village kids. Laddie and I had no misgivings, we ate the whole bag of shit steamed cookies."


Lost Dogs

"Gun shots finally interrupted the only extended sleep we had achieved. Our fur was wet with dew and chills ran through our skin. Light was bleakly piercing a dense fog as morning ascended. More rounds were expelled and I rose to my feet in concern. Laddie attempted to get up but his hip was stiff and he dragged himself forward a few paws to stretch out beyond the log cover that encased us. He finally got to all fours but was seriously limp. We didn’t realize the danger we were in as it was not the best morning to be an animal in the forrest. November 1st was the start of hunting season and it didn’t take more than five minutes to spot the orange clad attire of the modern day hunter. We were tempted to approach the first ones we saw for food but they began blasting away at some distant target and that scared the crap out of us. We wandered off, much more slowly than we had entered the previous night."

"...As the indecision continued to spin, a doe staggered to the creek. I perked up immediately. She grimaced as she bent down to take a drink. She was there only seconds and turned back towards the bordered woods. I was prepared to make a move of some type. I didn’t know how to jump these things. I could feel it inside of me, the juices, the chemicals, all gearin’ me up but I was too domestically evolved. It seemed like messy business but deep inside me I was still animal, it could take over. Moot point, the doe just collapsed before it reached the woods. It had been carrying a slug for the better part of the day and it’s blood had run too low.

I approached the curiously dormant animal and was drawn in by the body heat still present. It may have been barely alive but in shock or just on the verge of an exhaustive death. As hungry as I was, the body heat was drawing my full attention. I dug in next to the animal with my back as tight as possible to it’s extinguishing heat and I curled the rest of me fetal to keep in as much warmth as possible. I awoke some time later bone chilled. All life and external heat had vanished from the animal. Now I had to address my hunger and possibly my failing health.

I understood this was my meal ticket and had I procured my own personal butcher on this mission I’da had no trouble chompin’ on some hacked lag of the creature. Unfortunately, I needed to borough my own jaws through the fat and the cartilage and the bone of the creature that was twice the mass of me. I decided to start where many predators are drawn, to the scent of blood. There was a streak of red down it’s left side which began just before the back hip. I eased my tongue across it’s fur to expose the wound and was taken aback momentarily by the chalky burnt taste that was apparently gun powder. I muddled through and wiped that taste as clean off the wound as possible then started to tear at the small hole of exposed flesh. I was tepid at first but the meat was fresh and still warm from the inside. That got the old ancestral blood percolating and I began to feel a surge of energy in anticipation of the meal to come. Within a minute I had ripped the fur and skin aside and was able to take my first jawful of relatively fresh kill. It seemed to tingle my taste buds like a hidden hope chest. The sensations had laid dormant in the vestige of my ancestry and now much of my past was becoming clear to me."