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 13 Excerpts

Chasin' Tail

" I had to be perfectly skilled- no sudden movements and no jerky reactions. Slowly I could move my head inching closer and closer. My age was starting to be revealed because my spine was creaking a bit more these days. I was still limber enough to twist and curl it ever so carefully, easing to the still lying prize. I was so close now but my body was stretched too tight and my lungs were compressed. I wouldn’t be able to hold my breathe much longer but I it.

I made a desperation nip but it eluded me by a whisker. I jumped to my paws and the chase was on. Around and around and around went the pursuit but my damn friggin’ tail stayed that whisker ahead of me- or was it a whisker behind me? Anyway, I chased it until my front paws began trippin’ over my back paws and my momentum was broken."



Health Care

"I wasn’t necessarily at full health either. I developed worms and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was from that bone’n deer leg. I guess worm and parasite issues can be present but dormant until some onset of stress triggers their infestation. Tapeworm larva coulda’ come from fleas on the deer leg fur. Those white flea collars use to work well for me so I never had too big an issue with them, thus ingesting fleas would seem a reasonable cause. Never mind that those white collars were like dangling a poison soaked rope around your neck. How many times did Master snag me by the collar and eventually stick his fingers in his mouth or grab some food. If a human had lice would they dangle a pesticide spewing agent around his neck for a week?

As I said, it worked great for me so I was cool with it but I only had a life span of 14 human years. By the time some freak illness hits me, I’m ready to cash in my bones. We dogs don’t stress over stuff like this anyway. We’re suppose to have worms in our crap and we carry on with faulty organs and conspicuous lumps. We don’t have jobs and ambitions and responsibilities to stress us out. You humans would handle your health crisis better if you’d digress to medieval times. Accept pain and suffering as a part of life. You get a little cut nowadays and you just apply some topical ointment to heal it fast. Back in the dark ages that little cut got infected and all pussed up. Eventually you got maggots growin in there and they’d hack off your arm and torch it to stop the bleeding. After an experience like that a little cancer and a slow death is one of the more tolerable experiences in life. Then again, there wasn’t as much cancer back then because their animals weren’t walking around with pesticide laced collars."


Bridge of Fear

"A smile almost came across Generals face as he increased his fang exposure. At the absolute peak of his lip’s muscle motion he began to charge towards the two dogs. Scamp had a split second of instinct to respond and did so in the only plausible option. He thrust forward into the metal gate, smacking his head like a battering ram in painful desperation. The gate moved and he shot his full body onto the bridge. Sugar was dumbfounded but it happened so fast his only reaction was to follow suit and he dove under and through the gate just past General’s snapping jaws. General hit the gate flush knocking his head straight to the ground and welting a knot in his skull. The gate “creaked” and turned just enough at Generals impact to make jumping through it seem awkward.

Sugar and Scamp were now on the bridge and about ready to crap. It was a modestly long bridge to a dog and they felt so exposed. Both dogs had no idea how they even got there and as they stood paws away from General they were expecting the worst. After some momentary fog had cleared in his head, General began a verbal assault. Like Sugar and Scamp, he wasn’t sure how to get past the gate and settled for the moment on barkin’ at them in his vicious tones. The boys looked up from below at the commotion and realized the situation. They yelled at the dogs to run to the other side, waving and pointing in that direction. Whether they understood the hand signals or not, they were able to surmise that they needed to get off the bridge and headed for the other side. Once again, they were confounded at the gate. Scamp had already smacked his snout painfully on it and Sugar had no short term recollection of himself even jumping through. So now, all three dogs were standing around trying to figure out how to work these revolving gates- each with different intents.

I’d been up to Rexford Falls a number of times myself but I always went on the bridge with Master Tom. I wonder if I coulda’ figured out the complexity of the revolving gates alone. Yeah, I’m sure I coulda’. I woulda’ been off that bridge, pissed on the gate for good measure and down the road before General’s welt had even peaked. I understand their dilemma though. It’s one thing to have to figure out the gate, it’s another to be on that bridge suspended high up from the rushing waters and rocks and fighting the clock with your intelligence against a cold killer’s will. Given the circumstances I may not have been down the road so fast but certainly I woulda’ been at the gate pissin’ stage of my exit."


Life Less Traveled

"It’s weird now as I learn about things I didn’t understand. My life was so confined. I never saw the ocean, a big city, spectacular mountains or other awesome landscapes of the world. I’m not resentful of this, I had reached all my aspirations during my life and exceeded those of most dogs- particularly in this new century. There was something infinite about my earth which you humans have lost. I didn’t know what was beyond my sensory range. I explored as far as my comfort zone would allow and even further when a damn deer lead me astray. Our reliance on domesticated food and shelter needs kept us from being true explorers but that wasn’t our drive- freedom in domestication was. Still, we looked beyond our borders with wonder yet our shallow doggie reasoning figured it was just more of the same. You humans know just about every inch of your rock and most will leave it with the knowledge that they may have missed some spectacular stuff. I just wonder now how I would have reacted with all the stimulus of a large metropolis or the soothing consistency of the ocean’s flow. Both those scenarios seem boxed in to me. I ultimately just judge them on crapability. On the beach I can crap all over the place. In the metropolis there’s barely any place to comfortably take a crap."


The Ding

"I know you dog “experts” have your theories on why we sniff around so intently before we go “potty”. Sure familiarity to a repetitive area is a conditioning of it but you may not be aware of the “ding”. When we gotta’ go we do what we did previously based on that conditioning but for the most part we just sniff around until we hear “ding” in our heads. That not only identifies the spot but it also signals the brain to empty the pipes. I don’t know exactly what triggers the “ding”. It’s probably subtly different for each of us but as long as we’re maintaining healthy adult bowels, we ain’t goin’ without the “ding”. There are a few problems with this.

It’s very frustrating to hear the ding and be constipated. Once we find the spot the “ding” goes off but the pipes are closed shut. We may reset ourselves and walk around a moment until the “ding” comes again. But after a few unsuccessful evacuations, the “ding” just keeps piercin’ our brain tryin’ to induce us along. When it eventually stops the brain has accepted the constipated state.

Diarrhea is another quirky situation. We’ll just be lyin’ there, not even sniffin’ around or anything and the “ding” just goes off repeatedly. Kinda’ like a school fire drill bell promptin’ us to get out of the building but in a not so orderly way. Sadly, as we get geriatric the whole system just runs in a state of confusion. We arthritically work so hard just to get up that our pipes burst and we mess all over your carpet. About twenty seconds after the accident as we’re tryin’ find a place to hide, our brains go “ding” and were thinkin’, “thanks a bone’n lot for the warning”.

That finally brings us to my situation. I feel like I gotta’ go but there’s nothin’ around that’s ringin’ my bell. Same goes for us dogs who are stuck inside for long periods of time. We’ve got good bowel control so we hold it, maybe get some cramps but it’s not that big a stress. The “ding” is a natural function in us adult dogs and it generally takes natural environments to set it off. Not cement or linolium floors. Maybe when we’re in a nervous situation we’ll crap on a vet’s floor or maybe we’ve got a bit of incontinence workin’ against us. These things can supersede the “ding”. The nerves in particular have precedence and when Master isn’t home in a timely manner or were trapped somewhere that isn’t settin’ off the “ding” then we get really nervous. Eventually the nerves will win out and we spend the rest of the time in a corner actually hoping you don’t come home."


Kennel General

" After about a half an hour the whole grounds began getting all worked up. There was yeplin’ and howlin’, tails waggin’ vigorously- a group sense of anticipation. In a fenced off area that bordered our grounds the breeding females were let out and us males on the “lower decks” were left to pant and prop up on our hind legs with our erections stickin out like flags. All of us except Snyde who increased his testosterone level by struttin’ about as the buffer between the horny hounds and fertile femmes.

Who the doggie hell was he? A Laddie protector of the canine ladies? A General bully of the prison yards? I was soon to find out. I wandered over to the fence’s far border to get a look at these dames. Oh, you better believe they looked nice and groomed and pure. Most importantly, they were primed to mate and that was just the daily diversion I coulda’ used to get through this bummer of a confinement. I’d say I got about five full heavy pants outta’ my tongue when Snyde just blew up like a firecracker. He came roarin’ over at me like he owned the place.

All I kept feeling was that I didn’t want to fight, I wanted to hump. Can’t we all just knock this fence over and get it on with these willing vixens? I guess I was just gettin’ tired of the same old fights. We’re so damn limited in how we fight- it’s all jaw and a little bit of claw. I mentioned before how tired I was of recording the incidents for you. Same old vicious snarl, same old low gurgling. It didn’t have a problem with the confrontation. The animal in me still gets me reacting as I should with all the necessary senses and stimuli on full alert. There was just something bored and fruitless about smackin’ my jaw against another dog’s jaw a dozen or so times. Don’t you college wrestlers get tired of the same old routine? Grab a leg, try to mount on top, go for a headlock, curl the guy up. Match after match after match you do this when you know full well there’s a world of pile drivers and sleeper holds and a host of airborne maneuvers that only limit you by rules."


Post Anxiety Disorder

"After I had filled my belly on dry crunchy kibbles with a processed chicken (pa-lease!) flavor, I wandered over to Joop’s area. The pooled water was settled in the corner of the fenced area that borders the other pasture. In fact, the corner post was right in the center of the pool and the water was evenly distributed to the other side as well. Joop had splashed his way to the fence for some nibbles when he heard my paws slap along the borders of the water. He turned awkwardly bumping his ass against the post- and the post moved! This made Joop uncomfortable and he ran out of the water. He had a very good sense of what is trouble and he knew the post was there for a reason. I however had a different agenda.

I trampled through the water and inspected the post. I shoved up against it a few times and got it to lean quite a bit. It wasn’t long before Snyde found my separation from the group curious. When he came to the puddle, he didn’t exactly know what I was doing but he knew enough not to take his eyes off me. I held off drawing anymore attention to my actions and played around in the water with Joop. Woody and a few other dogs noticed the pool of water and came over to splash around in curiosity as well but Snyde was gettin’ a gut feelin’ there was more to this spot than water follies.

No sooner had things began to relax when the breeding dogs were let out in the adjacent pasture- males and females. There wasn’t time for rotation. The dogs needed to get out and the prison guards were too occupied cleaning the grounds. Our side of the fence just erupted. Dogs were howlin and gettin’ all horny. Having been cooped up for the better part of two days there was a lot of tension to release. It really was madness and Snyde was overwhelmed. He went on a beat down that was as forceful as I’d seen from him. There was major intimidation and jawing to the point of physical contact. He was particularly excessive towards the smaller dogs forcing them off the fence and trapping them to submission. He was successful in squashing this insurrection but internally the dogs were just waiting to burst. You didn’t need empathic powers or human emotions to get a sense of tension in the pasture. It resonated from every creature that was fenced in that lot. I had stood on the water border and watched Snyde intimidate the other dogs. It was now time to move away... to the corner... to the post."