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 14 Excerpts

I, Canine

"I love being a dog. Even up here in Doggie Heaven where inequities between Master and mutt are revealed in perfect clarity, I don’t want to be anything other than me. Even now that I understand concepts like humor, drive, passion, envy; my allegiance is pure. It’s the genius of God to bestow such complex higher intellect on us and yet, here in Doggie Heaven, we still manage it to our level of simplicity. All this revelation. All this intellect. All this commentary. All put to use to lobby for my rightful earthly legacy- the protection and continued establishment of my domain in time. The purpose is no different then when I was just a “dumb dog” on earth."


Bigger Than We Could Chew

"We picked a semi tractor trailer as our first renewed venture. It was coming into town about 45 MPH and I was pleased to see Sugar take the lead in the chase. He went after the front set of tires on the trailer section. Soon the speed of the monstrous beast got away from him and he laid off. Problem was, he assumed the whole beast was past him and as he cut his chase he veered into the road. Obviously, the back of the trailer was a mere second behind him and the back set of thunderous wheels were about to flattened him into the pavement. As he realized his error he dodged further under the trailer and it passed right over him. The force of it’s currents had him doing a flip or two right in the middle of the road and a car behind the truck came to a screeching break, again almost making a doggie pancake. I thought Sugar may be dead and the driver of the car frantically got out of her vehicle but Sugar was on his feet momentarily. He limped off the road and was sore for a few days. With all the years of street smarts that dog had accumulated you’d think he’d know better- and he normally did. It just goes to show how General had us all off our game."


It All Ends Up In The Same Place

"Master Tom and Beaner had returned from an ice cream run to the Dairy Isle. As you know, I like ice cream and it’s perfectly lickable textures. Particularly soft ice cream. Usually when someone comes home individually from the Dairy Isle they get a cone and I’m often allotted the last bite of the damp wafer. It’s acceptable but unsatisfying. When someone makes an ice cream run for the family it usually means sundaes. When Master Father makes a run he generously gets me a small cup to put in my bowl. Master Tom, however, is not so thoughtful with Master Father’s money. He knows that the more change left over from the twenty dollar bill means more expendable cash for later that night at the Pizzeria.

So, everyone is scoopin’ up their creamy smooth delights and I’m siftin’ from Baby to Nat to Grandpa to Master Father and on down. No one is given up anything and I’m pissed. Master Mother heads to the kitchen but I pay her no attention hoping for some handouts from the remaining family. Little did I know she dumped the remainder of her sundae in my bowl. A little “here Dallas” communication between species woulda’ been nice. Instead it sat there over night and the next morning I had spoiled vanilla soup mixed in with my morning kibbles. Sure, dump it all in there. Week old roast beef, stale hot dog rolls, fridge crusted creamed corn, currently expired canned oysters, less than crunchy bran cereal, and of course, fresh Alpo. Yeah, that’s right, as long as the dog food is fresh I won’t notice the oysters have expired. Gimme’ a break!"


Better To Be Brave- Maybe?

"...General snarled back in what was about the doggie equivalent of flippin’ me the finger and headed on his way.

Not this time he wouldn’t. I leaped from my balcony and tore past Master Father who was approaching me with a freshly pressed rolled up Sherburne News edition. It only took me three giant strides and I was out the front door. It wasn’t open- I leaped right through the large screen as if it were a mirage. My paws barely hit the slate steps as I flew down the walk way and stood on the sidewalk challenging General to do an about face. He did!

The yellow on my belly had been washed away by the kennels mud and we collided. I must admit the impact was far greater than I had anticipated. It lacked any hesitation I had noticed in Snyde’s conflict. I, however, now had a purpose in my conscience and absorbed what I could before being knocked back. It wouldn’t be until later that I let his noticeable strength impress me. I was determined to stand up to General and I came back at him with my own impression of force hoping he’d stand down. He didn’t!"



"For creatures of a higher purpose a convergence can take on many forms. There are numerous random little incidents of time and circumstance that place the participants of a twelve car pile up to that potentially destined event. Many times shit just happens but some times you gotta wonder if there was more to it. A hero emerges. A reporter makes a reputation. A policeman gets a promotion. And unfortunately, people (and animals) die.

You can’t measure a convergence on it’s perceived catastrophic outcome. The drama of the event must be weighed with the necessity and consequence to all involved. Afterwards you must be retrospective, marveling or cursing at the little things which set the stage. A broken alarm clock. A Last minute telephone call. Maybe even a loved one begging you to stay home because of an awful premonition. Or the fact that you are a murderous old bastard and the law was coming to haul your ass away."


Slopstick Comedy

" A pickup truck with an angry tailgating driver slammed into the back of the rickety chow truck. General, the passenger in the bed of that very pickup truck, was thrust forward and violently impacted against the back of the cab. Master George, already seething and on his way to address allegations made against his dog, gathered his rage and attempted to exit the truck but the door was stuck. Pounds and pounds of seemingly unsuitable dog chow was raining down on him, quickly burying the cab.

We heard the crash from below and both boys and dogs from all directions ascended upon the accident. Of course, us dogs were leapin’ in the dog chow like it was snow. It really was pretty good stuff considering how much I hate that damn dog food factory. Maybe it was just really hot and we all were really hungry. Maybe it was just the excitement of the moment and leapin’ around in piles of dog food was the dog lovin’ chaos thing to do."


General's Last Stand

" The chase went along the stony shore, up the bordering brush and eventually on to the outer trails of the Game Farm. These trails are a maze of pine needles and dirt that weave through the small marshy state park. It’s a quiet environment where Rogers Center visitors can explore and absorb the habitat of a New York forest. I don’t recall New York State Park’s ripe with psychotically panicked German Shepherds and bitterly vindictive gangs of mutts spreading dog lovin’ chaos throughout it’s ecosystem. Nope- only in a place called Sherburne, puppy!

There was no chance of humans spotting an owl or a flying chipmunk or a blue bird or even a damn squirrel on that afternoon. The five of us were runnin’ and howlin’ through those delicate grounds like a bunch of savages. No predatorily sensitive little thing would dare stick it’s head out it’s hole, nest or leafy underside with us rampaging the place. We probably scared them stiff for at least the rest of the day. Poor timid creatures probably hadn’t heard a ruckus like that since the last time hormonally expressive humans discovered they were exploring the birds and the bees in a patch of poison ivy.

The trails were sparse with humans and we ran a few off the beaten path when encountered. General had a good pace ahead of us, but for him, the place was full of traps. Mainly the old wooden bridges that ride low, just above the swampy water. There wasn’t the separation of space and fencing that overhung Rexford Falls. As he approached one he stopped on a dime but we quickly came into view. It was the moment he needed though to gather in what was taking place. He never had a second before to just catch a breath. It was muggy and we were quite winded when we reached him. Everything in his body language made it apparent he was going to defend the bridge rather than flee across."


"When I exhausted the air inside of me and felt my lungs tighten, I thought I may have experienced my last breath. However, the momentary internal stillness was a necessary calming point allowing a force of nature to come into play. We’re just animals when somethin’ like this happens. We don’t think about blood loss or consequences of future actions or even pain of our next movement. We do what our instincts dictate until we can’t do it anymore. A fleeing response overcame me as air again filled my lungs. Trauma stiffness had yet to set in and I got to my feet and built up a pace to the corn fields. Numb and in shock I drifted deep into them until I felt safe. At that point I just collapsed, shielded from sun and shotgun among the stalks.

Next thing I remember was the sound of farm equipment in the distance. The sun was in a much lower position and my body temperature was quite cool. Night had come and gone and I had lived to see another day. I tried to get up but I was weak and I needed to adjust to the pain which now wasn’t just exclusive to my wound. That’s what us animals do- we adjust to it. Something would have to be physically broke to keep us from our next survival mode. If I could move and I felt that finding water was my only chance of survival, I would adjust to the pain and search for water. My adjustment needed to be made quicker than expected as the farm equipment was getting closer by the second. It sounded big and it sounded mean so I dragged my hind legs a few yards to get the blood circulating and was able to extend them in a standing position. I managed to exit the corn fields before someone's corn on the cob had dog hair embedded in it."