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

Dogs of Sherburne novel coverBuy Dogs of Sherburne Book

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 5 Excerpts


"Though I’d only experienced a few Christmas’, the positive human vibe this time of year was something that transcended to us canine brethren. I enjoy family and the feeling of everyone being together. Despite the species differences we’re all part of the same collective as a family. Master Father comes home from a hard day at the office and reads the paper. Master Tom comes home from school and enjoys an evening of Monday Night Football. I come home from a long day of chasing little girls and terrorizing other small mammals and enjoy... “cleaning my privates” on the soft shag carpet. It’s all good, we’re all together in the warmth and comfort of home after a long day. And Christmas is a strong concentrated feeling of that family togetherness. I like it."



Master Mark & Sugar

"It’s hard to say what connected Sugar to Master Mark. It could be that opposites attract. Sugar, though young, was much older and scruffier looking. Master Mark was a cute blonde boyish looking child. By boyish I mean much younger looking than his age, which happened to be the same as Master Tom’s. He was already a new Master to a beagle named Scooter (dossier to come). There wasn’t the desire for another dog in the family but then again, Sugar wasn’t looking to move in. As I said, he was just smitten. He felt comfortable around Master Mark from the moment his hand was extended at the river. When he hung out at the Sherburne Inn patio he never knew if he was going to get a hand or a boot for his troubles. As he followed Master Mark along the tracks he sensed a freedom in his “back road” hike that was relatable on a simple level. Master Mark enjoyed a nice summers day romp through the not so beaten path and Sugar, though a ways behind, had some much needed companionship while enjoying the same.

As days went by, Master Mark would find the scruffy mug he originally called “Brown Sugar” waiting for him every morning. He wondered how this dog was surviving with no home or steady food supply. They shared many a day together in the summer of ‘74 and as the winter season approached Master Mark was becoming concerned that his occasional companion would suffer. Most villagers by now had assumed that Sugar was their familie’s dog and it may be reasonable to officially take him in. When Master Mark brought this up to his parents he was surprised to learn that they considered him the neighbors dog."


Fire Fighters

"I didn’t realize I was on the edge, the edge of thousands of years of animal instinct and response action. A place where reactions of a miniscule proportion can conjure up savage undomesticated violence. I thought I wanted to divorce myself from the situation but I was held captive by my inability to differentiate my senses. The blur in my peripheral vision and my confusion elevating in my ears made Sugar the only object of any real focus. That singular focus was all that was keeping me from plunging into pure animal. My focus was now so tight that potentially any indiscreet sensory perception could snap the thin thread binding me in the present.

Then Sugar gave me some lip. I don’t mean he started trash talkin’ like he was wearing knee low baggy shorts and hundred dollar Nike’s. These were decades away from being linked to urban rap gone mad on cable sports channels. I mean he raised his upper lip to expose the curved bone of the most dangerous animal attribute.

The fire a hundred yards behind me was emanating at it’s infernal peak. It was brilliant enough to make a sharp sparkling gleam off Sugar’s now exposed left fang. A shimmer that snapped the treads and corroded the edge of my evolution. The flames reflected off his fang like a spark jumping into gasoline. My focus broke and I exploded. Something internal, something of a past life or vestigial instinct sent the command to my brain that an exposed fang means strike first. And so I struck!

Vicious gurgling yelps flowed in piercing waves from my lunges just nano seconds ahead of my attacking jaw. Sugar was momentarily stunned but hoisted his hind legs to an upright position to try and gain the upper advantage. My lunge was too quick and I secured myself upon him with my front paws combating him back to four legs where he belonged. If I only had a damn thumb. Once on top I had no way to grip the fur and flesh beneath my puny claws. Sugar shrugged me off and we proceeded to clash snout first in harmless head smacking. We were both too young and too agile to really allow the other to gain any type of advantage. Being dogs we had no way to secure ourselves to one another other than by jaw and that would be a lucky strike that was probably beyond our ultimate intentions."


The Daily Routine

"For myself, Quinn’s was generally the first stop on my normal days routine. Old man Quinn would often leave crates of plumbs or peaches in wood baskets out front for customer to pick through. As I headed out the door and down the street it was those very fruit filled baskets that were the target of my first urination break of the day. If I hadn’t ventured downtown in the morning, by mid day I was bound to be at the village center as the noon time fire whistle had me scampering to the intersection and howling like the daily crier."


Super Dog

"Underdog? That’s the best twentieth century minds could come up with for a super hero dog cartoon. Gimme’ a break, it’s a cartoon. There are no rules, no limits to the powers and greatness a super hero dog could achieve. Aside from flying (which is way cool!), what was his other great power... beer guzzling. Have you seen the beer gut on this mutt? I mean he must have had hellacious super strength just to get his fat ass flying off the ground unless he was propelled by flatulence from all the beer. Dogs and beer are a sure fire recipe for super power intestinal gas. I understand the play on the name Underdog but the only image that pops into my head is his lifeless carcass under a car. I want to call him “Underthat”.

Why do we care about bringing ugly puke green villains to justice. That’s not our gig. A super hero dog should be able to catch anything- anything! Bullets. Buses. Trains. Jets. Rockets. Meteors. UFO’s. In fact we should be running over cars instead of the opposite. A super hero dog should be able to procreate in more than one position. A super hero dog should be able to piss on a dog warden and melt him in acid urine. A super hero dog should be able to smell shit carried by winds of the jet stream and identify not only the geographic location of the load but from what animal it originated. Forget that, he should be able to smell shit from alien planets. I’ll tell ya what, just give me a damn super hero dog that can open an industrial meat locker with gadget opposable thumbs and I will endorse that cartoon."



"If there were kids at play in the creek or about the village, you often could find one dog who kept a protective watchful eye on them- Laddie. As best that can be determined Laddie had a mix of huskie and sheppard but was most notably a Collie. He was a stray for a time but like Sugar he simply followed his eventual Master’s home and the family, owners of the Sherburne News, took him in. Quite frankly, I don’t have the patience to list all the Master’s in the family. Lots of kids you see. He mostly ran loose anyway. I think I can show the proper respect to his Masters by just saying “a Master of Laddie” at the appropriate time.

...He went and boned a local collie lass that evening. He boned her quite successfully actually and he and his future son Scamp would soon make double trouble for us all."