One of the dogs wanted outside today at his usual time. It was raining hard and the wind was blowing. It has been raining most of the day and much of it has been hard rain.
I tried to put him off but he insisted. Both dogs must have needed out because the white-faced old lab-mix got up off of his cushion when I headed for the door. I call the old dog Sugar Bear when it rains because you have to coax him outside. It’s as if he thinks that he might melt in the rain.
Sugar Bear was a shelter rescue. He decided to stay with us six years ago. He belonged to a homeless man who died in a pedestrian/automobile accident. It was a sad scene, I was told, because the dog was trying to pull the man off of the street when the police arrived.
Though the man was fatally injured, animal control took the dog away before he died. I was familiar with the man and his dog as I had seen them on the street and talked to the man a few times. A mutual acquaintance told me of the accident.
The dog would not have lasted long in the county shelter. His hide over bones gave him a morbidly gaunt appearance. In addition, his face and forelegs were badly scarred from fights with other dogs and possibly needing to kill most of his food before he could eat it. Lacking proper veterinary care, the poor guy also had a chest full of heartworms. My wife and I rescued the dog before he was euthanized.
The first couple of weeks that Sugar Bear was with us we had to watch him closely. If not, he would head down the street when we let him outside. We assumed that this was in search of familiar turf and his man, who was alive when the dog was taken from him.
After a couple of weeks, it was as if Sugar Bear turned a corner in his mind. He was excited to see me come home from work and wanted to play. He didn't try to leave anymore. He must have come to realize that he had a better life with us than he had on the streets.
In my mind, I thought that it might have been as if he won the doggy lotto. With us he had air conditioning when it was hot, heat when it was cold and he didn't have to stay out in the rain. Best of all, he was well fed every day.
Now, here was torrential rain and both dogs wanted outside badly. I opened the door thinking that Shadow, the Australian Shepherd, would run outside to quickly do his thing and then hurry back. Sugar Bear, on the other hand, I expected would need coaxing but I wasn't going to coax too hard.
Shadow charged out but stopped just before leaving the shelter of the porch. He looked at the downpour and looked back at me as if to say, “Make it stop.”
I turned around and looked at Sugar Bear who was six feet back from the open door. The non-verbal message on the scarred old white face was clear. “There ain't no way, Man.”
Shadow also retreated to the house without adding water to the, already wet, lawn. A little later, when the rain had slowed, I let them both outside again. They wasted no time in seeing to business and hurrying back inside.