Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Dirt Road,Chapter 6~~A Short Story By Randy Mantovani



Waking to a symphony of dogs barking is an everyday occurrence on the road. Every house had at least one dog and many, especially when hunters were in residence, had many more Usually dogs were not a problem but local packs of wild dogs were always roaming around. They were hunting dogs that were released by their owners after the seasons end. It seems that dogs could be replaced easily so some hunters would release them instead of feeding them off hunting season. It’s a sad situation.

As the dogs get older and more desperate for food they start to raid garbage cans and even chicken coops for food. I have an old hound dog that warns me when anyone comes onto my yard. I am not creative in naming my animals so I just call him Hound Dog.

One night , in late November, the area dogs seemed to begin to bark all at once. Lights came on all over the road. It was not uncommon for dogs to bark but not in such a large numbers. Men, shotguns on hand, began filtering out into their yards checking around their houses.

I stepped out my back door in time to see Hound Dog fighting with two dogs near his food bowl. It was a frightening site. Just as I turned to look for a weapon to help my dog a shotgun blast made me jump out of my shoes. One of the dogs flew back against a tree and laid dead where it landed, The other ran like its tail was on fire.

I saw John Duffy walk around the side of my house. He just looked at me and nodded; walking over to the dead dog and checking it. I took Hound Dog in the house and checked him over. A few cuts but nothing serious. A good dog indeed.

The next morning John Duffy organized a wild dog hunt to try to put a stop to these food raids. Fear of a child being attacked was real. These were good men and would make every effort to capture rather than kill these animals. It would be hard to accomplish especially as we drew closer to their home ground. The fish and game wardens accompanied the hunt as supervisors and to lend a legal aspect to this adventure.

I seemed strange seeing dogs hunting dogs. Hound Dog was left at home. He had had enough excitement for awhile.

As we walked through the woods I could hear dogs barking, fighting and shotguns going off all around me. The men were protecting their dogs as much a themselves. This was a very big wild dog pack.

Traps had been set out and a few dogs were captured that way. They had to be approached carefully and with protective gear on so they could be sedated and taken away. They were the lucky ones. There was no cruelty in the way these men felt about these dogs. There was not hate for these animals. The hate was placed where it belonged; on the heads of those that treated them so bad and released them on their own.

As we approached the den most of the wild dogs had been disposed of or had run off. All that was left was a small pack of puppies huddled together for warmth and confused and crying. They were scooped up and we all headed home.

Next morning I sat on my back porch watching Hound Dog study this little white ball of fur I kept. In my uncreative way I named her Fur.

All was back to normal on the road.



No comments:

Post a Comment