General Fiction posted October 4, 2021

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
One snake spoils a day out.

Mugs; Beauty Learns a Lesson

by Mabaker12

A few days later, we got a call that we could bring the dog home. Frank had a few chores that couldn't wait, which meant it was late in the day when we got to town.

The vet had bathed him, and did I get a shock. I realised then the name we had picked out was perfect. He looked like a cross between a tall spaniel and an afghan, with longish black hair tinged with gold, that had covered with dirt and filth.. A long pointy nose and beautiful brown eyes. Apart from what the Vet told us,

"He had to be trimmed. His coat far too mattered for anyone to get a comb through. However, once he grows a fresh coat, then I get the name Beauty." He looked a beauty. Why the man who had owned him had treated him so terribly, I could not fathom.

Later, when our presence didn't send him cowering into his kennel, he and I spent long hours talking. One such time, he turned worried eyes on me and asked.

"This word friendship often comes up, and you keep calling me that other word, friend, Mugs. What is that and do they taste nice?"
"Oh, you don't eat a friend Beauty. A friend is another dog or cat or a human who you are really fond of. Someone to lie around and be available for conversation on any occasion. And to play with. How does that sound?" I asked softly.

"Mugs, that sounds wonderful. If sometimes I mess up and forget something, will you remind me?"

"You'll be a good friend, Beauty. I just have this inner feeling, and! Of course, you must include Frank. He really likes you already. How does all this talk about friends sound to you? Do you reckon you can handle it?"

With a happy 'woof,' Beauty bounced into the air, then raced around his enclosure. I just grinned at him.

Unfortunately, the only human he had contact with had mistreated him to such a degree he pulled back every time Frank made a gesture towards him. I tried to explain to him that Frank meant him no harm. But I was no more successful. "I'm frightened. Human males are cruel, Mugs." was his fearful reply.

Poor Frank. He hadn't a snifter of success. We talked between ourselves, and the topic came up when people commented on his dog being such a magnificent creature. However, the advice of one man stayed with us.

-Continue doing what we did for him, only don't speak to him. WoW, that sounded a drastic step. There is no need to be harsh. Don't be cruel, when it is his last meal of the day, just wait a little while, still not speaking, but letting him know if he had something to say now would be a good time-

And so Frank brought his food bowl and stood silently watching him eat, and strange as that sounds, it appeared the correct method.

Beauty wasn't being sulky or hard to please. He'd never had a friend, and didn't know what to do to correct that. Never in his life could he remember a human taking time to talk to him. Therefore, he became a browbeaten, silent dog.

Frank persevered, and one magical evening after he had placed the food bowl down, Beauty licked his hand. It was the merest touch of his tongue, but Beauty had spontaneously made the first move.

"Did you see that, Mugs? Do you reckon he is trusting me?"

Things went faster after that. Beauty would stand up straight when he saw Frank and his bowl arriving, his tail thumping out a welcome, and he graduated from a lick to laying his head in Frank's hand or on his knee.

"You know something, Mugs. I reckon you and I could let him know he can come and go, not contained by an encloser. The day Frank left the door open was rather spectacular.

Frank had located an old scruffy tennis ball and rolled it towards Beauty, who sat staring as it came toward him. For the next while, his eyes never left the dirty thing. Sitting as he was close to it, he put his paw on it and it rolled. Tilting his head sideways, he dragged his foot backwards slowly. And the ball moved as well. Lifting his paw, he stared at the ragged old ball. Then, to our amazement, he placed his paw on the ball and made it roll.

Whipping his head around, he gave a soft woof, and Frank went over and hugged his head. Because Frank was leaning over Beauty, I couldn't tell what the dog felt at this invasion. Then I saw his tail wagging.

After that first display of affection, the dog went all mushy, and I found it difficult to hold a conversation with him. He wouldn't let Frank out of his sight. I felt somewhat left out. I never said a word about bruised egos. Until one afternoon, Frank suggested a drive.

Frank searches for geodes, a rock that contains a crystal of lovely colours. When the centre is exposed. I've been with him on other weekends of relaxation for Frank. Once in the region, Frank released Beauty, who took off at a crazy pace. Being a dog of restricted activity, that's when danger struck.

Myself, I'd urgently needed soil. Being mindful of manners, I had gone behind a huge gumtree, and perhaps in a dream, when the air was rent, by a bloodcurdling scream. Frank needed help! I ran.

However, it wasn't Frank in trouble. Beauty stood, shaking, one front paw held upright, while the whimpering sound went on and on. His face turned to the scrubby land on either side of the track.

Frank and I made it to his side together. "What happened Beauty?" Frank asked, distressed. The dog shook his paw in pain, his eyes so dark from pain, they looked black.

"Snake bite, Mugs." Frank grunted the words at me while he scooped the now convulsing dog and stood upright.

Once in the car, Frank showed a side to himself that I never knew existed. I glanced at the speedo only once on that mercy dash and almost passed out. We were travelling at 120 M.P.H. On a racetrack, this speed had a time and a place. Here, in a private car speeding along at one hundred and something clicks a minute, my sense of adventure had left and taking the rent money, fled the scene.

To Be Cont.

Mugs makes friends with the dog they name Beauty. He is scared of humans and Mugs tries very hard to help him. Frank decides a weekend searching gemstones a great idea and the dog gets bitten by a snake.
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