He was my dog
until it was discovered
he made my father sneeze – Bruno
part collie, part shepherd
part alter ego.
I taught him to jump the rail around the grass
so I wouldn’t have to let go of the leash.
I taught him to leap the benches in two steps.
I taught him…
I sound like why, I taught him everything he knew
but that was true. And he was smart.
[Or simply eager to please. Or both.]
As it happened his mother had just died
and the superintendent who had given him to me
was glad to have one of the pups back.
He ate whatever she cooked for her husband –
barley soup much of the time – and
in the morning she would give him a saucepan
of café latté (not yet called that) with a kaiser roll in it
that Bruno seemed particularly fond of.
When my tiny world got bruisied you could
always find me recounting my mini-tales of woe
to my shaggy friend, always willing to share a
corner of his kennel with an old pal. I would stroke
him and he would do his best to commiserate.
And to this day the scent of musty straw
holds a profound comfort for me.