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A Dog with No Name

By Larry Gross · April 2nd, 2013 · Living Out Loud
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When I found out more about the dog late this past fall, I felt bad for what I’d been thinking all those months. I didn’t like the dog — whatever its name was. Turns out it didn’t even have one.

I first noticed him last spring. So did a lot of other people on the street I was living on at the time in Covington. The dog was a Doberman pinscher puppy or a Miniature Pinscher — we really didn’t know which. All we knew was that the dog was vicious or at least gave the impression it was.

During the spring, summer and fall of last year, this dog kept the neighborhood on its toes, and not in a good way. The young couple who owned the dog and lived in the building to the left of me never kept it on a leash. The dog was always running loose. It would run after people walking down the sidewalk, barking loudly. Some people, especially young kids, would run from it. Others would try to show no fear or actually didn’t have any. I did my best to act like the dog didn’t bother me, but it did.  

Walking with a cane, I felt a bit intimidated. Sometimes, I would look out my window to make sure the dog was inside with its owners before venturing out. As the spring turned to summer, more and more, the dog was outside and, more and more, I dreaded the fact I was going to have to put up with its presence.

One summer afternoon, I needed to walk up to Walgreens on Madison Avenue to pick up a few things. I thought the dog was inside, but as I turned left out of my apartment building to walk up the sidewalk, I saw it.

It also saw me.

Bearing its teeth, it ran toward me. With it barking wildly and going for my legs and ankles, my fear turned into anger.

With my cane in my right hand, I whacked the dog on top of its head pretty damn hard. He yelped out in pain and ran back to the apartment building where his owners lived. I stood there on the sidewalk staring at him, no doubt with a mean look on my face. I had rage inside my body. I had turned my cane into a weapon and was glad I did.

From that point on, the dog never bothered me. We had reached an understanding. I would leave him alone if he would leave me alone. I lived in peace with him for the rest of the summer.

In the fall, I noticed that the dog was now outside all the time. When I would go for walks, he continued to leave me alone. When I would walk by them, I couldn’t help but notice he was starting to look skinny.

Around Thanksgiving, it dawned on me I hadn’t seen the dog in several days. Walking up to Madison Avenue, I ran into a neighbor and asked him if he had seen the small pinscher. He said no and that we probably never would again.

Turns out the owners of the dog, that young couple who never had it on a leash, had moved out of the neighborhood several weeks ago. When they moved, they never took their dog with them. That’s why the dog was outside all the time. That’s why the dog was getting skinny.

The neighbor told me the dog didn’t even have a name — that when the owners got him and found out he would actually require some maintenance, they seemed to lose interest pretty quickly. He said the dog was either now dead or in the pound.

I said goodbye to my neighbor and continued my walk up to Madison Avenue. As I walked, I thought of that young couple who had abandoned their dog. I felt disgust. Why would they do that to an animal?

I no longer live on that street in Covington. I moved a few blocks up this past winter, but my mind is still on last spring. My mind is still on that dog.

Knowing what I know now, I never would have hit him with my cane.  I probably would have bought some food for him. Also knowing what I know now, I would have called Kenton County Animal Control to have the dog picked up and to get him off the street.

Maybe someone would have adopted him. Maybe someone would have given him a fair chance at a decent life and maybe someone would have even taken the time to give the dog a name.



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