I was running through my neighborhood a few weeks ago during an unusually cool summer morning. It is the normal course of events to bump into people who are walking their dogs. Dozens of them I recognize from seeing almost every day. A Basset Hound named Fred (Yes, he was named after the comic strip, I asked.) A Toy Poodle named Fluffy (not kidding), a Pit Bull named Chops (I didn't ask), and a Mini-Bull Dog named Rocky.
There is one, however, I did not recognize. A beautiful Black Labrador Retriever. His name was Shadow, and he had the most engaging orange- yellow eyes. I wanted to take him home with me. I asked the owner if she was selling, I being half serious knowing it was no way she would part ways with such a beautiful canine.
The reason that this enamored me in such away is traced back to the early 1980's when I met one my best friends a kid hoped to have. He followed me home from school one day. He was good size, about 85 pounds, with a deep black shiny coat of short fur, with intelligent orange-yellow eyes. He had a red nylon collar encircling his neck. He kept his distance at first, about 20 feet behind me at all times. I was actually a little scared, then curious, but I stayed at that respectful distance he seemed to set.
My house was on a corner of two streets, and we used the side entrance at most times. I was on the sidewalk on the side the front was facing, and when I eyed it, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I did not look back to see if was still behind me.
I rounded the corner of the side street toward the entrance of the house. I climbed the stairs of the porch, stumbled, and spilled my books and school supplies all over the place. I hurriedly picked them up and just when I gathered the last of my belongings, he dashed around that same corner like a bolt of black lightning.
I fumbled for my key, clumsily found the lock, and the sound of the tumblers moving settled down my growing anxiety. I push the open door and rush in, closing it in one hurried motion.
Breathing hard, I made the climb toward the third floor apartment of my family. After finally arriving to top of the stairs, I decided to take a quick breather. My mother opened the door a minute later.
She asked me why was breathing so hard. I told her the obvious, I was running. She asked me if I was being chased by bullies, did something wrong, etc. After he repeated questions to which I answered no, she finally told her I was being chased by a dog.
I came inside the house and stood in the kitchen a few moments. Instead of going to my room, as was my usual routine, I had to resolve my worrisome mind. I peeled back the shade of the window to sneak a peek.
He was thirty feet below, sitting on the sidewalk with his tongue hanging out. I swear he was looking up at me.
End of Part 1