He was the strong silent type, he barked little and wagged a lot. An old brindle Bull dog, endlessly patient with little hands that pulled and grabbed and petted. Always willing to do his what his people asked, to go where they wanted, to meet and greet, to dress up and play the Clown Prince. All he did without complaint, no matter the weather, no matter that he longed for a quiet day of sunning in the yard or sleeping under the kitchen table. When asked to serve he did so, each and every time. He was there to comfort and console his family, healer of skinned knees and broken hearts. Nanny for the nanny less.
He made but one mistake. He got old. The children complained that "he wasn't any fun anymore." The mother that "he couldn't keep up and slowed her down" when she went for her morning run. The father that he "couldn't count on him to watch over the family" when he traveled for business. He'd always been "much too friendly and after all isn't that why he allowed the dog in the house to begin with, so he would keep intruders out? "
Loyal and true, when the little one arrived, he took it in stride. When his puppy antics were too much the old brindle Bull dog retreated to his spot in the yard for some time to himself. The puppy grew mischievous as puppies do. "He chews my stuff," the kids complained. "He bites the leash when I jog," the mother complained. "He needs to be more protective," the father complained. We don't have time for two dogs the parents concluded.
The old brindle Bull dog hopped up into the SUV, pleased to be going for a ride. He sat on the passengers seat and watched the neighborhood pass by. His tail thumped on the plush leather seat, there was the house where Davey, the little boy with downs syndrome lived. He loved to visit him. He'd lay patiently on his side while the child rubbed his belly and pulled at his ears, remaining unperturbed when Davey became excited and wacked him on his big blocky head. There was the park where he went to watch his children play, first t-ball, then baseball. He stuck his head out the open window, cocked it and listened. He didn't hear as well as he once did, but he could hear he was sure, the faint sound of children laughing. The old brindle Bull dog smiled. Maybe they'd go for a walk in the park on the way home.
His owner stopped in front of a concrete building surrounded by chain link and razor wire. He'd never been to this place before. "Lets go," his owner said. The dog hopped out of the SUV and sat at his owners left side. The man took a note from his pocket and pinned it to the dogs collar. It read "My name is Pal. I am 13 years old. My family doesn't have time for me. Please find me a good home." He tied the dog to the fence, got into the SUV and sped away. The sound of Pal's wailing went unheeded. Loyalty forgotten, loyalty unreturned.