Odie’s Tale (Tail)

Odie’s Tale

The adventures of a black Labrador Retriever.


The beginnings of this story were told to me by another, so I cannot verify the facts of the case, however, I do believe them to be accurate.

His adventures began at a very early age, perhaps too early.  This tiny puppy was chosen by a family in St. Anthony.  He was to be the companion to a small child, the old Christmas puppy story.  The thing is, he was an alpha pup.  Every fiber of his being told him to dominate, to lead.  The story is familiar, crawling child grabs puppy, pup nips child, and the dog spends the next six or seven months, tied by a short rope, to a small doghouse outside.
Mid summer arrived and the family moved to Labrador, leaving the now nearly full grown dog, in the care of an elderly woman.  He was far too full of energy, nearly starved for human interaction, and completely out of control. Unable to deal with the exuberant beast, the woman contracted with a neighbor to have the dog shot.
The man had been out hunting birds, and did not change the load in his shotgun.  He took the dog out onto the barrens near Goose Cove.  The dog broke loose and began to bound around, so the man fired, the dog fell, and the man drove away. 
Sometime later, the dog revived, one eye ruined, two teeth shattered and driven into the flesh of his cheek, and several other painful spots on his body.  He was alone.  For the next seven or eight days, he survived on the cold barrens, finding water and whatever food he could. Fate finally intervened.
A young woman and her boyfriend were driving past when they saw the dog running loose.  They stopped and she tried to call him in.  Nearly starved, and dying for company, and still half mad with pain, he came close, but was too afraid to let her touch him. They returned home where she took some cold chicken, then they returned.  This time she was able to get him into the car.  They took him to the police in St. Anthony.
The police agreed the dog had been badly abused, and they promised to investigate, so she left him there.  Having no place to keep the dog, the police took him to the town pound. There he had forty eight hours to be claimed, or he would be taken out and shot.  At least they fed him.
At this point, We entered the picture and can testify to the events that followed.  Some men were painting the fire hall next to the pound.  They noticed the dog and the sad shape he was in.  One was a personal friend, so he called and asked if I knew anything about a one eyed Labrador.  I didn’t, but, intrigued, my partner and I went to see him.  His eye was ruined, his face swollen double with infection from the shattered teeth, yet he wagged his tail at K as if to say, “You want to play?”
Needless to say, we took the money we had saved for a summer holiday, took the dog, drove the five and a half hours to Corner Brook, and found a dog friendly hotel.  We named him Odin, for the Norse God of Wisdom, hoping some of that wisdom would rub off.  He rode all the way to Corner Brook with K’s arms around him, channeling Reiki healing energy to ease his pain. That night, Odin lay between out bed and the hotel room door, growling softly at every set of footsteps that passed near.  His new pack would have its protector.
We dropped him off at the vet’s the next morning, spent the day shopping, then picked him up the next day.  He was a sorry looking sight, face and belly shaved, with a big plastic cone over his head, yet there he was, tail wagging, putting the charm on all the ladies who worked there.  This guy is nothing, if not a ladies man.
He’d had his eye removed, teeth and face fixed up, and neutered.  Once again, he rode the five hours plus home, in the back with K channeling Reiki.
It wasn’t all fun and games from there either.  Our other dogs weren’t too sure about this new guy, and being half blind, he kept smacking into them with that plastic cone.  The small terrier tried to show him the ropes, and eventually he learned to fit himself into the pack.
Over the first couple of years, he and I had our trials.  He was terrified of being left behind, so whenever I went grocery shopping, running errands, or whatever, he would destroy the house.  I tried kenneling him, but he had a panic attack every time he was put in the kennel.  By this time I had given up on him gaining wisdom, and had shortened his name to Odie.
We did work it out, mainly because we both wanted it to work.  I used everything the Dog Whisperer’s books and TV show could teach, and we made it.  Four misfit rescued dogs, and two crazy humans, managed to form themselves into a pack, and we are a tight pack.
Odie is getting old now, he’s nine.  There is some grey around his muzzle, and his one good eye is slowing losing vision, but he is still Mr. Happy, tail always wagging. I watch him sleeping in the sun, his tail thumping on the floor, and I realize that Odin blessed him with wisdom after all, for he has taught me the rightness of my motto: Give up all hope of a better past.  This one eyed wonder truly has mastered the art of living in the moment.  Just watch him trying to coax me into a game of tug-o-war and you will see what I mean.

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