Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Post: "My dog, Teddy" By Abraham Lincoln

My first dog was a white fox terrier I picked out of a cardboard box. Somebody held me up so I could see in the box. She was typical of the breed, I suppose, and a good house dog that we kept for many years.

Years later when I was at school, in Greenville, and got off the school bus and went into the house on Fort Jefferson Road I noticed that Betty’s bed was gone. I asked mother where Betty was and she said she had Mr. Petry shoot her. I began to cry and mom said the growth she had on her head was cancer so she had him put her out of her misery. We never took her to a vet so I don’t know how mom made the diagnosis.

For a long time after that I didn’t like my mother one bit and I actually hated Mr. Petry for shooting my dog, Betty.

My second dog was a Beagle-mix I called, “Teddy.” Teddy was a good dog, but unlike Betty, who laid under the kitchen stove, Teddy wanted out and mother would let him out.

On these excursions, Teddy was something of a Romeo and explored the possibilities in our small town. He must have found them aplenty because somebody shot him with a shotgun and he came home, whined to get in the house, and when the door opened he crawled under the stove with Betty.

Mom and I looked at him and his skin was broken in many places and just under the skin were pieces of buckshot. “Somebody shot him!” Mother said. I looked and sure enough, somebody shot Teddy.

As I recall now, mom picked out most of the buckshot and after a few weeks Teddy was good as new and was out and about again. I am sure his friends were glad to see him and no doubt he got to see some of his puppies here and there.

My sister and her husband came one day and talked but I didn’t pay much attention until the conversation got around to taking Teddy away. I started to cry because I love Teddy as much as Betty and Teddy was just getting better and if I coaxed him he would get the ball for me.

My sister and my mother assured me that they would take Teddy to a farmer who wanted a good dog and nobody on the farm would be shooting at him. I asked where the farm was because I would want to visit Teddy from time to time. They told me it was in Michigan.

Despite my protests, Teddy was gathered up and hustled out to the car and he looked out the window at me as the car moved off. I looked around, wiped my eyes, patted Betty on the head, and went out in the yard and cried.

I knew Michigan was farther away than Indiana and it would take a long time to get there, drop Teddy off at the farm and drive all the way back. I must have moped around and mom saw me and gave me a nickel and told me to get some candy at the store. The money made me feel better and the idea of getting some cash to buy it was like opening your lunch box at school and finding soda pop in the thermos and not vegetable soup.

Off I skipped to the grocery store. I totally forgot about Teddy for a few minutes. I bought all the candy a nickel would buy in those days.

I saw a couple of friends at the store and we went outside and sat on the curb. Now; unlike when I didn’t have candy, they were “my” friends and listened to me recite my bad luck story about losing Teddy to a farmer in Michigan.

Later, when the last taste of chocolate had disappeared from between my teeth, and my friends had gone, I walked slowly back home.

To my shock, my sister’s car was there and my heart raced because I imagined they had returned and brought Teddy back with them. I raced, barefoot, down the graveled street, and into the house letting the screen door slam behind me.

“Where’s Teddy?” I practically screamed.

My sister said, “We left him at a farm in Michigan.”

Liar – I knew she was telling me a big lie because it takes a long time to drive from Gordon, Ohio to anywhere in Michigan.

“You dumped him, didn’t you?” I yelled with tears flowing down my cheeks. Mom said, “He will find a good home in the county, Abe.”

Just like that, my dog, Teddy, was gone for good.

1 comment:

  1. That was a despicable way to handle that situation. I do not blame you for not liking your mother and hating the dog killer. That should have been your emotional reaction. It is completely normal. Obviously, they were poor and did not got to a vet. That small expenditure of money would probably have changed your life.


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