Sunday, November 27, 2011

Farewell to Frisky, A Gamble on Poker: Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home

Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home
as told by Bob Walsh: 

Mom and Dad made it clear: Frisky was going back
to the pound. Even if Frisky wasn’t a comfortable fit for
the family, there’s an instant discomfort when you take a
dog away. Crazy dogs bring something important to the party
too. Be it sound, spirit, a presence, whatever; when they’re
gone, there’s a void. We felt it, but in many ways, we felt
helpless to do something about it because of the family’s
financial situation.

Not wanting to try a pound puppy again, Dad must
have been cooking something up in his head. He missed
having a dog in the house too. Then, one day in 1948,
without any heads up, Dad came home with a small dog
under his arm. It was a Cocker Spaniel with a tan coat.
Dad named him Dealer’s Choice. Apparently there had
been a successful night of Dealer’s Choice Poker, and Dad
walked away with $50 in winnings from his card play.
He used the money to buy a dog, which we affectionately
called Poker.

Poker was a great dog and really Dad’s dog more than
anyone else’s. Dad had a red leather chair where he read
the newspaper and enjoyed a smoke. Nobody else was
allowed to sit in that chair, but Poker could. When Dad
was gone, Poker was all ours. He loved to play. I would
take him out back and throw the ball, which he dutifully
retrieved. But often his attention was divided. There was
a cat named Smokey who lived next door. He loved to
taunt Poker.

Smokey looked like his name. He had a smoke-colored
gray coat and bright yellow eyes. He had a way about him
that let you know he was looking at you. You could feel
his eyes on you, turn around and there he was looking you
right in the eye with a bold gold stare. I kind of admired
his gumption, but Poker wanted nothing more than to get
at that cat.

*In the next excerpt of Follow the Dog Home, what Smokey
did to bring Poker to his doorstep and a showdown.

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