Birkie was a well-travelled dog and my father theorized that it was my sister’s moving about that changed the dear little fellow’s upbeat personality. My father described Birkie as “upbeat” we thought “aggressive” was more accurate.
My parents adopted Birkie so he wouldn’t have to move about, and soon after they adopted the custom of wearing brown cotton work gloves. This was more out of self-preservation than out of fashion or for warmth, as Birkie would bite them whenever they put him on his leash.
My parents never blamed Birkie, the poor little dog, they adored him and fed him treats and encouraged him to bark at the less-then-well-intentioned neighborhood children.
One afternoon my phone rang: Birkie had run away, last seen he was heading toward my house. I ran out of the house and started to look for the little darling.
Then, I heard children screaming. All stealth, I approached the yard that belonged to the twins who delighted in tormenting Birkie by standing just over the boundary of his electric fence and throwing things at him.
I peered around a huge rhododendron and saw that he had the twins and their ten-year-old sister trapped on their back patio. There was screeching without pause.
Birkie had gathered the sand toys, balls, dolls’ heads, and baseball gloves and had put them in a pile. I watched as his gaze swept over the backyard. I held my breath. His eyes stopped at a sun visor, half-buried in leaves and he trotted over to it, growling as he passed the terrified trio on the patio.
All business, he released the visor and let it fell on the pile. Then, the wind betrayed me, Birkie’s head snapped in my direction. I moved.
“Come on, Birkie, let’s go home.”
His mouth opened in a wide-smile, he seemed to nod. He lifted his back leg and relieved himself on the sun visor. He hopped; three-legged around the items he had collected sprinkling each one of them with his urine, giving a final shake over the second baseball glove.
His work done, he scampered past me and headed home.