Brown Boy deserved better ending

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

He was Brownie or Brown Boy. That’s what I called him, but I don’t know his birth name. He was a chocolate lab, but gray fur around his mouth told me he was not a young dog.

It was obvious he once had an owner or at least was once around humans who gave him attention, maybe not always positive attention. He wanted a touch and at the same time was afraid of a touch.

Brownie appeared out of nowhere several weeks ago accompanied by two other dogs. All three probably dumped by people who decided they no longer wanted them. (That happens a lot in this county).

The first time I saw them, they were on the shoulder of the road a couple of miles from my house. I hoped they belonged to someone and were just doing a bit of roaming.

A few days later, they ended up near the dirt road that goes to our house. Everyday I passed hoping not to see them, hoping they were back home — hoping they had a home. And everyday, they were there raising there heads, looking at me with sad eyes.

After a week, neither my husband nor I could take knowing they had no food. So we bought some dry food and gave them a meal once a day.

The other two warmed up to me immediately and came running, tails wagging, offering their heads for petting. Brownie not so much. He made wide circles around the bowl of food getting a little closer with each pass. Finally he’d run up, grab the bowl in his mouth and take off to what he felt was a safe distance. Then he’d gobble up every morsel.

This continued for a week or so, but each day Brownie got closer, even letting me touch his head one morning.

“Good boy, Brownie,” I said as I lightly touched him before he ran back to his safe space. “See I won’t hurt you.”

Then week before last, Brownie overcame his fear. When I drove up, he ran to the car and stood waiting for me to open the door. He followed me as I got the food ready, his tale wagging the whole time.

“Good morning, Brown Boy,” I said as he pushed between the other two dogs who were panting at my feet. “You aren’t scared of me today?”

In answer to my question, he dropped onto his behind and lifted a paw offering me a shake. I laughed, took his paw and then rubbed him under his neck. He looked up and if dogs can smile, that dog smiled at me.

The next day Brownie died.

My father-in-law told me one of the stray dogs was lying beside the road. When he described him, I knew it was Brown Boy.

Sure enough, when I went to feed them, I saw him in the grass. The other two dogs sat beside me barking and crying in the direction of their friend. They seemed to beg him to get up and join them. It was one of the saddest sounds I ever heard.

Later, my husband buried sweet Brown Boy while his friends watched.

So why am I sharing this story? I want whoever dumped these dogs, and anyone else who makes the decision to dump an animal to know it is the wrong decision and the outcome for these animals is rarely a good one.

If you choose an animal as your pet, you make a commitment to a living thing. It is not disposable property you toss aside if you get tired of it, or when it gets sick or old. Animals are as much a part of divine creation as we are and they deserve our love and care if they are our pets.

And, I write this for Brownie, a good Brown Boy who deserved a happier ending.