A dog’s purpose

Our dog, Eeyore, is a basset hound, or as we say in our family, a baskethound.

As far as I can tell, Eeyore has one mission in life: to love us. That is his purpose. Wherever we are in the house, there is Eeyore. God help me if I sit down on the floor. He’ll plop onto my lap before my butt touches the ground. He loves us, desperately, like a teen-age boy loves the prettiest girl in high school. But not from afar.

I know many dogs have other purposes. I’ve watched dogs pull sleds in Alaska. I’ve seen sheep dogs round up their charges. But I had never seen a true “guard dog” until last week.

Near where I live, a man has chained up a pit bull outside a deserted barn to guard the precious contents inside. I know this because I contacted the local animal shelter to tell them of this dog, which I thought had been abandoned. When I called, the operator told me I was the 10th person to call about the dog. She said that because the man checks on the dog twice a day, he isn’t breaking any law. According to her, the man is afraid if the barn is left unguarded, someone will break in and steal his tools. Thus this guard dog, who spends his days chained up there. No walks. No chasing a ball. I hope the man spends a few minutes petting the dog and playing with him, but whenever I see the man working there, I see neither of those things.

I can’t even get up and walk into another room without Eeyore following me. I think if this hound was chained up outside an abandoned barn, he would go insane and die.

I’ve thought about sneaking the guard dog food, just to make sure he isn’t hungry. I’ve thought about stealing the dog if he would let me close enough to take him. All of these suggestions go over like a lead balloon with my husband.

I usually close these blogs with some resolution or tidy conclusion. But I don’t have one for this blog. Just a conviction that whatever tools are in that old gray barn, they’re not worth the price the dog pays to guard them.