Dog.

In the evenings, I pass by a house that I refuse to call a home, simply because its location is full of sad memories for me.

The lot used to hold a run-down, sad little frame of a house, and one that was in tremendous disrepair. It sat on a generously-sized piece of land with many trees but, despite this, the tiny, crumbling dwelling took any beauty nearby and sucked the life from it.

I remember walking past it on my way home from elementary school a few times, which is a strange memory since that particular route was out of the way. I tried to always busy myself with something else as I approached – conversation with a friend, fidgeting with something in my backpack – anything to keep from noticing it. Again.

There was a dog that looked somewhat like an Irish Setter. I remember its coloring matched the rust-hued paint on the rotting wood siding, as well as some of the bricks that made up the fence around the property. I don’t know if it was a he or a she, but it had the most gentle eyes. At least that’s what I thought they were. In hindsight, they were probably pleading eyes – eyes full of sadness, eyes that seemed to dwarf its gaunt body. Eyes that probably wanted nothing more than a warm bed, a substantial meal and an owner that was kind to it. All I know is this man scowled at passersby on more than one occasion, seemingly daring them to tell anyone of what they saw. I don’t know details about his interaction with the dog, but I’m assuming he didn’t show it the kindness that it so desperately appeared to want since it seemed to retreat and shrink in his presence.

One day, I noticed the dog was no longer there, and – years later – every trace of what used to be on that lot is gone now. The old, deteriorating house is a distant memory, razed and replaced with another house which I still don’t consider a home, only because it’s scarred by the history of what used to be on the lot. I can picture the dog, curled up on patchy, dead grass – grass since replaced by lush sod.

I’ve often wondered what happened to it, and I wish I could’ve given it a voice that it didn’t have. The memory of it, and others, has made me hyper aware of animals in need, and probably explains why I seem to have a rescue gene embedded deep in my soul. I know I can’t save them all, but today – even though I’m trying not to wish ill on anyone else – I’m thankful for knowing that karma can be a pretty big B, and for knowing that what goes around usually comes around.

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