September 5, 2012
The Continuing Adventures of a Very Lucky Black and White Dog
By Penny L. Hunt
Chapter 1 – Puppies In A Pipe
No one saw the paint-worn, rusty pickup or the old man driving but sometime during the night, with its headlights out and motor idling low, it had crept in front of the small, rural schoolyard and come to a stop alongside the fence. The old man, in a shirt too thin for the night, slid from inside. Confident he had not been seen, he lumbered to the other side of the truck and, with large gentle hands of leather, slid an old orange crate from the warmth of the smoky cab.
Unwelcome, unwanted and undeserving of their fate, three tiny puppies huddled against a corner of the crate in a sleepy pile of black, white and gray fur. They awoke as a light rain dampened their little backs and cold night air filled the topless crate. Hungry and young enough to still be nursing, they yelped for their mother with cries that would not be answered. “Shhh, Shhh. Hush now,” the old man whispered as he lowered the crate to a grassy patch. Patting and rubbing them gently for the last time, he spoke softly, more for himself than for the puppies, and said, “You’ll be alright. There’s lots of youngins here. You’ll have a new home by tomorrow”. He stood and, tugging a faded red handkerchief from a pocket on his hip, took his place behind the wheel where he wiped his face and drove away.
The next morning, when Headmaster Sanford Shellet arrived to unlock the gates and open the doors of Whitman Academy, he noticed an overturned orange crate resting against the fence. Mumbling about ignorant, inconsiderate litter bugs, he headed toward the crate but stopped in mid-stride before reaching it. There, playing in grass still wet with dew, were three small puppies. He stood unnoticed and watched in amusement as they jumped and rolled until the larger, black and white pup spotted him. With a tiny bark he sounded an alarm that sent all three puppies running in different directions.
He considered chasing them but, with teachers and early students beginning to arrive, there was no time for rounding up puppies before school began. Choosing to ignore them, he picked up the crate and headed across the parking lot to the dumpster where, as he lifted the lid, he was greeted by a swarm of buzzing yellow jackets!
He quickly tossed the crate inside, slammed shut the lid and, still swatting at bees, hurried to the office thinking, “Something must be done about these bees!” He recalled that just last week a student from another school had nearly died from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. As he tapped the number of a local pest control company into his cell phone, his thoughts were far removed from abandoned puppies!
Across the schoolyard, tired from the heat and their sniffing along the road for a scent of home, two of the puppies lay down to rest and never noticed when their black and white brother suddenly disappeared from sight!
Scrambling to keep his feet beneath him, the black and white pup found himself sliding down the side of a drainage ditch where he came to a stop at the opening of a large pipe. Timidly he stepped forward. It was cool and dark inside. Not far from the opening was a puddle of water that he sampled and then eagerly lapped! Moments later, he reappeared outside and, with another tiny bark, called to the other puppies who rolled down the ditch to join him in a pipe that would, for awhile, become their home… (To be continued next week)
This week’s Piper Tale was brought to you by:
Edgefield Veterinary Clinic and Dr. Clarence Bagshaw
218 Augusta Road, Edgefield, SC 29824 ~ (803) 637-0356
Ed. Note: Each installment of Piper Tales will run in full online, but a week delayed from the print edition of The Edgefield Advertiser.