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TITLE: A Night Walk with the Dogs
By Clyde Blakely
03/24/07
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Absolutely a true story, maybe in twenty years or so. All the characters are real. Critical comments are welcome. Also submitted under "fiction" since for now it is.

Thank you and God bless.
"Okay, okay, Iím coming."

Dogs scratching at the front door. Itís been a long day working in the fields; haying season is almost here. The dogs were tired out running and playing all day in the fields. Theyíre rested up now and ready for their walk. Itís late so itíll be a night walk.

Lucky I finally found my favorite flashlight. Canít image how I misplaced it like that.

"Okay, come on dogs weíre ready to go. Now you dogs be very quiet tonight. Tom down the road lost a lamb the last night and thinks it was a cougar. Maybe we can see him."

I think they understood me, jumping up and down, spinning around, but no barking as usual.

"Which trail should we take?"

Chance is off in the lead to our favorite trail down towards Tomís place; Max is right behind as always, and my favorite dog of all time, Sam, bringing up the rear. Sam and I have had some good hunting times together. Heís the most faithful dog Iíve ever had. Heís getting old now and kind of down in the hips but still loves to go whenever I walk. Why, heís been with me for a couple of decades, I guess.

Funny, they do seem awfully quiet tonight; almost too quiet. Not going ahead very far and weíre still near the house. Theyíre going very slow and keep coming back to me. Itís like somethingís up around the bend. Iíll turn off the flashlight so I wonít spook whatever it is.

"Shhh, quiet and letís stick together."

Good, the dogs are staying close. Almost like theyíre either trying to protect me or looking for me to protect them. Keep going.

Ears up; we all hear it! Crunching sounds with a low pitched growling. Softly now and slow, weíre almost around the bend; maybe we can surprise it and see what it is.

Flashlight ready.

A growl, oh Sam, you might have scared it off. Quick, the flashlight.

Oh my, itís a cougar eating a carcass. Why didnít I bring a gun? Oh no, Samís charging the cougar...

"S...A...M...!"



"Mr. Blakely, why are you making such a racket in this dark hallway? And did you steal the nurseís flashlight again? Iíll push you in your wheelchair back to your room. You have a big day tomorrow, you know, starting physical therapy. The Doctor wants you walking again."

"Well, Sam, we almost got him tonight. Wonít see him again for awhile. How Ďbout a day walk tomorrow, (looking over the shoulder at the nurse) thereíll less varmints distracting us?"
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