Here Comes Trouble

I picked up some bathroom tile today, and Mark, the warehouse guy, told me that the floor tile for my bath reno was on back order.

“It’s not that special,” I said. “It’s a bunch of colors spattered across the tile. I liked it because it’s forgiving and I have three dogs.”

“I sure miss my dog,” Mark said as he loaded up the boxes of tile.

“What kind of dog was it?”

Here’s Mark’s story:

He was the runt of the litter, the offspring of a black lab and a Dalmatian. All the puppies got chosen except for him. Mark was 14 when he took him home. He named him Trouble and let him sleep on top of him until his mama got the puppy a dog bed.

Trouble followed Mark everywhere. He grew and grew until he reached sixty-five pounds.  He was Mark’s best friend.

When Mark was sixteen, he took a load to the dump one day. Trouble came with him.  Mark got out of the cab and heard a rattle. He looked down. There was a huge rattlesnake two feet from his feet. The dog jumped out of the truck and went for the snake, biting its head off.

When Mark went home and told his mama what had happened, she wanted to see for herself.  Mark drove her to the dump, and Mama brought out a knife and cut the rattles off for Mark to keep (he still has them in a glass case). When they told the local trading post owner, he said to go get the snake and he’d pay money for the hide. Mark went back, but by then, someone else had had the same thought or a raptor got it. At any rate, the snake was gone.

Mark and Trouble were attached at the hip for fifteen and a half years. Then Trouble’s arthritis was so bad that Mark and Mama took the dog to the vet.

The vet said it was time to put Trouble out of his misery.  He offered to give the injection right then and there.

“What happens to him after that?” Mark asked.

“We wait until we get forty or fifty dogs and then we incinerate them,” the vet said.


Mama said they’d take the body back home with them. Trouble got buried between two tall trees on an 1800-acre ranch, a fitting place for a loyal friend.

Mark wiped away a tear or two as I drove away from the tile-store warehouse.

I went online and found some photos of what a lab and Dalmatian dog would look like. It’s not Trouble, just an internet dog called a Dalmador.

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