Most German Shepherds are pretty smart, but George was dumber than a
box of rocks.
That dog was actually too dumb to come in out of the rain. If he
happened to be out in the yard when the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, he would bark and cry until I came out of the house with his leash and led him onto the porch or into the garage. Or, into the house if he wasn't too wet by that time.
What George lacked in intelligence, he more than made up for in
affection for the neighbors.
Every morning, he would go to the back door of all the neighbor's
houses around the block, bark softly and wait patiently until someone
opened the door and said, "Good morning, George," or gave him a pat on the head. George loved children, and if any came out of the house, he was in ecstasy, and would play with them joyfully for a few minutes, then move on to the next house.
George loved everyone, and everyone loved George -- everyone, that is, except old man Cotter.
C.V. Cotter was a crusty old curmudgeon who lived alone in a little brick house across the back quadrangle almost directly across from where Bob and Gwendola had lived many years before.
C.V. didn't like anybody -- he didn't like the neighbors, he didn't like me, and most of all he didn't like George, and would sometimes yell and throw coals from the fireplace at him.
As dumb as George was, he finally learned to skip C.V.'s house in his daily quest to give and receive a little love.
One morning, I got up early and went to the kitchen window to see how much snow had fallen. There was George, sitting in the snow licking his paw, and there was blood in the snow all around him.
I dressed hurriedly, ran out and examined his paw. There was a
semi-circular cut just above the first joint.
A steel trap!
I bound up the wound the best I could with a clean rag from the garage and rushed George to the Vet at Mt. Vernon. Dr. Davis examined the wound and gave me the good news that the bone and tendons were intact, and George would be OK, but I would have to leave him there a couple of days. He was amazed, however, that George had been able to pull out of the trap -- wolves have been known to chew a leg off to escape from the diabolical and
cruel steel trap.
I drove home, becoming angrier with every mile. It had been years since I had felt the flush of extreme anger in my neck and face that way, but this morning I was incensed! How could anyone do that to a sweet, dumb loving dog?
When I drove into the garage, my eyes fell upon a 16 pound post maul -- a sledge hammer that swings over one's shoulder and drives posts into the ground. I picked it up.
It was easy to follow the trail of blood to its origin. After all, there was snow on the ground. The bright red trail led just where I expected -- right back to C.V. Cotter's house.
C.V. had just built a new concrete porch, had imbedded a foot scraper in one corner of it, and had chained a steel trap to that. The trap now lay on the ground, baited with hamburger and covered with George's blood and brown hair.
I set the trap up on the corner of the porch, swung the huge sledge hammer over my shoulder and down onto the trap with all my strength. The trap shattered into pieces, and wonder of wonders, so did a corner of the porch.
I backed off and looked at that and it's a wonder that the grin that crossed my face didn't stay plastered there forever.
"Well, now," I said to myself, "It seems C.V.'s porch is no longer symmetrical. I'd better fix it."
So I went to the other corner, swung the sledge hammer again, and that corner disappeared too! Comparing the two corners, I realized that I had taken a bit too much off the second corner, so it was back to the first corner to remove some more concrete and even things up a bit. Now the pace picked up, and within a few minutes, I had reduced the entire porch to a pile of gravel. Once, out of the corner of my eye, I saw old man Cotter peek through the kitchen curtains, but he closed them again quickly.
I casually walked back to the house, put the sledge in the garage, went inside and put on a pot of coffee. I sat down at the kitchen table to wait for the Sheriff. Surely Cotter had called him -- I had, after all, destroyed his property.
By the time I heard the knock at the door, I had just finished the second cup of coffee.
"Come in, Mike," I yelled, getting up to get another cup from the
cupboard. When I told the Sheriff the story, he laughed so hard he spilled coffee on himself. When he recovered, he said, "You know I'm gonna have to make an arrest, don't you?"
"I know, Mike," I said, "Wait till I get my coat."
"Oh, no, not you, Joe Lee," Mike said. "I'm gonna arrest old man
Cotter. Them steel traps are illegal in Missouri, and bein' in the city limits, Judge Swadley'll throw the book at him. It'll cost him five hundred dollars, anyways."
I watched through the back porch window as the Sheriff pulled up in front of C.V. Cotter's house, and shortly led him out in handcuffs.
Two days later, as George and I were driving home from the vet, his muzzle in my lap, I patted him and said, "Well, George, you may still be the dumbest dog I've ever known, but you won this one."
George thumped his tail.
-- Joe Edwards