The problem was Billy, you see. Billy’s our town dog, ever since Sally passed away quietly on Doc’s porch, and Billy’s owner, Stewart Simpson, died two weeks later. The people who inherited Stew’s house didn’t particularly enjoy having Billy around, and Billy appeared to feel the same way about them, so he became our dog. By which I mean everyone’s dog.
People in town fed him whenever he came around, so there wasn’t a problem that way. Matter of fact, he’d gained a few extra pounds by riding the grub line.
His job, as official town dog, was to be colorful, which he was, to greet tourists, which he did, and to escort the children to school, which he accomplished every weekday. On Saturdays he’d show up at the school, look around, then go back downtown and see if there were any tourists who needed guidance.
The problem was, it was now winter and cold, and Billy is a short-haired coonhound and shivers a lot. But he’s our dog, and our responsibility, and that’s why the high school boys in woodshop took over.
First they held a design contest, to see who could lay out the best house possible for Billy. Two of the guys even measured him first, because you’d want the thing to be cozy, but not crowded. Then when the winning design was chosen, they set to work. In a week’s time, Billy had the best-insulated, classiest dog house in town. It could withstand zoning changes, hurricanes and atomic attack. They took it down to the crossing where the school kids were each weekday and leveled out a place for it under a shade tree. Then they threw some kibble in it to get Billy to go in.
Billy ate the kibble and curled up and lay down in there and there were smiles all over town. The boys from woodshop received congratulations from the multitudes, and the project was declared a success.
And when darkness fell and the wind began out of the east, Billy walked over to Mrs. Sandiford’s house and scratched on the door. She let him in and he jumped up on the couch with her two cats, Boots and Desdemona, and sighed.
Love comes in all forms.
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