Today: The conclusion of the story “Porch Dog.” If you didn’t catch the first half, check out yesterday’s post.
Over the next two weeks, Polly didn’t see much more of her new dog than she did on that first evening. If he happened to be in the yard when she opened the back door, he slipped under the porch before she could make it down the stairs. Every day she tried to coax him out, even offering him table scraps that she had smuggled from the house, but nothing worked.
Finally, after spending most of an afternoon lying in the dirt waving a piece of grilled cheese sandwich under the porch, Polly’s frustration got the better of her. She threw the treat on the ground and hollered, "I don’t care if you stay under there forever!"
Polly stomped into the kitchen and slammed the door. Mom was arranging knick-knacks on top of the cupboards. "No luck with Porch Dog?" she asked.
Glaring at her, Polly snapped, "I just want my book." Finding it, she marched back out into the yard. Sitting down and leaning against a tree, she began to read. Soon, the warm sunshine and the droning of cicadas lulled her to sleep.
Polly’s eyes flew open. She had the eerie feeling that someone was watching her. She glanced at the house, but her parents were nowhere to be seen. Surveying the yard, she eventually spotted a nose peeking out from under the porch. Polly pretended to go back to sleep but watched through slitted eyes as the rest of the dog’s head emerged.
He gazed at her with his ears pricked forward. Polly didn’t move. He crept out from under the porch. Polly held her breath. He stood, hesitated for a moment, and then shook himself off and walked over to where she was sitting. Polly looked up and grinned. The dog began to wag his tail and seemed to smile back at her.
"It’s about time," Polly laughed. "I’ve been thinking. How about we call you P.D. from now on? We can tell everyone it stands for 'Polly’s Dog.'"
I wasn’t a child when P.D. came into my life, but as is the case in this story, he was left behind by his owners when they moved. My husband and I purchased “his” farm, and when we were closing the deal, the "gentleman" (I use that term loosely) of the family casually mentioned, "Oh, you’ll probably find a dog there when you move in. We’re not going to be taking him with us."
I still remember the panicked "this isn’t going to screw everything up, is it?" look our realtor gave us. We glanced at each other and shrugged. What’s another dog when you already have three and are moving to a 24 acre farm?
When we arrived, P.D. was absolutely terrified, particularly of men. He was limping badly, but I couldn’t get near enough to figure out what was wrong. Whenever anybody got close, he scooted under the porch and wouldn’t come out for hours. I think he emerged mostly at night because the food we left out for him was always gone in the morning.
To make a long story short, with just a little patience and time, P.D. blossomed into perhaps the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. Other than his weakness for high-end baked goods, he was really without fault. He grew to trust people and had one of the greatest canine smiles ever. You are missed, handsome boy, and remain the best "item" that ever conveyed with a home.
The real P.D.
Dr. Jennifer Coates