A Simple Story of a Boy and His Dog..
For months, Jimmy begged his parents for a pet dog through his younger years.
And on his twelfth year it arrived. The tiny Brittany spaniel had more stature than Jimmy’s parents anticipated but it was Jimmy’s wide eyed connection that bonded the two.
Jimmy loved and understood simple and he just named his new friend ‘Dawg’. The eye connection was their communication device forever. Words were unnecessary; it was that easy eye contact that they both understood. Obedience school was facial expression and pointing and love was hunkering down on the floor or in bed when his parents were unaware.
Their long seasons in the sun would soon come to an end that fateful summer, when an eighteen wheeler challenged Jimmy’s disrespectful walk across the road. Dawg jumped into the fore and barked his objection with bared teeth and all the ferocity the spotted creature could muster. The drivers swerve saved Jimmy but there was a latent, distant ‘Yelp’ that would imbed itself in Jimmy’s psyche forever.
High school passed on a summer breeze of anticipation and Jimmy’s taste and youth asked for action. The Military was offering big rewards like ‘free college’ and Jimmy bit hard on that tasty morsel because his parents could hardly support his existence…..
Jimmy was the perfect candidate in basic training for the specialty corps and he chose wisely for the K-9 corps and just to one up his buddies, it was the Paratrooper K-9 corps and that’s where he met “Deuce Dawg.” The animal had no name only a number and Jimmy instantly gave the number a meaning into his life. For him there would only be one ‘Dawg’ in his life but Deuce was his chosen tag. Deuce wasn’t the biggest or the best in the kennel but Jimmy instantly pondered the dog’s eye’s and that connection was his read, ‘friends forever’, and all that was necessary for the young PFC…….
They trained together for months and the ‘knowing Cadre’ just shook their heads at Deuce Dawg but Jimmy persisted. There was a huge gap between ‘knowing and ‘feeling but in the end Jimmy won with his choice of Deuce Dawgs eye’s…
The first, second and multiple parachute drops into Afghanistan were uneventful but the bond between them simply evolved. Deuce would always be in the forefront for mines and trouble but his big Shepard eyes were always glancing behind for his friend Jimmy and his handler knew and absorbed that uncommon connection.
It was the beginning of their second year when they dropped into a mountainside village that Deuce Dawg got antsy and human sense and animal anticipation diverged. Jimmy sensed it when Deuce continued to whine in almost an intelligible voice after that fateful drop.
The hail of fire was devastating as the free flowing chutes touched the ground but Jimmy and Deuce Dawg got lucky behind a protective ridge. Carnage and mayhem are not easy things to explain but in war, reality is ugly.
The firefight ensued and the U.S. Commander called for evacuation. Jimmy got caught with an upper mountain sniper shot to his helmet and fell. Deuce Dawg licked his face and protectively climbed onto his back. What seemed like hours for Jimmy, a young Taliban soldier approached the fallen trooper with malice and rifle ready but the sight of Deuce protectively on his back, spoke to his own youth. His dark eyes refused to engage Deuce Dawg’s menacing growl. This was such an easy target for the neophyte warrior but his understanding humanity overruled his hate. An older tribal chieftain took the weapon from the young man’s hands and reproached him. “You stupid children don’t understand war. I was your age when the Russians came and my great grandfather fought the British. The only thing these intruders know is death is final. Kill him and wipe the American chapter out of our lives!”
Their attention and intent was redirected by the loud drown of the incoming helicopters and headed off for cover but not before the angry elder could pull a fleeting burst of bullets from the AK-47 that Deuce Dawg absorbed for his friend. The horrid, distinctive ‘Yelp’ registered in Jimmy’s semi conscious brain, a sound that again would be imbedded into his soul.
Jimmy’s head wound still confuses him and haunts him till this day. But his heart still wanders to those distant Afghani plains where Deuce Dawg‘s body feeds the insatiable sands of time and war.
Waiting in anticipation for the next foolish nation and hero that yearns for a path to nowhere. A simple sign post on this huge earth that says ‘no entrance and no exit’.