Every once in a while, if you are lucky, a dog comes along that changes your life. I’ve always been good to my dogs, but Lennon makes me consistently think to myself, “Damn, I hope I never disappoint him.”
He was found in an Arkansas ditch, a discarded and broken carcass. At three years old, he was another casualty from a dog fighting ring. Diana Kramer-Magnus learned of him through a friend at a kill shelter, she aimed him in my direction and a series of truckers brought his abused body to to a nearby truck stop.
Heartworm positive, a bum back leg, and a bullet embedded in his now meaty thigh were just a few of his battle scars. I stopped counting puncture wounds when I got to a hundred. More than fifty razor slices were carved into the back half of his body. His blood fueled the dogs for the next fight as he was tossed into the ring and dragged back out again by a metal cord around his hind leg.
He crawled into my car and wiggled his way into my heart October of 2010, very close to John Lennon’s birthday. I chose the name Lennon because of the whole “give peace a chance” thing.
Tonight I’m listening to his not-so-gentle snore (while thinking about inventing Breathe-Right Strips for Dogs) and I’m thankful Lennon was so forgiving. I’m grateful that he charmed a couple of shelter volunteers into altering his paperwork so he could live three weeks longer than his “kill date” and find his way to me. The scars on his back are only visible in the bright sunlight, and then you’ve got to look close to see them. His black splotches are so shiny and healthy they look bluish black now. His whites are whiter than white. He went from being a scant fifty pound bony skeleton to a glorious muscular eighty-six pound American Bulldog. He’s been neutered and treated for heartworm.
Sometimes I swear he is smiling at me. He loves squeak toys and gets them out every time I am on the phone. He likes to eat breakfast and dinner on time, and squirrels drive him crazy. I know he’s young and we have many, many years ahead of us but this is that one dog that shall break my heart when he’s gone. His shall be the nose prints that I’ll keep on the window, his shall be the collar and tags that will stay on the hook for years after he’s gone, and his shall be the snore that I’d miss the most.