I read an article today that paid tribute to the dogs that assisted the troops during the first World War. These Airdales acted as guard dogs, carried medicines, located wounded soldiers on the front line and carried communications between bases. They were even trained to wear gas masks in order to survive in the trenches. I don't know how they did it. I couldn't even bear wearing a muzzle and that only covered my mouth.
Paying my own tribute to these fallen companions I decided today to get as trench dirty as I could, rolling twice in a fresh, juicy, brown cow pat to get both sides. After we'd retrieved a tennis ball from a foreign field it was my duty to carry it home and I was going to do it, no matter what impediments lay in our path. I needed to traverse mud pools, drink ditch water and investigate small craters for bombs. I rolled in many smells along the way to blend in with my surroundings in my new camouflage coat. Not that you can tell from the picture above. The problem with being a brindle is shit may stick but it doesn't show (until you're close enough to smell it). The mistress didn't appreciate it when I brushed past her legs, marking her denims. Apparently the master is going to pay: the wages of war!
I never got any shrapnel in my jaw or my coat torn by a shell (we were nowhere near a beach) and my paws remained intact but I still dragged myself through those hills in the summer heat all the way back to the car. That ball came home again. I made sure of it. (Actually in truth the master had to send me back for it a couple of times when I got distracted by the present day but forgive me some artistic licence).
Then, for a heroes return, I was welcomed home with my second bath of the summer. My trench coat was replaced with a velvety soft one so I could return to civvy street and the couch. I bet it wasn't as simple as that for the dogs that did come home from war. A warm bath wouldn't wash away those sights and memories.
|Figbane is just off camera in his new poop coat|