Hi. My name is Butch. I can't remember ever having another name. This is a little unusual, but I got special permission from – well, I don't really know who, but I have permission to put my version of events up on the internet.
There are a few things I guess you should know about me. First, I'm a Veteran of the Afghanistan thing. Did they ever decide if it was an official war? I don't know. I do know that I was there for over a year. I was a guard at a big supply and ammunition place.
Second, I'm dead. Maybe I should have put that first. It's kinda important. That's why I don't know who is in charge here – or even where 'here' is. Right now, I'm just thinking this story, and it appears on a kind of monitor in front of me. Somehow. When I'm all done, I guess, somebody will hit that giant 'send' button and you'll get to see it.
Third, I don't have a very big voca – a big choice of words. But I'm smart, or I was smart, I guess. I know a lot of words considering I'm a dog. Or was a dog. Somehow my mind – or my spirit, maybe – expanded and I learned some more words. So, I have all the good and bad things about being a dog. Like for example: My coat was dark grey on my back and lighter grey elsewhere. I'm what people call color-blind, so I can only see things in what you call shades of grey. To me, that's the way the world is; I have nothing to compare it to. My partner, Jim Carpenter, said that I was a German Shepherd dog, so that might give you an idea of what I look like. Big for a German Shepherd.
So ... why did I get special permission to put together my version of events? I just wanted to clear my name, I guess. And somebody thought that would be a good idea.
I was trained as a recovery dog first. You know, the dogs that go around to disasters, like collapsed buildings and tornado sites, and find where people are buried under the junk that's covering them up. I was also trained to smell out dead bodies that are buried in the ground. Well, or living bodies, but there weren't many living bodies under the ground. That's kinda the same thing as finding people who were trapped in rubble, you know. Then the Army decided they needed some recovery dogs in Afghanistan, 'cause of all the explosions there, but they wanted me to learn about guarding, too. And that training included attacking people who were trying to get into the thing I was guarding. Or hurt the person I was guarding. So they made an offer to Jim to join and to take me along with him.
Like a dumb cat, he said yes. We would have been perfectly fine just living in the small city near the big city of Chicago, getting on flights to here and there – wherever somebody needed to have somebody discovered under rubble. Usually there'd be the same bunch of recovery dogs at these emergencies. There was Marty – he was a bloodhound that could track people over land, too. He had a great nose. My favorite was Anabelle – she was a bitch from somewhere in the southwest. She was a little smaller than I was, but a German Shepherd too; everybody made a big fuss when I mated with her while she was in heat once. We were supposed to be working a tornado area in Oklahoma, but she – well she smelled right, you know? Anyway, we snuck off to the middle of the field and I jumped on her real fast, before Aristotle could get there. Aristotle was a small little recovery dog – a yappy terrier who thought he was dog enough to take Anabelle. He wasn't. He didn't even get to sniff her ... I'm getting sidetracked, I think.
Anyway, Anabelle got pregnant and had a litter of five. I never got to see them, and frankly, I really didn't care about them much. I really liked Anabelle, though. Next time she's in heat, I'll ... wait, I'm dead. I won't ever get to mate with Anabelle or any other bitch again. That's one thing about my current situation that I don't like much.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Afghanistan. Jim and I did our time in that place and then we got to go home. I was getting too old they said. In human years, I was only nine. Hell, I was seven when I went into Army training, so what did they expect? Maybe it was the explosion we were close to. Who knows how the Army thinks? I got some metal in my right rear leg and Jim got some in his ass. That stupid piece of metal hurt more than a cat scratch on the eye. I got one of those, too, sniffing around in a building in Montreal, once, looking for people. Damn cats!
I don't remember the operation at all. I guess I slept through it. When I woke up I had this ridiculous plastic thing around my neck and I couldn't even lick where I was hurt – and I couldn't lick my ass or my balls either, and I wanted to so bad. When they took the plastic thing off, I spent a long time licking my balls and dick. There was two weeks of dirt on them, and they itched.
Anyway, at least they let me into the room where Jim was. He was on his stomach, 'cause like I said, he got the metal from the explosion in his ass. Some idiot said that he was crazy for trying to save me. Which is what he did – he jumped on me, when the explosion happened. He knocked me to the ground and got metal in his ass. I wanted a piece of that idiot's ass, but I couldn't really go after him without Jim's permission. But I wanted to, and I let the idiot know when he came to visit Jim. I know a lot of words, but even more smells. That guy smelled like a dog hater. He probably had cats at home. Like I said: he was an idiot.
So, shortly after that, we both got a medal – they were the same, a dark, dark grey fabric thing attached to a kinda round metal thing. Jim showed it to me and said we had earned a purple heart. I looked at him and licked his hand. I smelled the medal thing and it wasn't interesting at all, just cold and hard. After we got the medal things, and spending some time recovering from our injuries, we got sent back to Chicago.
We went back to our old job of recovery, but we didn't get the hard cases anymore. Jim and I both had a little limp – he favored his left leg and I favored my right. It was only a little bit, and I think we'd have been fine, but they didn't want to let the 'war hero dog' do anything that might be dangerous. So it wasn't as much fun.
We did go to the park, though, near our home. Jim would throw a ball or a stick and I'd get it and bring it back. Pretty dumb, I know, but what else was there to do? Squirrels, of course. They were pretty fast and could climb trees, so I never got one. Fun to chase though. I chased after some tail, of course. Funny how people use the same phrase for getting after a bitch in heat. But whenever I'd get close, Jim would say, "Butch! No! Down!" and then he put a leash on me. And there I'd be, with my dick all hard and sticking out, and the bitch would be making 'those moves' that told me it was okay to mount her. But the bitch's owner would say something like, "Keep him away from Fifi." And that would be that.
Big disappointment, let me tell you.
Anyway, one time Jim threw a fuzzy little ball, and it rolled under a bench in the park. Trouble was, there was somebody sitting on the bench. So I ran around it for a while, barking like crazy. I'd make a move toward the ball under her feet but then dodge back. She got the idea. Jim was just coming up near the bench, when she reached down and waved the ball back and forth.
"You want the ball? Huh? Do ya?" she said. Of COURSE, I wanted the ball. I had to get it back to Jim so he'd get some exercise, throwing it. Then she threw the ball. Into the lake. Didn't stop me, 'cause I can swim. So I jumped in the lake, got the yellow furry ball and brought it back to Jim, who was now talking to the girl. I dropped the ball and I proceeded to shake off all the water. What'd you expect? Naturally, I did it right in front of Jim and Cheryl – that turned out to be her name, Cheryl. They jumped back and turned away, like it was some sort of evil thing that was getting on them. It was only water. I mean ... I was wet and I wanted to share it with Jim.
That was the second biggest mistake Jim ever made – meeting Cheryl. The first, of course, was signing us up for the Army. Okay, it was the third biggest. The second biggest mistake was getting close to where that explosion took place. Anyway, Cheryl was really nice to Jim and made little touching moves toward him. Not at first, you understand. But after they started going out, she was touching him all the time. Reminded me of some of the moves the bitches would make toward me when they got in heat. But not really. Cheryl never smelled like she was in heat, but she moved like she was.
Anyway, Cheryl and Jim got together. I'd call it being in the same pack, but humans had another word for it. She moved in to Jim's apartment and they started using the same bed. That was bad, because I got sent away from the bed. I tried to share with the two of them, but they told me 'no.' I guess there just wasn't room for an 80 pound dog and two humans in the bed. So I just would sit by the door and look at them while they were mating. They sure changed positions a lot. I mean, he was on top, then she was, then they moved around and were licking each other. Why did they do that? I knew all about licking: you do it because you're dirty but sometimes you do it just because it feels good. Maybe that's what it was. But they were licking on each other. You can't feel it when you're licking somebody else. People's rules, I guess: there's no telling what they'll do next. They're unpredictable and make no sense, most times.
Plus she was never in heat. I know what women smell like when they are in season. You can smell it on lots of them when you're walking down the street, or in a crowd. It's very distinctive. Some of them smelled like flowers, which was strange. Cheryl never was in season. How could that be? And they mated a lot, sometimes in different rooms. I could understand that: when you needed to do it, you just needed to do it now. Sometimes, one of them would stop for a moment, look at me, and then throw a pillow at me, sitting by the door, watching. So I'd go into the hallway and watch from there.
After about two years – when I was twelve, and really starting to feel my age – Cheryl started to smell like she was in season. First time ever, as far as I could tell. Jim and Cheryl would mate almost all the time, then. They didn't do it much when she wasn't in heat. Then she'd be in season, again, and they'd do it like crazy. All the time. Then they slacked off again, but this time, in a week or so, she smelled different. She was going to have a litter!
That was a very busy time for Jim and Cheryl. Well, Jim mostly. He wouldn't let Cheryl do hardly anything. We got a house about then. It meant a longer time for Jim to be away from home every day. He drove to work and maybe he had to drive more, or maybe he had to work more. For me, it was a boring time. I'd spend nine or ten hours in the house with Cheryl. She didn't want to do anything. She gave me water, and let me out into the back yard, but that was it. And my play time with Jim was dropping off. That was disappointing, and the lack of activity made me get a little fat.
Then one day, Jim was gone for two whole days, and when he came back he had a German Shepherd puppy with him. Santoval was her name, but Jim just called her Sandy, so that was her real name. Gosh, but she was excitable. She'd jump on everything, including me. I showed her where to pee outside, but she knew most of the rest of it.
She told me that she could do recovery things, too. I tried to tell her not to bark so much in the house.
Didn't know that dogs could talk, did ya? Well, we do, but not like humans do. We communicate with gestures and little sounds and postures. And we don't do it much when there are humans around. Gotta have some secrets, right?
So she was telling me what she could do, and I told her it was what the humans called 'recovery.' That's when she learned that she had a job. She was so excited. I hadn't been doing any recovery jobs for a while now, and I missed the excitement. Jim started to take her on recovery jobs and I felt left out. I didn't have a job anymore, and I sulked all the time he was gone. Just Cheryl letting me out to pee and back in.
Then little Jimmy was born, and I had job again. I was taking care of little Jimmy. I slept in his room all the time. I could tell when he shit in his pants or peed. I mean ... who couldn't? The smell was overpowering. So I usually went to get Jim. Sometimes I had to grab the bottom of his pants and tug; then he'd get the message. Of course, if Jim wasn't around, I'd get Cheryl.
Jim or Cheryl would sprinkle something on Jimmy and make him smell funny. He still smelled like a new human. They have kinda a distinctive smell. Of course, he had that 'Jimmy' smell. Everybody smells different. Even squirrels and cats. One time a skunk got in the garage! I didn't want to have anything to do with that smell, let me tell ya.
We – Sandy and me – shared the backyard with two cats who lived next door. They were Fluffy and Mittens. Stupid names, I know, but what can you do? It was easy to tell those two girls apart by their smells. Only one squirrel, and he lived in the trees in the back yard. Stupid squirrel threw nuts and twigs down on us while we jumped around at the bottom of the tree.
Anyway, like I said, every human had a different smell. It was easy to tell them apart.
That's what led to all the trouble, I think.
One day, Jim was at work and I was laying in Jimmy's room, as usual. Then Sandy got put in there too, by Cheryl. I looked up, 'cause that was unusual. Usually, Sandy slept downstairs. Then I could hear the garage door open and somebody came in. I got up and went to the door, 'cause usually it was Jim, and he'd always come to check on Jimmy first. I could hear Cheryl and a man talking. And then they went right past the door to Jimmy's room and went to Jim and Cheryl's room.
I could smell him, and he wasn't Jim.