Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

April 26, 2009


An old dog named Walter that barked at the moon


      Writing for publication often triggers interesting responses. I love it when readers let me know they identified warmly with something I shared. Occasionally a respondent is angry or disappointed because I touched a nerve. Sometimes a friend will respond good-naturedly and “make my day.”  

      Last Sunday I shared lightheartedly that I sometimes give our hummingbirds the names of good friends, like Grady and Celestra for example. Grady, who is celebrating Celestra’s willingness to remain married to him for 50 years, reacted with the following message:

          “Well, some days I do feel like a hummingbird but most days I feel like a big owl sitting in the middle of a road, daring anything to come down it. It’s funny you mentioned calling me a hummingbird. I had an old dog that barked at the moon. Some days I called him Alpha Gamma Rho, but most days I just called him Walter.”

          That provided a good laugh and reminded me that there are subjects I have learned not to write about. Dogs and cats, for example. A rule of thumb for me is to never say anything negative about these pets that many people love. Since my aim is to give readers a good laugh, or a bit of inspiration, I would never mention that I don’t envy people who have to walk a dog or let a cat sit in their lap.

          So I settle for saving wonderful dog stories. A recent good one is about Boudreaux’s dog. With his wife Clotille Boudreaux lived on a little farm outside Mamou.

          One day Clotille said, “Boudreaux, you have to get rid of that dog. All he does is lie under the front porch and turn over the trash can.”

          Boudreaux agrees to get rid of the dog. He puts him in his pickup, drives a few miles away and dumps him out. The dog almost beats Boudreaux back home. So Boudreaux takes him ten miles away and dumps him out but once again the dog is soon back home.

          Clotille says, “You must take him out again and drive around in lots of circles. Then dump him out. That way he won’t know the way home.”

          So Boudreaux takes the dog far away, drives around in circles for awhile, and then dumps the dog out. He starts home but soon pulls over and calls Clotille on his cell phone. He asks her, “Has that dog come home yet?”

          “Yeah,” she says, “he just came in.” Boudreaux says, “Well, put him on the phone; I’m lost.”

          The best dog story I have heard in a month of Sundays is about an old German Shepherd that gets lost chasing rabbits. Wandering around, he notices a leopard heading toward him as though he is ready for lunch.

          The old dog was once strong and agile, alert and full of life. Now he is quite old but he does not panic. Noticing some bones on the ground nearby, he begins chewing on the bones with his back to the approaching leopard. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old dog exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here.”

          Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack as a feeling of terror comes over him. He slinks away without making a sound. He breathes a sign of relief while thinking, “That was a close call. That old dog nearly had me for lunch.”

          Nearby a monkey has been watching from a tree. He decides he can trade his knowledge for protection from the leopard. So he takes off after the leopard.

The old dog sees him hurrying after the leopard and figures he is up to something.

          The monkey catches up with the leopard, spills the beans, and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. Furious that the dog made him look like a fool, the leopard says, “Monkey, hop on my back so you can see what is going to happen to that conniving canine!”

          The old dog sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and wonders what he is going to do now. Once again he does not panic. Instead of running, the old dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he has not seen them. Then, just as the young leopard and the monkey get close enough to hear him, the old dog says, “Where is that monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!”

          If there is a moral to this story, it may be this: Be careful how you mess with old dogs. Enough said. If you will excuse me, I need to go bark at the moon some more. + + +