Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Zalman Velvel

"Oh, by the way, I have a surprise for you," my wife informed me.
"What kind of surprise?"
"We have a new addition to our family."
Bubba was a cute little bundle with tannish brown hair, short legs, a thick round body, and soft, sensitive brown eyes. He was adopted into our family at 6 months of age, thrust upon us by our vet, Dr. S., as a birthday present for my wife.
That fact that my wife's birthday was nine months away, or three months previous, whichever way you wanted to consider it, was slightly relevant. If she didn't accept this "present", Dr. S. probably would have begged her to take Bubba, just as he unsuccessfully begged the previous seven pet owners to take him (we found out later), just as Bubba's previous owner, Billy Joe Vetters, successfully begged Dr. S. to take him.
Billy Joe Vetters was out of work and riding hard times. While he couldn't afford to take care of Bubba, he didn't want to bring him to the Humane Society either. The Humane Society would have put Bubba to sleep if he wasn't adopted quickly.
Bubba contained at least five different breeds, not a good character trait for adoption. He had the face of a blood hound, the jaws of a pit bull, the ears of a spaniel, the body of a German Shepherd, and the legs of a dachshund. To watch Bubba run was like seeing a big hot dog wiggle and wobble on top of churning little legs.
"What kind of name is Bubba?" I asked my wife.
"It's a down home, good ol' boy, all-American, red-neck name," she said, petting him.
Bubba never spent a day inside our house, nor a day tied up or restrained on a leash. He was a low maintenance, easy going, outside dog, who preferred the company of our horses. He slept in the pasture with them, and chased after their tails when they got frisky. He didn't wander or stray – there was enough life around him
Whenever I got lonesome for a dog, I stepped outside and called:
One call was enough. There would be a stirring somewhere, perhaps from the tall grass in the horse pasture, or from under the shed, or out in the barn, or under one of the cars. I would hear the metallic clanking of the tags on his collar, as he shook the sleep from his body, and then Bubba would come running on his little legs.
He would sit in front of me and wait. I would pet his head and call him "Goopy", because he had this big, goopy, laid-back smile on his face. Then he would lie down on his back and plead with me to rub his belly. This would be our ritual if I had no snack or treat for him.
I'm not sure if the belly rub, or a doggy bag from Outback Steakhouse was his preference, because Bubba had a great passion for eating – he might have been a mutt, but he was a thoroughbred glutton.
Each morning, after he licked his food bowl clean, he finished what the cats left behind in theirs, then moseyed over to the ducks and nudged them out of the way from their feed. If he was further inclined, he might lick up the horse feed that spilled over the sides of their buckets.
If he was still hungry, which he usually was, he went across the road to the new subdivision where houses were being built. There, the carpenters and electricians to fed him scraps and leftovers from their lunches.
Because of his passion for food, Bubba tended toward the chubby side of the canine spectrum. He wasn't fat, just kinda chunky. There was no reason to be concerned over his extra bulk because he was quite strong and healthy.

While Bubba's eating habits were legendary, his drinking ritual was pure country …


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