This piece may come across as fantasy, or maybe even impossible. I assure you, I will never post a lie, and all fiction will be labeled as just that; fiction. The following event is non-fiction. Although, sometimes, I wish it were not so.

Warning: May be difficult for dog lovers.

My second marriage began in 2004 and ended in 2015. What I’m about to write about happened sometime around 2012. I could spend the rest of my life writing about those 12 years and never finish telling the story. I have no plans to do so.

When I met my second wife, she owned two small dogs. Even in 2004, the dogs were already on the old side. One of them passed away a few years after the start of our relationship. The other dog was tough as nails and seemed to be determined to live forever. In 2012, the dog was somewhere around 18 years old. She ended up living to the age of 21. My step-kids owned two large dogs, and they were kept in the back-yard. One was a Boxer, and the other a Blood Shepherd.

The small [old] dog usually stayed in the house. I told everyone not to put it out with the other dogs. One day, my wife put the dog outside. Shortly afterward, I heard the attack. One of the dogs bit the small dog in the throat.

I ran outside and grabbed the dog, taking her into my office and placing her on the chair at my desk. The bite was deep, and she looked terrible. I stayed there, holding that little dog for several minutes. Being very old, she only weighed a couple of pounds. I remember thinking, this is what 18 years of undying loyalty will get you in this family. You will be thrown outside to be eaten by monsters. I had no idea just how accurate that would turn out to be. Three years later, they did it to me. Real monsters walk on two legs.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. The little dog should not have been allowed to be in the backyard. When I call the dogs monsters, I’m referring to the old dog’s perception.

Within a few minutes, the dog’s eyes glazed over, and she died. Her body was stiff, and there wasn’t any life left in her that I could see. I had her wrapped in something, so I pulled it up over the rest of her body. I stood up, turned around, and began to walk out of my office. That’s when she barked. As I turned around to look, the dog jumped off the chair and proceeded to run past me and into the kitchen. Apparently, she was thirsty.

Two things stand out. First, I know what I saw. The dog’s body was stiff, and her eyes were glazed. Next, the dog was alive and well. She lived for three more years.

Neither my wife nor her two [grown] kids were interested in what happened that day. Like everything else during that relationship, I was on my own. Even though I lived in a house full of people, I was always alone. I had no idea [how alone] I was.

Up until today, I had only told this story to one person. That man was and is a true friend. He was so concerned for my safety the last year of my marriage that he called me every day to make sure I was okay. For me, that’s the definition of friendship. I would do the same thing.

Joseph Shanklin

August 10, 2020

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