His name is DiMaggio. I don’t know who named him, but all the locals know who he is. He’s big, and dark, and of uncertain parentage. I wonder if he’s lonely.
He lives next to the baseball diamond, north of home plate. Actually, he also lives behind the restaurant called Home Plate. He lurks back in the forest. Sometimes I glimpse him peeking out. Sometimes I see him standing boldly in front of the trees. But the one time I tried to approach him, he melted back into the woods and never reappeared. I watched for him throughout my salad, entrée, dessert course, and one last cup of coffee. But he didn’t show himself again.
Arkansas has lots of homeless dogs. Last week, a dog appeared out of nowhere in front of my car and then slid into the tall grass by the highway, but not before I saw her teats, hanging low, but not plump with milk. I hoped she had found something to eat and drink. I wondered how many of her babies would live. And what would become of them if they did. Wish I could have brought them all home. But I couldn’t.
But back to DiMaggio.
He doesn’t have a family, and I wonder if he’s lonely. But he does have a house. Some good Samaritan built him a doghouse. Nice doghouse. Man just did what he could do to help a homeless dog.
And DiMaggio has enough to eat. Local folks bring him food, and every night, the manager of Home Plate takes him a feast: scraps of steak, liver, catfish fillets. Some black-eyed peas and hush puppies. Maybe a taste of apple pie. Not the healthiest of diets for a dog, but delicious fare nonetheless, and enough to fill his belly.
Good people live here. Too many homeless dogs to care for, but good people doing what they can for this one homeless dog.
Wish I could bring him home. Wish I could bring them all home. But I can’t. For every human baby born in America, 6.3 puppies are born: 4 million human babies, 25 ½ million dog babies a year.
I don’t know if we’ll ever become a “spay and neuter nation” and stop the madness. I don’t know what’s going to become of all the dear, homeless dogs.
But for now, for today, I will be thankful for the good people who built a doghouse and feed one homeless dog every day. DiMaggio. The dog who lives north of the baseball diamond behind Home Plate café. DiMaggio. May the Lord bless you and keep you. And the people who do the best they can to care for you every day.