32: My Boys’ Choir

32: My Boys’ Choir

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Dog Did That!

My Boys’ Choir

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.

~Emory Austin

It was too lazy a day to do much. Even the birds were quiet. Trees whispered in the slow breeze from a cloudless summer sky. I strolled through my dining room, enjoying the gloriously quiet day. As I passed the arched window, I noticed my motley group of four male dogs lounging in the grass. They looked as lazy as I felt that day.

Sualty must have heard me in the house because he sauntered over to his wind chime and sat down, stuck his nose up in the middle of the chimes, and proceeded to knock them about. As they tinkled, he added his soul-filled song.

Like the Pied Piper, our Yellow Labrador Retriever, the only dog we truly owned, frequently played his wind chimes and sang in hopes that someone would come to the front door and let him inside.

However, that day I remained rooted in the shadows of my dining room.

Sualty ended his doleful stanza and checked to see if his plea had been heard. Nothing. He batted the chimes yet again and began a second verse.

Not more than ten feet away from Sualty lay Sir Thomas Brutus, a Labrador-Doberman Pinscher mix. Sir Tom belonged to the neighbors south of us. Some years ago, he decided to not only visit us but move in permanently.

Sir Tom rose up from the grass, lifted his regal black nose skyward. With eyes half closed, he released his own deep-throated mournful harmony to Sualty’s ballad.

Barely three feet from Sir Tom lay Smiley, a longhaired, German Shepherd- Alaskan Malamute mix.

I will never forget the day he decided to join this group. I was out in the yard when Smiley came galumphing up the hill, tail wagging, eyes sparkling, ears perked, and greeting me as he does everyone, “snarling” every bit like Stephen King’s Cugo.

That afternoon, Smiley simply lifted his furry head and added the haunting sounds of ancient wolves that once sat on Alaska’s frozen tundra.

The day Smiley joined our family, he also brought along a young pup named Chico. Chico was a true Heinz 57 dog because he came with the purple tongue of a Chow, one blue eye, one brown eye, and the markings of a Siberian Husky with short hair. He still had the adolescence of youth because he was the neighborhood thief. He stole single tennis shoes, bowls of every kind, and gloves that never matched. He would leave them on our front porch so I would look like the guilty party. He was an imp.

Chico stood there gazing at this ongoing serenade with awe and wonder. In his young life, he had never sung. Could he? Should he? From the admiration in his eyes, I could see he wanted to. Oh, yes, he wanted to sing.

With a blink, Chico lifted his silverish nose to the heavens and added the crooning sound of . . . flat bagpipes. It was awful.

Three melodies and one tone-deaf bag of air.

Moments later, Sualty checked the front door one last time and finally gave up tinkling his chimes. Sir Tom and Smiley melted gloriously back to the grass as content as angels. Chico sat, triumphant and proud after assisting.

I wiped tears of laughter from my eyes, feeling ever blessed for this moment.

~J.F. Ridgley

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