Still continuing my Texas stories series. This time I’m posting from a story that isn’t available online, so you’ll just have to track down a copy of Red Wheelbarrow from 2008 and look for “Bathe in the Doggone Sin.” (Or email me and beg me to send you the file.)
It was just a few days past Valentine’s when I found the dogs. This was when the weather dropped so fast the ground nearly froze, and Janis sent me under my back deck to find any firewood I hadn’t let rot. I cracked my knee on a buried rock, and that’s when I first saw the dogs, huddled up under the old pine steps near the side of the house.
Around the beginning of spring, I realized they’d blended in with the leaves under my house, they’d taken wet mulchy tones on their undersides and this dusty strip of caliche from my foundation ran down their backs. That’s when I finally named them, just to tell them apart. The little one I guessed the male and named him Gib after this old bulldog of a math teacher I had in high school. The bigger dog, the bitch, I named Lorna. I didn’t have much reason at the time, except maybe the raw auburn earthiness I’ve always heard in that name. But now I think I was recalling Lorna with the nine toes.