Poncho: That Kind of Dog

The chocolate labs, Poncho and Lefty, frisked about, splashing through puddles and skidding through mud. My friend Carol was walking her dogs along the river’s upper trail in the pouring rain.

That’s right. I said pouring rain.

She’s that kind of dog owner. Totally wacko committed. What other kind of friend would I have?

Both dogs are both more than a little ball-crazy (I’m looking at you, Lefty!), lightning-fast brown blurs when they run, and unreservedly sweet. But Poncho, handsome doe-eyed Poncho, is the trouble-maker of the two. At home, Poncho is the one to get into the trash, chew a shoe, steal a sandwich. At the river, Poncho is the one to eat the horse poop, roll in the fish guts, stumble over a rattlesnake.

He’s just that kind of dog.

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A Birthday Surprise for Martin: Moaning Cavern

The Backstory

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a moment and reflect on how you got into a particular situation.

That’s exactly what I was doing, as I dangled by a thin rope above an enormous cavern, my heart pounding right out of my chest. I looked down, past my feet kicking helplessly at open air, at the tiny grains of sand far below. Those pinpoints of light were the headlamps of people at the bottom of the cave, looking up at me.

Actually, I thought hastily, my heart hammering away, best not to look down.

I had eased myself down through a small hole in the roof of the cave. I stared fixedly at the rope, my only lifeline. It chafed gently against the rough rock.

What, in god’s name, was I doing?

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