My brothers and I had a dog when we were kids. He was a black lab mix of some kind. My dad said he was a Heinz 57. If anyone understands that reference, please send me an email because I don't get it. Anyway, my dad used to say that Bluto was a dumb dog, but looking back he was a lot smarter than we gave him credit.
For example: We lived in trailer in the backwoods of Nemo Texas for a bit when I was really young. The trailer was down a country road off a rural highway, if that paints the picture any clearer. So we had what one could call a circular driveway which really meant if we were coming in from town, we pulled in on the left, and if we were coming up from Gramma's house, down the hill at the end of the road, we pulled in on the right. There was a group of three trees that separated the two paths so we could pull all the way around and never have to reverse. Yay!
Bluto's whole life revolved around us kids, I assume, because whenever we went into town he was always waiting for us at the beginning of the gravel road. Always. When he saw our rust colored van turn onto the gravel road, he'd race us home. My parents would actually endanger our lives on the unsteady gravel path to try and beat this dog back to the house. Now, if we passed the first entry, he knew we were headed to Gramma's, and he'd hit the gas and give it all he had to make it down the hill before us.
One day my mom noticed Bluto slowing down as we neared the driveway, and she punched the gas pedal. Bluto sped up, and then she hit the breaks and abruptly swerved into the second driveway. He was halfway down the road when he saw us stop, so he dropped to his butt to the ground and slid along the sharp, pebbly gravel to a painful butt burning stop. We had a good laugh, poor dog, but after that he made sure we'd passed both turn ins before he'd give it his all. That doesn't seem like a dumb dog to me.
We took him with us when we moved to The Farm and he followed us kids through all of our shenanigans. He was the only adult who knew where we were at any given time. One time the four of us were running through the woods when Bluto caught sight of a squirrel and quickly chased it up a tree. The squirrel weaved around the trunk like it was drunk then abruptly dropped dead. It fell to the ground where the boys and I crouched over to study it, awed that it had just died like that, when it jumped up and latched on to Jerry's thumb! Jerry started screaming and waving his arm around in an effort to removed the squirrel and Bluto was jumping around trying to grab the squirrel from the air.
Jerry decided to move the circus closer to home and started running back to the hogan screaming as he waved his arm around with Bluto close behind jumping and chomping while the rest of us fell in and followed behind.
By the time Jerry reached the hogan, I guess the squirrel had truly hit it's limit and dropped dead, for real. I can't remember which parent came out to see what all the screaming was about, but I do remember my dad taking a pocket knife to the squirrel's face and finding white foam in it's cheek. They sent the carcass to a lab to test for rabies. Jerry dodged that bullet, but his thumb was swollen for what seemed like forever.
Bluto was a good dog. We left him on The Farm when my mom packed us up and moved us out. I wonder what happened to him. He was always friendly with the other dogs in the neighborhood, sometimes too friendly if you catch my drift. I know he took a bullet for it on one occasion. I wish we'd taken him with us, but he was happy on The Farm so I guess it made more sense that he live out the rest of his days in a place where he could run free and impregnate with reckless abandon. I mean, why not, the cats did.