The Red Hound

I remember coming home from school in the red van. Mom was driving. The puppy was huddling in the ditch beside the road leading to our house. I remember how red he was, short, soft fur russet and gold in the sun. I remember how his hipbones stuck out wide like the knobby ends of grandpa’s back massager, and how his soft red coat hung over his ribs.

I don’t remember the color of his eyes, but they must have been big and trusting, because he always played very gently, even with the mean old tomcat. I don’t remember, but he was so meek and quiet I don’t think he even growled when mom and I ripped fat ticks off the soft skin inside his floppy ears and from between his over sized paws, with metal tweezers that dripped blood when we were finished. I don’t remember but I think he was only with us for two Tuesdays.

I remember how we found him, coming home from school, skull all misshapen. I remember dad had to scrape the deflated red coat, no longer shiny, off the summer hot concrete with a shovel. I remember the roses, yellow as egg yolks and big as my head that hung full and heavy from the bush we buried him beneath.

And I remember when we watched the Yellow-Blue-Green pot of boiling water in the cracked salt crusted ground and I read a park sign.

Yellow Stone National Park

Emblazoned above a newspaper clipping about a collie who’d fallen in, just here, and the owner who jumped in to save him. I remember the article described how the man’s skin had peeled off all together when they took of his shoes, and how they both died, dog and boy, a day later.


Creative nonfiction essay written as part of a “Primary acts of Imagination” and association assignment for my creative writing workshop- intended to explore personally important moments

(photo is from

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