“Doggy Revenge” by Valerie Benko

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Dogs.”

They say revenge is sweet. Here’s what I’ve always wondered: who is “they” and how “sweet” was the revenge? And does it extend to the animal kingdom?

Valerie's sister Ginger with a young Rouger

Valerie’s sister Ginger with a young Rouger

The first time I met the gray puppy with the floppy ears, pink nose and beautiful baby blues, he tried to bite my face. In fact, that was how my next several visits with him went. My sister cradled her little Weimaraner named “Rouger” and gently scolded him. He was her sweet baby. I thought he was Cujo.

As the months passed, the attempts at face-biting were reduced to hand-nibbling and our relationship began to build. He was a playful and active puppy, quickly growing into a dog who welcomed me with a voracious wag of the tail and a wet tongue. We were finally on the good track.

When my sister, Ginger, asked me to dog-sit over the Fourth of July holiday, I readily accepted. I would spend the night on the 3rd and then drive Rouger to her mother-in-law’s house on the 4th.

I don’t think I had ever had a dog in my car before. What could possibly go wrong? But I was worried he might distract me. Fortunately, my brother-in-law had an answer to the solution—a shock collar. Rouger was being trained to hunt birds and the collar prevented him from running off and not coming back. He suggested that maybe Rouger would behave better in the car with it on.

I did as my brother-in-law instructed, slipping the electronic collar on Rouger for our car ride. But I didn’t turn it on, as I had no intention of using it. My hope was that he would respect the collar and behave.

A few miles from my sister’s house, I crashed into a truck that failed to complete a stop at the intersection. During the collision, Rouger slammed into the back of my seat, breaking my neck. I knew I was OK. I couldn’t turn my head, but I could move my legs. As the ambulance drove me away, all I could think about was how scared poor Rouger must be and how dumb I was to put the shock collar on him. He probably thought he was a bad dog when he wasn’t.

I was in the hospital for a few days and on one of my sister’s visits, she announced that Rouger had destroyed my purse and wallet. I didn’t care. I figured I deserved it after the stress and anxiety I’d put him though. Although he and I didn’t have any problems after that, I do think he held a grudge. And on a cold November day, I was about to find out.

Lazy snowflakes swirled in the wind and drifted to the frozen earth. I peered out of the kitchen window to gauge travel conditions. Even with flurries, it was warmer than usual on Thanksgiving Day in Pennsylvania and the roads were bare. It would be a good day to travel to my sister’s house for a turkey dinner with the family.

I was on dessert duty and I grabbed my homemade pumpkin cheesecake out of the refrigerator. My husband and I packed our car and started on our 40-minute journey to my sister’s house with thoughts of delicious food dancing through our heads—his favorite being a savory oyster stuffing and mine, my sister’s wonderful hot dinner rolls, dripping with butter. To me, no Thanksgiving Day meal is truly complete without a hot buttery roll.

When we arrived, the windows were fogged up from the warmth of the house meeting the cold air outside. The turkey was being cut and its juicy aroma pulled me toward the kitchen which was alive with the clatter of dishes and voices.

A grown-up Rouger, the hunting dog...when he's not eating all of the Thanksgiving Day rolls!

A grown-up Rouger, the hunting dog…when he’s not eating all of the Thanksgiving Day rolls!

I said my greetings and found a home for the pumpkin cheesecake. Ginger immediately put me on drink duty then casually added that there would not be any rolls for dinner.

Her words were like a record player scratching to a stop. No rolls? Did she forget? Did she not have time? I thought, trying to get over the shock. In that moment, all I could envision was missing out on a blob of butter melting on a hot roll.

“Rouger ate them. All of them,” she continued, with a hint of anger lacing her words.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. It turned out that while everyone was out of the kitchen, Rouger pulled down both pans and graciously helped himself to 24 dinner rolls! My sister went looking for the rolls to put them in the bread basket and was confused when they were nowhere to be found. As she discovered two empty pans lying under the dining room table, confusion turned to clarity then to anger when she realized who the guilty party was.

After dinner, I was perusing Black Friday ads on her couch when Rouger walked into the room. Our eyes met and he held my gaze. I shook my head. He had finally gotten his revenge.

Dogs 250_RGBValerie Benko is a communications specialist and author from western Pennsylvania. She graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Valerie had been published in multiple anthologies and online. To see a complete list of her writing credits, visit http://valeriebenko.weebly.com.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Dogs.” The book features 57 terrific dog-approved tales written by their humans! Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1dCBc7w) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/12dsCKY).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.