Sunny the Goose-Addled Dog (audio version also available) was selected for publication (21) times in newspapers, magazines and anthologies. It is one of (30) award winning short stories, (3) novels and a cookbook, Homegrown in the Ozarks: Mountain Meals and Memories, selected as a finalist for Best book in Missouri. All of the publications are available at OzarkStories.com.
Award Winner Ozark Writers League Essay Contest
I drove to a lake by our home in the Ozark Mountains one warm summer afternoon to do some bank fishing and brought along my Australian Shepherd, Sunny. When I parked and opened the door, he jumped out of the pickup truck and ran across the campground toward a flock of Canada geese, sending them out into the water flapping their wings. Sunny jumped in swimming back and forth herding the flock in a tight formation. He was having the time of his life, barking and biting at the droplets of sparkling water that splashed up in front of his face. About twenty feet out into the lake, as if the geese suddenly realized they were not a bunch of sheep to be rounded up and herded, they did an about-face, honking loudly with their necks out-stretched. They swam after Sunny. He churned the water with his front legs as he headed back toward shore with a wide-eyed look of panic. By that time the commotion had drawn a crowd of spectators.
“Those geese might drown your dog,” a lady holding the hand of a little boy said as she walked up beside me. “Geese can be mean as the devil.”
“She’s right. I saw it happen once before,” an elderly gentleman said. “That dog’s goose may be cooked.”
I ran out into the water and by the time I caught up with Sunny, the geese were pecking at his tail. “Swim faster,” I yelled as I got between him and the geese. Even then, they continued to honk and beat the water with their wings.The crowd of onlookers had grown to a dozen people and they were cheering for Sunny and me as if we were about to reach an Olympic finish line. Quick as Sunny set his paws on shore, he ran to the pickup like a streak and jumped into the front seat without even taking time to shake off the water.
“Thanks for cheering us on everybody,” I said to the spectators for their encouragement as I climbed into the cab. I headed home without casting a lure. Sunny stared out the window at the squawking geese and barked as we pulled out of the parking lot. I reached over and gave him a pat on the top of his furry wet head. He licked my hand and I could tell by the look in his big brown eyes that he was thankful for what I had done.Sunny was a pup at the time and now he’s gotten older. He’s a little grumpier and not nearly as fast as he used to be, I guess some of what I like about him is he’s a lot like me.
© By Rolland Love – ozarkstories.com