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The big black dog          Send a link to a friend

By Jim Youngquist

[March 06, 2007]  Once upon a time in a fine little town like yours, there lived a big black dog.

No one knew whose dog he really was, and no one seemed to be his master. Everyone in that community knew the big black dog, and everyone thought of the big black dog as the town's dog.

On any given day the big black dog visited almost every house in the little town, making his rounds and making his presence known. Everyone who saw him thought he was such a beautiful tall animal, with full, shiny, flowing coat of fur; a well-shaped, powerful head; alert ears; bright, keen eyes; and a fluffy wagging tail. And they all seemed proud of the dog because they thought of him as the courageous protector of their little town.

Whenever the big black dog came to visit, the people of the town greeted him in their yards, invited him into their homes, and even fed him the finest scraps from their table. No one would dream of refusing the big black dog when he would beg for a scrap or whine for a treat. Who indeed would turn away the mighty protector of their town?

Whenever the big black dog saw you out and about, he would greet you in his customary friendly manner, wagging his tail, licking your hand and giving you his full attention with those bright eyes. People were so fond of the town's dog that they would seek him out while on walks or while driving about the community. He was often the topic of conversation when people met. When people said "Have you seen the dog lately?" there was no question they were talking about the big black dog. "Yes, isn't he such a fine dog?" would always be the reply.

The people of the town could not imagine the town without their fierce protector, the big black dog.

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There was a strange phenomenon that the townspeople never seemed to notice, and certainly never commented on. If they got together to make plans to improve the town, or assembled the ambition to bring about something new, the big black dog was always there in their midst, quietly moving among the crowd. And as they talked and worked together, the big black dog stealthily crept about among them and issued little nips and bites at their heels and flanks, sometimes even drawing blood. At first the people of the town appeared surprised at the dog's behavior, but over time came to expect and even ignore the dog's behavior and the little wounds they received. The big black dog was never punished for the wounds he inflicted, and the people of the town seemed quick to forgive the dog, immediately forgetting the source of their pain.

After some time the town's fine people even began to bark and growl and bite at each other because they mistakenly came to believe that their fellow citizens were the cause of their pain.

So great was the influence of the big black dog.

Over time the good intentions of the townspeople were extinguished. The people of the town came to believe that nothing good could happen in their town because whenever they came together with the best of intentions, they usually came away with unbearable pain.

And everyone in the town continued to feed the big black dog, their great protector with the beautiful coat. "Isn't he such a fine dog?" they would say. Kind words about the dog were usually followed with, "Too bad nothing good ever happens in this town."

And nobody lived happily ever after.

[Jim Youngquist]

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