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My first pet was not a dog, he was a Canine.

He wandered into the yard one day as if he belonged there.

Though I was taught to be stray-animal-shy, I attacked him.

He was a Cocker Spaniel.

He was collarless and his fur was matted.

He had a white stripe on his chest.

He was malnourished and mangy.

He was a miracle.

My Mom placed an ad in the newspaper along with his picture but no one responded.
I was extatic no one did.

We named him Smokey .

Smokeys place was in the basement and I don’t think I’ll ever really know why.

The basement was dark and ugly.

We laid blankets down for him and there at the end of a chain bound to the staircase is where he slept.

We loved him.
I hope he knew that.


Smokey was really loyal but fucking crazy and our yard wasn’t fenced-in, so at-all times when he was outside, he had to be chained.

As a kid I couldn’t really handle excitement and would turn dense instantly.

One day, eager to play as I was taking Smokey outside, his leash slipped from my filthy hand.

He bolted.

He was so fucking wild.


I remember it was warm and the sky was blue.

I was so close when the car bashed him.

Maybe if I had more time I coulda caught him.

The driver never stopped.

Nobody did.

My Dad stepped into that busy street like he was invincible and retrieved Smokey.

I watched Smokey’s backyard grave being made as he lay at my side.



Niagara Falls, New York, United States

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