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ISBN: 9781608447534
80 pages
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Excerpt from the Book

Chapter One

My parents would not allow me to have a dog when I was a kid. Their reasoning was that a rented apartment on the fourth floor of a five story Bronx walkup, combined with my tender age and all that concrete and traffic lurking below would doom the whole puppy venture to failure. Notwithstanding, I asked every holiday and birthday from kindergarten through sophomore year of high school and received eleven years of emphatic “Nos!” Conversely, one time in the third grade I just mentioned playing the piano to my parents, which everyone knows is hugely different than asking to play the thing, and almost instantly a piano sat in the living room. In its wake were approximately 150 lessons, nearly each ending with the teacher clutching her hair with both hands while throwing a screaming fit. How the folks managed to get a piano up eight narrow flights of stairs and believe I was somehow mature enough to practice daily, yet reason that I couldn’t get a small animal up and down those same stairs or faithfully care for a puppy still mystifies me.

I left The Bronx and spent over three decades in the field of Education until I found myself rather surprised to be retired and with more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. This was not necessarily a bad thing although it did allow me to pay too much attention to certain physical ailments like sore knees and a left hand that was rapidly developing arthritis, made me a little grumpy and also allowed a bit of intellectual rigor mortis to set in. On the up side, as I approached my sixtieth year I had a chance to look back over my life for any things that I may have left undone.

I imagine in a similar situation a more thoughtful and caring person would come up with a list that includes working for world peace, volunteering in the community or joining one of those local groups that keeps a portion of our nation’s highways free of trash, but I focused on the fact that I never had my own puppy.

It would finally require a slightly wall-eyed, hyper, darn near ugly chocolate dapple dachshund named Jasper to fulfill my major undone life task, admittedly not the exact form I thought the puppy would take back in the days of my youth. Ironically, Jasper wasn’t the first of those elongated hounds we had invited into our home. About a year before he arrived on the scene, my wife, Kathy and I had already made a trip to a breeder and came back with a hand-sized dachshund puppy we named “Buck” whose head was larger than the rest of his wrinkle covered body. But I’m a little ahead of myself here so let me back up.