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Ring Goes to Church

Story ID:6951
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana United States
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Ring Goes to Church
By Chuck Dishno

When I was about 6 months old a boarder that was living with us in the small town of Bly, Oregon, decided that a boy should have a dog as he grew up. I don’t know where he found this particular dog but knowing the many packs of dogs in Bly, I’m sure he didn’t have too much trouble finding a pup that was suited for me.

The dog he presented me with was a Sheppard mix with a white ring around his neck. Pop said that it was only fitting to name him Ring. As you can tell there wasn’t much originality in my family. So Ring it was.

I really don’t remember too much about Ring in those first few months but apparently he took to me right away and became my personal guard dog. Over the next few years, Ring and I became inseparable.

Although Ring was technically my dog, in reality he belonged all the family. Over the years though I would come to believe that his favorites were my Dad and my Grandmother, Etta. Pop because he took him on long walks and on all his hunting and fishing outings and Etta because she would always be dropping food on the floor. Ring probably considered her as his personal automat.

I have written several stories about Ring, including, “Dogs in my Life” and “The Windy Goose Hunt” but this story is about Ring and his faithfulness on Sundays.

For those of you who haven’t read about ring I need to point out that he got his right front paw caught in a coyote trap when he was about 4 years old. Being a Bly dog though he was tough and wasn’t about to let a little thing like a bloody foot stop him. Pop tried to keep the foot bandaged but Ring would just chew it off and lick the stump. I think he knew better, how to heal it. Over the next few weeks the foot got worse and when he jumped into a dogfight, which was quite common in Bly, he came out with just a stump. The paw had come off just below the first joint. That didn’t seem to bother him a bit. He could maneuver just fine on three legs and would balance himself on three points when it came time to pee. Ring was really a macho male dog and wouldn’t think of squatting to relive himself. At first he would let out a little yelp as that tender stub touched the ground but it soon toughened up and he was just fine.

Ring would rove all over Bly, getting into the inevitable dogfight and romancing all the females in town.

Ring was always faithful to his family though and when Pop would make his nightly trek to the local pool hall or beer joint to visit his cronies, Ring could always be found outside the door waiting for him to head home. I should point out that Pop was not a drinker and never had more than one beer and that was only if someone bought him one.

When Ring wasn’t with Pop, he would be home romping with me. We had great times together and became fast friends.

Sunday’s were a different story though. No matter how long Ring had stayed out the night before, as soon as he heard the church bell, he would come running.

We lived about 3 doors from the Methodist church and were all faithful churchgoers. My Grandmother, Etta, played the piano or organ with Mom and my two brothers sitting in the pews. Pop would attend sometimes but not on a regular basis. Ring, was a different story. No matter where he was in town, at the sound of the church bell he would be off like a shot. Sometimes he would be on one of his early morning “dates” with the current girlfriend.
Church started promptly at 10am and since it was the only church in town, the pews would fill up rapidly. Pastor Bradley was a traveling preacher from Klamath Falls and had already preached in Beatty, a small town on the Klamath Indian Reservation that morning. As soon as everyone was seated, Etta would start playing the piano.

Ring knew we would all be at the church and would come bounding in on his three legs, hitting the doors at full gallop. He was always late though and if Pastor Bradley had started his sermon, he would just stop and reprimand Ring for being late again. This didn’t bother Ring though and he would take his usual place under the Dishno pew. I didn’t take him long to be sound asleep and would soon start snoring. After a few minutes of this, racket, Pastor Bradley would speak to Ring in a stern voice and wake him up much to the delight of the congregation. This might happen a couple of times, depending on what kind of a night Ring had had. On some occasions after the sermon, and Etta was back on the piano accompanying the congregation as they sang hymns, Ring couldn’t contain himself and would sit up and howl along with the singers.

After church he would greet everyone as if to say, I’m sorry and I will try to be on time next Sunday and maybe not snore so much. All was forgiven though and he was always welcomed back.

After the service, Mom would have a scrumptious Sunday dinner and often Pastor Bradley would be invited to partake. Ring, of course would take his usual place beside Etta waiting for his treats that would inevitably fall from her plate. I think Etta would let an extra piece or two drop just to tell Ring that it was OK if he howled at her piano playing.

Ring lived to be about 13 and when he died, Pop and I buried him in a meadow where he loved to roam. I like to think that we will meet up again someday in Heaven. I can just hear that Heavenly Choir with their Angelic voices and in the background, Ring, adding his own unique sound. Maybe he will be encouraged by Pastor Bradley and Etta. After all, there must be a need for dogs in Heaven too.

I hope he catches up with his missing foot and maybe get a set of special “doggie wings” for being so faithful.

We should all be so faithful as my old dog Ring.