Last Laugh: The Hungry Dog

A lack of judgment about what to eat was the undoing of this hungry dog.

| September/October 1984

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the
principal difference between a dog and a man.
— Mark Twain

Well sir, though it ain't got cold enough yet to make the ticks quit the woods, fall seems to be lookin' over the ridges here at Plumtree Crossin'. An' whilst I hate the thought of puttin' in an honest day's work as much as the next man (an' probably a dang sight more'n most!), my woodpile has got to the point where it won't take "no" fer an answer.

So I guess it's downright providential thet I was rummagin' through my closet a few days ago tryin' to locate my long-handled underwear an' come across a letter from ol' Bill Bragg Jr., from up by Casper, Wyoming. Ol' Bill — fer those of you who haven't heered of him — is a downright prolific raconteur an' prevaricator (why, sometimes I don't even know iffen I can believe his name), with a passel of books to his credit.

In this particular missive, though, he wanted to pass along a story by another feller from up in the Equality State, a tale what Mr. Bragg hisself has been known to relate at such august gatherin's as the Wyoming Mining Association's annual meetin's. So, whilst I'm out back tryin' to figger how to get a wedge through some of that dadburned curly-grained sweet gum, you folks can set back an' enjoy the followin' story. I'll jist let Bill introduce it to you the same's he did in his letter to me.

* * *

A newspaperman named Bill Nye in Laramie in the 1870's turned into a would-be miner and went prospecting in one of the many booms that flared up in that area from time to time. He wrote an essay on his hungry, hungry dog, and I have always liked it.

Some dogs are prized for their faithfulness, others for their sagacity, and still others for their beauty. My dog was not noticeable for his faithfulness, because he only clung to me when I did not want him, and when I felt lonely and needed sympathy and deep devotion, he was always away from home.

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