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American Dog
A Canine Myopic or Toby the Teenage Dog
© 2023 James LaFond
NOV/12/23
Copyright 2023 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart Publisher
Four four winters the author, a stray human, has wintered under the watchful eye of Toby, the youngest of three dogs residing with their two houses full of humans at the foot of Cedar Mountain. The remarkable antics of Toby, which include his ability to open doors, have inspired his casting in the horror novel Uprising. Over this past winter, the author noted that Toby is remarkable, not just in his ability to understand human conversation and operate some human devices, but in his deep fears as well. Something lurks upon or under Cedar Mountain which terrifies Toby. The author here takes it upon himself to try and plumb the nature of this deep fear in a horror novel, written from a dog’s perspective.
For Izzy, the most loyal dog under Heaven.
“Neighbors help each other out—that’s what we do.”
-James Chosen, February 24th 2023, under Cedar Mountain
To the Reader
The novel Slave was and is to be set under this wonderful green mountain which my canine friend Toby dreads with such fear. It is written entire in this bleary mind’s eye. But Toby’s sad eyes of amber, which tear often and leave streaks of sleep, haunt this stray human soul. I have often, over the 8 months that Toby and I have been acquainted, watched Toby as he was overcome by sadness at the leaving of his humans, for whom I ever stand as a poor substitute, a substandard human at best.
I have witnessed Toby’s abilities at divining the speech of humans and of manipulating his fellow dogs, only to wonder at how he is used and terrified in his turn by cats, coyote, elk, mule...and whatever goes there on the mountain that so fills him with un-hound like dread. Part of Toby’s problem, is that he is very much a creature of leisure, a suburban dog, placed in a rural environment.
As an aspiring novelist, yet to write his signal work, I am somewhat ashamed to be putting off my Ulysses for a novel about talking, true-seeing animals and their witless humans. But Toby’s sad eyes will not let my muse go. Also looms the image of Izzy, Toby’s adopted sister, who was fading fast this past winter, graying in her face, flagging in her gait, and begging in her gaze for a bit of ease come the snowy night that she romped through a mere four years ago when we met.
Two winters ago, the Colonel, her human, sent me home drunk with Izzy as a guide. She led me through the woods and I recall, after passing out in bed, having a dream that this outside dog, which was not supposed to shirk guard duty for the ease of hearth and rug, tucked me in bed.
What a strange dream that was, I mused, as I rose from bed and, heading for the coffee pot in the front of the camper, tripped over Izzy, lying guardian at the foot of the bed.
This winter, as the aging dog sister Izzy and dog brother Amos stayed on the porch as I walked home sober in the dark cedar forest towards Toby’s house, my flashlight gave out. I was enclosed in misty murk, not a star in the night sky peaking through the waving cedar palms. Then I heard Amos’, houndish breathing and the jingle of Izzy’s dog tag and felt her there by my hip. They then guided me home thought he dark.
There, as I rounded the corner of the exterior pump room and saw the gray smoke emerging from the stack upon the roof, I caught a glimpse of Toby looking at me through the sliding glass door of which he is guardian, his amber eyes weepy and fearful of the night from which I emerged.
I must write this dog novel and, if I am to do it authentically, cannot write it strictly as a children’s book, which will bar it from mass appeal. I decide here, to render it as a teenage novel. For Toby is the perspective character and is a juvenile of his kind; no Pup is he, yet he fears the full weight of adult responsibility like the true American he is.
I hereby certify, and have witnesses of human, feline and canine kind to vouch for, the fact, that above 80% of the story the reader is about to read, did happen, under or on Cedar Mountain. The bulk of the first chapter, and the last few chapters are what I perceive as being the root of Toby’s great fear. For I was tasked with curing him of his fear of Cedar Mountain. And, as my aging sense that Toby’s view of the world is far more accurate and true than such bizarre human notions as science dawns longer each day, it is my hope that this small portion of Toby’s story rings the truest of them all.
I have placed myself as a key supporting character, for I have noted that the dogs and cats of Cedar Mountain regard me as a special being, something of a cross between a dumb human and a true seeing four-leg.
The Story as Posited by Toby
Officiated and Certified by Mamma Cat Bisquick and Tuxedo Cat Annie, Guarantors of Canine Veracity
-1. Toby & The Slanty Eyed Devils
-2. Toby & James Chosen
-3. Toby & Mamma Bear
-4. Toby & Smooka Bear
-5. Toby & Benny Bear
-6. Toby & Izzy
-7. Toby & Amos
-8. Toby & Captain Coon
-9. Toby & The Vet
-10. Toby & The Door
-11. Toby & The Stray Human
-12. Toby & The Elk
-13. Toby & The Mules
-14. Toby & The Boo Cave
-15. Toby & The Big Bad Dog
-16. Toby & The Human Invaders
-17. Toby & Butt Scratch
-18. Toby & Colonel Coyote
-19. Toby & The Bear
-20. Toby, Where Strays Dare
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