Fiction logo

The Pear Grove

by Robert Shaneyfelt 2 months ago in Short Story · updated 2 days ago

Better Bark Than Bite

Better Bark than Bite. (Click on play/replay to enjoy video.)

written by Robert Shaneyfelt 29 July 2o21

Russell, the pear grove caretaker, and Sam, his 100-pound labrador retriever, were doing their daily early morning canvass of the pear trees. They noticed ladders used for fruit picking were left out overnight. This angered Russell as he lashed out at nearby fruit pickers who were likely responsible for leaving the ladders out all night.

Sam, excellent watchdog, loyal, companion, and fog that will never pass obedience school.

As Russell was in the middle of angry yelling at the fruit pickers, he immediately realized he should not have raised his voice. (At that moment, he felt dumber than his dog Sam, and Sam flunked obedience school.)

His dog interpreted the angry yelling as an order to attack the pear pickers. Later that day, animal control showed up to take Sam off to doggie jail.

A​s the dog catcher pulled the dog pole loop tightly around Sam's head and lifted him into the compartment on the animal control vehicle. He let out a helpless whimper, which greatly contrasted with his earlier angry growl.

Sam was the kind of dog that was so loyal he would follow Russell everywhere he went. (When Russell had to pee when he was in the middle of the pear grove, Sam made sure to pee in the same spot.)

A day later, Russell went to the dog pound to try to retrieve Sam. After being told that Sam would need to show proof of Rabies vaccination before being released. Russell then went to the nearest veterinarian, paid a significant amount of the total cost, and made arrangements to bring Sam to their office in three days.

Three days went by, and Russell went to the dog pound to retrieve Sam as arranged. The plan seemed to be going on without a hitch; the dog catcher even offered Sam a ride to the veterinarian.

Then they got to the veterinarian; all shit hit the fan. Sam started acting aggressively: the vet accused Sam of being a feral dog. The vet would not honor their commitment. Russell even offered to hold Sam while the Vet. gave Sam the rabies shot, but the secretary speaking for the Vet. would not budge from her position. Russell wasn't even sure if the vet returned all the money that Russell had paid them upfront for the rabies shot.

Russell and Sam were only a half-mile from the pear grove. The Vet. seemed eager to give Sam a death sentence; Russell had days to prepare for this, only to have the Vet breach her commitment at the last minute, equivalently handing Sam a death sentence, If Sam was not released soon from the dog pound, he was scheduled to be put to sleep.

Several months back, Russell was hired to be the caretaker of a pear grove. It was early August, time to harvest the pears. They soon would be busy harvesting the pear trees. The seasonal fruit pickers had arrived. Two fruit pickers had a habit of not putting the ladders, used for the pear picking, away nightly. Their thinking of having the ladders out each morning would make it more convenient for their pear picking process.

Russell was against leaving the ladders out all night, making it more convenient for the pear pickers. He was caretaker, and any damage to the ladders came out of his paycheck.

While Sam was in doggie jail, he wouldn't let any handlers get close to him. They told Russell that a requirement to get Sam out was proof of an up-to-date rabies shot. This seemed insurmountable because the only one Sam would let get close enough to him to give him a rabies shot was Russell, and by law, Russell couldn't give Sam the shot; Russell was not a licensed veterinarian. (Russell eventually solved this problem by using the black market to get sedatives for Sam.)

Sedative's allowed Sam to calm down enough that a veterinarian could give Sam rabies shots and thus allowing his requirement of having current rabies shot to get out of the dog poud to be met. (This solution seemed like a case of breaking the law to adhere to the law.)

After the disappointment of the previous attempt at pursuing Sam's freedom, the new agenda appeared hopeful.

The day came when Russell had all the arrangements to achieve what several days earlier seemed impossible.

As Russell entered the dog pound, Sam heard his voice from across the building and became very excited. He became so active that a handler said to Russell that the dog really loves him.

Once again, harmony seemed to exist in the world. It was Russell, the pear grove, and Sam -- "Excellent watchdog, loyal companion, and the dog that will never pass obedience school."

I​f you like this story, please give me a like by selecting the heart near the bottom of this page, left of the "send tip" button.

I​f you are able, please provide a tip by selecting the " Send tip" button near the bottom right of this page.

Short Story

Robert Shaneyfelt

I was born in Chicago, but I grew up in Indiana. I received my Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Trine Univesity, located in Angola, Indiana, north of Fort Wayne. I currently live near Dallas, Texas.

I am a retired Engineer.

Receive stories by Robert Shaneyfelt in your feed
Robert Shaneyfelt
Read next: Little Butch

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links