I brought him a bowl of water when I thought maybe he’d been left there for good, this midsize brown-colored dog, with a pug nose and big brown eyes, and an underbite, like a chewin’ tabacco kind of dog. Could have been an overgrown chihuahua. He’d been barking all morning, tied up to a parking meter.
I thought for sure his master would come back. He had to. I saw them early that morning, when I was walking home from the bus stop (I’ve been staying at Miguel’s nearly every night in the city lately). He was asleep, propped up against the wall of the buildling across the street from me. It looked to be a kid, in baggy clothes, and big white sneakers, huddled next to his wheeled suit case, holding his sleeping dog in his arms.
The barking started later that morning, when downtown wakes up, and car horns circulate through the city’s veins. The barking lasted all through my yoga class at the gym on 4th Street, up until I thought this didn’t seem right and I brought the dog a bowl of water.
A woman who works inside the building had a similar thought. We both sat down on the sidewalk.
He’s been crying all morning, she said. I wondered if he’d been abandoned.
Samson was the name on the tag. It had a phone number. He took a slurp of water, and seemed content sitting between us, but with his eyes fixed down the street.
I’m going to to call this number, she said, and went back inside to her office space.
Both his collar and harness were too tight around his soft puppy fur. I finally found the clasp to release the harness, and under his armpits were shallow red marks. They would quickly heal, but they shouldn’t have been there. The collar was on its last hole, and even that was tight.
There was no answer, she said. She’d take him home with her to Fairfax, she said, and call again.
“Hey, Samson, my man! Look at you barking, getting all this attention.” It was the kid I saw sleeping on the street. He came out of the building with his wheeled luggage, wearing big baggy pants and a ski jacket. He was younger than I thought. He was on his cell phone. Samson jumped up at him, trying to lick his face.
“Good work, Samson. You got yourself some water! Look, well, since I don’t have a car, for sure I can’t make it,” he said back into cell phone. I’m still wondering if he was really talking on the phone. “We live on the road. It’s all good. You can go now,” he told us.
“We took the harness off of him. It was cutting into his skin.”
“Really? Wow, check that out, you’re right about that.” He bent down and lifted Samson’s paw. Samson gave him more licks on his face. His wagging tail was a blur.
“Samson was barking for a very long time.”
Have you ever noticed the pattern of asphalt? It’s really just a bunch of pebbles, all mushed into black tar. It’s strange the things you see, when your sunglasses are off, and you don’t want to look anymore.
“Yeah, he’s a barker. You’re a barker, eh, Samson? Samson my man! It’s just you and me buddy, my best friend. It’s just you and me now. We’ll make it.”
Where ever you are, Samson, I hope you find your home.