Romantic and inspirational gay male dog story. The last thing Rick wants is Jack, his father’s old dog. Rick has a comfortable gay lifestyle and has just moved into an inner city “no dogs” apartment house. He is sure his father dragged the promise to look after Jack out of him just to make his life hell. Now all he wants is to get his dad buried, then get rid of Jack and go back to the life he had. How hard is it to get rid of an old dog? Hard enough that it turns Rick’s life upside down and introduces him to dog loving Mike.
Rick didn’t like dogs. If he did he would have paid some attention to whether his apartment house accepted dogs before signing a year’s lease and painting the living room wall hunter green in anticipation of an even longer tenancy.
His dad knew he didn’t like dogs—and had probably taken the time to discover that there was a “no dogs” clause in Rick’s apartment lease.
So, why, Rick wondered, did his dad use the most vulnerable moment of their long and stormy relationship to saddle his son with Jack—or with tremendous guilt if Rick had refused to take him.
“One last thing, Rick,” he had said, as Rick dipped his head low to hear what had to be the eleventh last request—none of which had a thing to do with either Rick or his sister, Rachel.
“Sure thing, Dad,” Rick had whispered, being quite sure that his dad would come out of this hospitalization like he’d done several times before and probably would go on ignoring both Rachel and Rick as he had dutifully done since the day their mother had betrayed him and died of cancer.
“Promise me this last thing. I can’t go until I know it’s taken care of.”
“Yes, I promise,” Rick said. But the son had no idea what the father was going to say. Perhaps that he be buried out at the sheep ranch he had loved so much and so hard, certainly more than he’d ever loved another human being, and that had been hard to him in return? Or maybe have his old Jeep bronzed and used as his casket. Rick didn’t really care which. His dad had been little more than an inconvenience and nagging guilt of opportunity lost and relationships gone sour for no reason Rick could fathom for more than a decade. And the son’s only comforting thought on that failure to bond was that Rick knew he had given it more thought and been more concerned about it than his father ever had.
The father loved his dog more than he loved Rick—or Rachel—or even his wife when she was still alive, Rick would have been willing to bet.
“I want you to promise to take Jack. Not to put him down or send him to a kennel. I want you to promise to give him a home and see that he is taken care of—personally.”
That certainly was a bolt out of hell. Rick’s dad knew his son’s circumstance, in a small inner-city apartment. Rick’s experience with his dad’s dog, Jack, was that the hound didn’t even like Rick. Hell, he growled at Rick and kept his body between the son and the father whenever Rick had checked in on his dad and been rebuffed for the effort yet again—giving Rick the impression that the dog thought him capable of patricide. Which, at the moment, if his dad weren’t already dying, seemed a viable choice to Rick.
“Why, Dad? Why not Rachel? She lives on a big spread. It would be what Jack is used to. He’d adjust so much better . . .”
“He can’t stand Rachel. He’d die out of spite,” the dad answered. His voice was weak, though. Rick had to lower his head even farther to catch his words.