Romantic and inspirational gay male dog story.
Keith is a good-looking young college footballer with an ailing mother and too many men wanting to take advantage of him. When he took a job in a nearby kennel, he came under the predatory eye of Ralph, but he also fell in love with the Labrador Retrievers there, especially one, Daisy. When she dies having puppies, it’s Keith who gives up college and raises them, letting one, Dusty, take Daisy’s place in his heart.
Afterward, everyone from Ralph, the kennel owner, to the coach of his college football team, is trying to manipulate Keith into his bed by putting dire conditions on whether he can have Dusty or come back on the football team. But for Keith love matters, and loyalty. For him there has to be more than sex and personal benefit in a relationship. And whether it’s Daisy, her puppy, Dusty, or a man, when Keith finds love, he naturally sees it as a commitment for life.
When Keith was able to regain his composure he struggled up from the floor of the barn and started walking—out of the barn, down the driveway, and down the street, toward his home that was no longer his home—trudging like a zombie. Not thinking about anything at all. Still in shock. The tears running down his face nearly blinded him, but he had walked this route so often that he could have done it in his sleep. He almost had done it in his sleep several nights when Ralph had called him in to help with some sort of trouble with the dogs. Like the night Daisy died. The night she whelped Dusty and then died. And the nights he’d cared for her pups.
About half way to the house that no longer was his home, he noticed that a car was driving alongside him slowly—at the same pace that he was stumbling along.
He recognized, first, the car and then the driver. He stopped dead in his tracks and the car stopped too.
“Get in,” Lawrence said. “Get in and I’ll drive you where you want to go. But get in now. I don’t want Ralph to see us.”
“No. I don’t want to get in, Lawrence. I don’t want to . . .”
“I’ve got something to tell you. Something you’ll want to hear.”
Keith stood there for the longest moment, looking at Lawrence. Seething at what Lawrence had done. Even before Keith had left for St. Louis, Lawrence was getting it on with the coach and taking up Keith’s position on the football team. And now Ralph. He had betrayed Keith. Had shown he wouldn’t be faithful to Keith.
And then Keith’s face went red with embarrassment at the realization that he hadn’t kept faith with Lawrence either. That he had made love to Brad. And not just the once. So he didn’t really have a reason to feel all that betrayed. And it was worse than that. When Keith had seen Lawrence’s car in Ralph’s driveway and Lawrence slipping behind the curtain in the window of Ralph’s house, what Keith had felt was release and relief. He had already subconsciously made the decision he wasn’t coming back for Lawrence. And Lawrence had saved him the embarrassment of having to say it.
Keith sighed and walked around to the passenger side of the car and got in.
“I don’t know. I don’t really know where I was going. I had planned to go back to the motel with Dusty, I guess, and then over to the college. Don’t feel like going to the college now, so I guess it’s back to the motel. The one over on Sycamore. You know. The one we went to one . . .”
Keith let it die there. He didn’t want to talk to Lawrence about that just now.
“OK, the motel then, I guess,” Lawrence said. “Can’t go back to my place, because I let that go.”
Keith sat there, staring out the passenger wind, not wanting to look at Lawrence’s face.
“I let it go because I’m living with Ralph now.”
“I figured that,” Keith told the window.
“He needed help and he offered me room and board in addition to pay . . . and . . . a share of the kennel if . . . if . . .”