Aug 15


by Josh Olsen

A dog was lying in the middle of 96. A dead dog. Black and white. Shaggy. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen a dead dog. Hell, it wasn’t even the first time I’d seen a dead dog on that very same strip of highway. But this time the shock of it hit me like a punch in the sternum.

I used to be the type of person who’d laugh at such a thing, or at least that was who I thought I was, and I’d fully embraced that reputation, whole-heartedly.

But maybe I’d gotten soft.

That very same night, at my son’s monthly Cub Scout meeting, the guest speakers were a DEA agent, his partner from Border Patrol, and his drug-sniffing dog. I admit, I was a bit nervous, at first, and rightfully so. Who knew if the dog, a massive Belgian Sheppard of some sort, would catch a whiff of stale marijuana in the threads of my unwashed sweater, so I found myself falling in with the crowd, laughing and applauding, a little too easily. But what could I do? The young, handsome, ambiguously ethnic Border Patrol officer was affable and charming, and his pet/coworker was downright impressive.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve fantasized about seeing all three of them, the DEA agent, the Border Patrol officer, and his dog, lying face down in the middle of the highway, their entrails smeared across the concrete.

But maybe I’d gone soft.

Maybe I had a soul, after all.