Bogey the Magnificent
~ A story for every child who has ever lost a dog
Aug 15, 2008
Let me tell you about the special day that Bogey got a new coat.
First, I have to tell you about Bogey the Magnificent. If you were one of those wonderful people whom Bogey consented to love, and had arrived at his door with the thought of Doggie Cookies in your head, he would have wagged his tail and wiggled his body and kissed your face until you had fallen over in a heap on the floor and hollered, “Enough!” You would have known who Bogey was then.
Bogey was a Wiggle Dog. No one up the street, or down the street, or even around the block, could wiggle more than he. Perhaps it was because he was part Norwich Terrier (or so he proudly told the other dogs). Perhaps it was because he had a long, furry, orange coat that gleamed in the sunlight. Perhaps it was because of his pointed kitty-cat ears. Vinny the Gangster Cat, who made it his business to roughhouse with Bogey, always told Bogey that any dog with kitty-cat ears was okay in his book.
After Bogey had wiggled for a while, he would practice barking. He had a special bark, in a special code, known only to those “in the know.” It was a secret, five-bark, “Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!” that very clearly was impatiently directed at his Master and Mistress and their Four Lovely Children. He used his imperious bark when he wanted to come into the house, and had had enough of waiting for those Lazy Humans to come get him.
Did they not know that his name was short for Humphrey Bogart the Movie Star? Did they not realize that he was also known throughout the land as the Great and Majestic “Orange Julius,” a direct descendent of Julius Caesar the Eighth, who wagged his tail at the soda pop stand on the corner of 8th and Main? If this was not true, then why did his Mistress call him Orange Julius? Since Bogey was very wiggly and was often busily barking, he never, ever heard the birds in the trees when they called down to him with kind little chirps and said, “Dear Doggie, it’s because your coat is orange.”
Whenever Vinny the Gangster Cat heard His Majesty bark, he just sputtered and harrumphed, and slyly hissed, “Humphrey Bogart had bad teeth, you know.” The squirrels thought that was very funny, and would scamper up and down the tree limbs, just out of reach, and squeak, “Bad teeth! Bad teeth!”
Orange Julius Bogey the Magnificent ignored them all, for he knew a great secret. His special five-bark code always worked! So, with enough wiggles to mix up a fruit smoothie, he would greet his Master or Mistress or one of their Lovely Children when they very obediently came outside to get him, and he would say, with just a hint of condescension, “Did you really have to take so long?”
He never waited long enough for an explanation. Why should one wait for trifles, when Vinny the Gangster Cat was just inside the door, already in his running shoes, getting ready for a race? If that wasn’t enough to distract a Royal Wiggle Dog, there was the Large Yellow Labrador who was always willing to play the Bite Game.
Have you never heard of the Bite Game? It’s really a lot of fun, you know. You take your mouth and open wide, baring all of your teeth, and then you firmly press down on the biggest bite of fur that you can grab, and then you pull and pull, and growl and growl. Then you run as fast as ever you can because the Large Yellow Labrador is actually much better at playing Bite than middle-sized Norwich Terriers, even ones of Royal blood.
At first, Bogey the Magnificent didn’t like the Large Yellow Labrador. She was named “Indi.” What kind of name was that anyway? She just showed up in the kitchen one day, small and squirmy, and smelling like wet puppies. She didn’t even know how to poo. It was with many sighs of Kingly tolerance that Bogey slowly managed to teach the little squirt what was up. He practiced growling at her loudly, just to show her who was really the Boss. When she trembled and cowered at his magnificence, he grandly waved his paw and said, “You may stay, my child.”
Then she grew. And grew and grew and grew, until Bogey could have driven his sports car right under her tummy! She was that big! It was extremely unfair, and Bogey spent many a night browsing the Internet looking for the phone number of the Dogs’ Union for Unfair Growth Practices, until one of the Lovely Children caught him in the act and said, “Bogey! Dogs can’t go on the Internet! And how did you get the password anyway?”
Grumbling, Sir Bogey decided that he must put up with Her Largeness. Luckily for him, Indi was a kind, sweet young thing. She would often press her cheek against his and say, in her soft Southern accent, “You’re the One, Bogey!”
After playing the Bite Game in front of the television during movie night, which was always a thrill because it made the Master mad, since he couldn’t see the TV, Bogey and Indi would spend a great deal of time staring at the dinner plates. You may wonder why dogs would stare at dinner plates, but if you had seen the pizza crusts just sitting there, what would you have done?
The Mistress was very kind, which is as it should be. She could always be counted on to throw Bogey a “Pizza Bone,” as she so quaintly called the bits of crust. He didn’t mind what she called them as long as she obeyed his special “Loud and Persistent Pizza-Bone Whine,” which was a great specialty of his. Indi and Vinny were quite jealous of his talented whining and often asked him where he got his Degree.
Bogey couldn’t remember, but since he was a kind Leader, he did warn them that Pizza Bone Chewing was almost as bad as cigarette smoking. He would open his mouth and mutter, “See my teeth? Do as I say, not as I do!”
It was a sad fact that after many years of Pizza Bone Chewing, Bogey’s lower front teeth were very bad indeed. He was nine years old, and feeling creaky and rickety and inclined to sleep a lot, in between playing the Bite Game and chasing Vinny the Gangster Cat. His long, furry, orange coat was getting white and a bit straggly. He asked Indi if she knew which shampoo would fix his split ends, but she was no help at all. She just smiled and murmured, “My Kingy Thingy, you’re getting old. But I love you.”
He still had juice, though. He was, after all, Bogey the Magnificent Orange Julius. On the cloudy morning of August the 12th, 2008, which on the Dog Calendar is known as “The Day to Get Rabbits before the Snow Comes in Maine,” he decided that it was every King’s right to travel and see the sights.
Being a clever Wiggle Dog, he pulled back and forth until the old spring on his very personal leash went “Pop!” and he was off! He ran this way and that way, and up the yard and down the yard. Freedom was a glorious thing, and Bogey the Magnificent was Proud and Happy to be On the Run.
It might have been a cat or a squirrel or even a low-flying birdie that caught his eye. He hasn’t told anyone yet, but perhaps one day he will. Whatever it was, the thrill of the chase coursed through his getting-old veins with a glorious command to run, Bogey, run!
He ran and ran and forgot all about the rule that even Kingly Dogs should look both ways before they cross the street. A vehicle roaring down Main Street interrupted his Adventure, much to his annoyance. He was very perplexed as he saw the vehicle speeding away, leaving his body on the road. He sniffed it, and thought it very odd that it looked like a carbon copy of himself.
A nice lady came along and took his body to the vet’s, down the street. It was just two blocks away from his home, so Bogey decided not to follow her. Why should he? She was carrying something that looked like him, but she obviously didn’t see that he was sitting right there on the grass by the road! He barked at her, but she couldn’t hear him, so he turned around and went back to his yard and lay down under his favorite tree, and forgot all about the lady.
After a while, his Mistress came out, and then his Master, and then the Lovely Girl Child. They looked right at him, but couldn’t even see him! He did his special five-bark code many times, but they didn’t even hear one of his barks. They called him and called him, so he went right up to them and smiled at them and wagged his Kingly tail, but for some strange reason, they couldn’t see him. He wondered if they had lost their minds. He had heard about such things.
He watched them all day, as they drove around town, and walked through the woods, calling his name. He watched as they drove to the vet, and came back crying, around dinnertime. Since he loved them, he tried kissing them with his special Wiggly Kisses, but they didn’t rub his back or anything. Later that night, after they had gone to bed, he sat in the kitchen and talked with Vinny the Gangster Cat. At least Vinny could see him!
Bogey was surprised, and said, “New coat? What do you mean, Gangster Boy?”
“Your coat, stupid! It’s shiny and fluffy, the way every cat’s coat should be. And your teeth! Zowie, wowie, man! You got new teeth! Not bad! What’s your scam?”
Bogey was quite astonished at this new turn of events. He climbed up on top of the kitchen table, which was, of course, quite Off Limits, and stood over the round hair-cutting mirror that was lying on the table. The Gangster Cat was right! His missing lower teeth were back, and his coat was a thing of pride! He looked at Vinny and said, “What do you expect? I’m a King!”
The next morning, he greeted everyone with a Wiggle and a Bark, but again got no response. He went up into the field that morning with his Mistress and his Lovely Girl Child and watched them dig a hole in the field. He tried to help them, but for some reason, his paws couldn’t quite catch the dirt.
Around 2 p.m., as he was sunning himself under his favorite tree, he was surprised to see his Master carrying something that looked just like him. The Master put it down next to him, and then the Mistress and the Lovely Girl Child came out of the house, with Indi in tow.
He was happy to see her, and said, “Hey Girl! What’s going on?”
Indi smiled at him and then went up to his body that lay on the sheet and sniffed it. The Master and Mistress bent down and patted Indi, and said, “Bogey’s gone away, Indi.”
Indi looked at them, and looked at his body on the sheet, and then looked at Bogey, and said, “You’re going away, Bogey darling?”
He didn’t think he was going away, but things were feeling kind of strange. He jumped up and barked at his Master and Mistress and said, “Hey, Guys! I’m standing right here! Look at my new coat! You didn’t even have to give me a bath! Look how shiny it is!”
They didn’t see him, though. They carried his body up to the top of the hill by a big tree, and put it in the hole that they had dug, and put flowers on his body. His Mistress read some beautiful words from a paper that she had written on, and they touched his body and prayed and said they loved him. He liked that, and barked in agreement. They said that they would see him someday, and he liked that too. They covered his body with dirt and sod and put flowers and a stone on top of the dirt.
Then they said, “Good-bye, Bogey!” and hugged and went back down the hill to the house.
Bogey sat at the top of the hill and watched them as they went into the house. Indi saw him through the door and smiled and barked.
He didn’t know quite what to do. He thought about staying in the house with them, even though they couldn’t see him. As he was sitting by his grave, he heard a sound behind him. Looking around, he saw his old friends, Rupert the Placid Cat and Hobbes the Gangly Jumping Dog. They had left for parts unknown some time ago, when they all lived in Virginia, where there were no squirrels in the yard (much to Bogey’s disgust). What was more exciting than barking at squirrels?
Rupert and Hobbes came over and sniffed him, and said, “Nice coat, Bogey!” and “Wow! Shiny Coat!”
They talked about old times, and sat in the sun and looked down the hill at the house. Rupert, who always knew things before anyone else, explained all about the new home that Bogey was going to live in. Bogey was quite pleased to hear that there were thousands of squirrels there who absolutely loved to play tag with Kingly Dogs with Orange Coats.
He was very happy indeed to hear that one day his Master and Mistress and Lovely Girl Child and the Three Handsome Boy Guys would all come to live there too, and would give him Pizza Bones to chew on every single night! Vinny the Gangster Cat and Indi the Southern Belle would come too, along with Minnie the Squeaky Fragile Cat, and lots and lots of other animal friends. Nothing would ever prevent Bogey Orange Julius from Wiggling and Barking and doing what he did best, which was, of course, to live like a King.
After a while, Rupert and Hobbes stretched, and got up and started walking toward the woods. Bogey followed them, but as he reached the edge of the woods, he turned and looked at the house and barked. It was his very best and most special bark, and carried with it across the field to the house all the codes and words that he had learned in his nine years of Wiggly life. He barked again, five times in all—his special “woo, woo, woo, woo, woo” bark that this time meant, “I’ll see you soon.”
Rupert and Hobbes smiled at him, and then the three of them walked into the woods and were gone. No, not gone. Not that kind of gone.
On a sunny day, they might visit again, and ask for Pizza Bones and Kitty Cat Treats.
It’s what they do.
This story was written for our youngest child, Tadin,
who was away from home when our dog Bogey was hit by a car.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”
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