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Barb Wire

          Their family was looking for a place to live in the city while house sitting for a man who lived in the country.  Where they were staying was just temporary until an apartment could be located. When a stray dog wandered up it was evident someone had dropped him off for the country people.  Usually these strays were just taken  to the Humane Society but for some reason Franny could not carry this one off.  He had a sad wistful look. She  believed  he must have been someone's pet.

           The rush before the evening meal always kept Franny feeling like she was skipping, hopping, side-stepping or whatever was necessary to get  food quickly to her family. The children's days with school activities and her husband's sometimes trying work were always made smoother with a good hot evening meal.  This evening was no different. Here she was juggling each dish trying to see to it everything was ready at the same time. Setting the table, rushing to the stove to turn a pan of fried potatoes, chopping vegetables for a salad were all like a balancing act. Concentration can make a complete meal for the family.

         While she was checking the dish in the oven, their Heinz 57 mutt came to the back door.  So far he was simply known as Dog.  Just now he was barking with so much persistence Franny had to go to the door.

         “What the matter?”  Franny could see he was  upset. He would run over to the door and then to the back,  around the side of the house and then again back to the door,  barking wildly.  Franny had no choice but to investigate.

          When the mother saw her six-year-old son dressed in his father's coveralls, she knew why the dog was so excited.  The boy was bouncing on the trampoline. The too long arms and legs of the garment were swinging in all directions. It looked so strange to see the loose arms and legs  actually flailing around as he bounced. It was almost as if his limbs were coming off at every bounce.

           “Oh dear!  I see why you are so worried, Dog!  Son! You will have to take your Dad's coveralls off.  Dog  is so concerned. He thinks your arms and legs are coming off.”

           While they were enjoying their evening meal, Franny was telling her husband about the dog's worried, protective, behavior. She mentioned how his fur took on a spiked barbed look especially around the ruff on his neck.

         “That dog reminds me of a barb wire fence.  This mutt is like the spiked looking fence called barb wire used for keeping cattle which   makes everyone tolerate the sharp points on it because it is necessary to hold a herd from running and getting out of the pastures.

           From that day forward the dog was not simply known as Dog but as Barb Wire. If anyone asked about the weird name Franny would tell them the story about how the dog was simply beside himself   because he thought his boy was becoming disjointed. She explained at a time of crisis he simply took on a very fur on end, spiked appearance, like Barb Wire.

          All the incidents involved with Barb Wire were something the kids simply learned to tolerate.  The dog might nudge a kitten away from the street.  He could become a barking nuisance worrying a larger dog away from the  baby in a stroller. Always he was insistent on walking with the children on,  the inside,  of the sidewalk while he was closest to traffic.

          The name, Barb Wire,  was appropriate and stuck forever after the coverall incident even though it started out just as a joke.

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