Frank Gift


Have you ever matched wits with an intelligent, opportunistic dog?


I grew up in Glendale, CA in the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains. As a Junior High student in the late 1930s I had a delivery route for the Glendale News Press. After school I folded the papers, put them in my bicycle pack and started delivering. I pumped up one street and coasted down the next, tossing papers to my customers.


On one of the downhill streets there lived a small dog, I’ll call Ralph.  Ralph was a non-descript mixed breed with rather expressive eyes. Ralph would stand by his garage in the front yard and watch for me every afternoon. He’d chase after me, trying to bite my heel as I tossed the paper in his yard. I grew very tired of this, so one day when he was right at my heel, I put on the brake and he passed ahead of me. Then I released my brake, caught up to him and gave him a kick into the gutter. He never chased me after that, but he would still wait for me by the garage of his house and glare at me as I passed by.


On Saturdays it was my custom to visit each of my customers and collect for the week’s papers. Almost everyone paid by the week. One Saturday the people who lived at Ralph’s house weren’t home, so it was necessary for me to collect for the paper on my way to school. On Monday morning I stopped at the house, put my bike on its kickstand and set my lunch bag on the ground nearby. I noticed Ralph by the garage watching me alertly. I went to the door to find the lady of the house, and completed my business. When I returned to my bike I saw a stream of yellow water running down my lunch sack, and Ralph was peering at me from the back of the garage with a SMILE on his face.



* * *