KING
by Sam Younghans
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MY STORY ABOUT MY LIFE WITH ANIMALS
King's story below

It wasn’t until after reading  Kinship with all Life  by J. Allen Boone, that I realized to what extent my relationship with animals actually was. I just thought everyone communicated with animals. According to Boone anyone can communicate with animals. To do that you have to want to, and you must not feel that you are above their level of intelligence. Because of, King, my first encounter with animals, my feelings were of that nature. Speaking to King like he was one of the family was the only way I knew.

King was there when I was born and left us when I was thirteen. Throughout my life my attitude towards animals remained the same. Even finding a pet fly, like the one Boone wrote about.

My fly was called, Freddy, as was Boone’s. That one was a little much for my family, but they saw it happen, and so they believed it. Freddy would land on my finger when his name was called. He would stay there and we would carry on a conversation. There were many Freddys in my life. And when ever a fly would buzz around, my kids would ask if that was Freddy.

I decided to make a list of my animal friends and write their stories. After King, there were many friends, but King was the king of them all. There was Peoples (I felt she was better than people) who sailed with me, standing on the bow through crashing waves.

She jumped on the roof of my car one day when I was going to the store, she stayed on as I pulled out and remained there until we reached the store. That became her favorite spot when riding with me; she liked the breeze, it reminded her of sailing.

Then there was Joe, a turtle who shook hands with me, Saki, a quarter horse who bedded next to me in my sleeping bag, Brady, the thoroughbred who played games with me, and a few more; they will be in my book one day.

KING

New Kensington, Pennsylvania is the place of my birth, the date was: September 13, 1929. It was a very good year (no need to go into that, history has it covered.) At that time my Grandmother, who lived a few blocks away had a beautiful German Shepard called “King.” King truly was just that, a king. He was majestic. He looked like Strongheart, the first Movie dog. I grew up with King, until he moved on to another plane at the age of fourteen.

We moved in with my Grandmother soon after I was born. My Grandmother had a large house at the end of the street, surrounded by woods. I spent many happy times there. My Mother told me about the many times that king came to my protection when I was a baby.

One story was about the times she wheeled me about five blocks to the local grocery store to do some shopping (Alas, no malls in those days - How did we ever manage?) King was always instructed to stay home, but he discreetly followed at a distance. My Mother always parked the baby carriage outside of the store while doing her shopping.

Grocery stores in those days were a small family owned businesses, usually with one door and two large windows looking out on the sidewalk. She was never in the store very long, but when she came out, King would always be there, standing guard, growling at anyone who approached the carriage. Sometimes there would be a crowd standing there, watching King. No one ever got close to me.

As I grew older I never thought of King as anything special, he was just part of the family, as was my Grandmother, Sister or Mother and Dad. I didn’t realize that not all people have dog as brilliant as King. I played games with him, and talked to him like a buddy. Which he was

One day, while walking to the store with my Mother, we approached a house, where a large, ugly, Boxer lived. His pastime was scaring and chasing people. We were on the alert, as always, and King was supposedly staying at home. When we were opposite the boxer’s house, he came dashing from around the side of the house, down the hill and a cross the street, straight for us. He never made the sidewalk. King came out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightening and hit that dog so hard on its side, that it knocked him down and king was on top of him.

When the Boxer regained his feet, he used them - he ran back up the hill to the protection of his house. King chased him up the hill, and then we called him. He came over to us, looking a little apologetic, seeing as how he didn’t stay home, but we gave him love and gratitude, and he continued on to the store with us.

We moved to Springdale, which is across the Allegheny River and a few miles down from New Kensington. King came with us. King was never tied or penned. At that time most people who had dogs, let them run free. There weren’t so many frightened people as there are now and most dogs weren’t mean. The neighborhood loved King.

One day, after living with us for about two years, King disappeared. The first thought was that he returned to visit my grandmother - but that never happened. Coming home from school and not having King waiting to greet me was a very sad affair. The whole neighborhood was on the lookout for him.

Two weeks painfully passed with no sign of King. The street we lived on was on a hill; at the bottom of the hill was the main street, running through the town. After school I walked home different routes each day, hoping to find King.

Then, one day, walking down the hill towards my home, I saw something next to the hedge that bordered our lawn. As I neared our house, I could make out a ball of fur lying on the sidewalk - it was King. I ran down the hill, yelling, “King! King!” He raised his head and tried to get up, but he was in such bad shape that he couldn’t rise. I knelt down beside him, gave him a big hug, then helped him into the yard.

My mother came out with a pan of water, which King slowly lapped up. We brought food out to him and I sat on the ground next to him, stroking his fur. I stayed with him until he gained enough strength to walk up on the porch to his rug. He laid down with a big sigh, and I was crying.

We have no idea, what happened to him, but he returned and that was all that mattered.

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