Every superhero has an origin story — so it is with Brutus, the Wonder Dog.
Like so many superheroes, he came from a rough street background. His mom, an extremely pregnant stray, had been hanging out at the local convenience store 2 days running, so my roommate’s girlfriend insisted they bring the poor pooch home. She happily popped out a litter of pups the very next morning, as if she’d been holding them in till she got inside.
Were there 4 pups? or 5? I don’t remember, as this was all tangential to me. I wasn’t ready for another dog and had no interest whatsoever. None of these were going to be mine.
Now, the Mom had blue tick hound coloration, but, from body shape, was obviously a mix. The pups in the litter looked even more like mongrels than mom did, totally nondescript — except for one. The “pick of the litter” was a little loudmouth, who sported speckled forearms like mom, but a tannish brown fur with a white ruff collar. As soon as his eyes opened, he started to charge at anyone or anything that came into the room, his head raised up high, practically prancing in his advance, yapping a non-stop warning.
My roommate, Bill, picked that one to keep, since he and his girlfriend were about to hit the road, and could take only one dog. But his sweetie wanted Mom instead, so the little yapper went to a co-worker of mine, Robert, who named him Brutus.
Robert, an ex-junkie-Nam-vet-biker, took Brutus to live and grow up in a small group of trailers, surrounded by like-minded souls. Brutus was already scrappy, and this amused Robert and his buddies so much that they loved to egg him on. He was never a big dog, but he got the impression he was, so he acted like he was. He would charge at dogs twice his size, and mostly they backed off, figuring this mutt must be crazy. Robert & his buddies ate it up.
Well, after a couple of months, Robert said he was moving again, and he just couldn’t keep Brutus. With Bill long gone, Brutus came “home” to me, complete with an unexplained limp he kept the rest of his life — “Think he may’ve got hit by a car sometime…”
I might not have picked Brutus out at first, but we sure got paired up permanently. 13 years is a long run for a hard-luck mutt like Brutus — but then again, he did have superpowers.