Dog Alley is a worse place now that “Biff” is gone. He’s the pit bull that I befriended through a small opening in a gate along Dog Alley.
I didn’t know his name, so I made up one. Biff. He was a beautiful brown dog. I always whistled for him, and he came running and barking to the gate. He is at least as friendly as the dachshund on the corner, and much more friendly than the Doberman Pincher a few gates down and the Irish setter at the end of the Alley. But he’s been gone for weeks now, and that led me to ask a neighbor woman if she knew what had happened to him.
She was out in her front yard raking up debris, a short woman in midlife who introduced herself as Jill. When I spoke of the pit bull, her eyes began to water. “I love that dog,” she said. “His name is Chaco.” Jill described Chaco as a sweetheart who got little attention from the single woman who owned him. She seemed surprised to learn he was gone.
“Wait a minute,” she said, going to her front porch and hauling a chair over to the neighbor’s tall fence. Standing on the chair and leaning over the fence, she called several times for Chaco. But Chaco of course did not appear. “I guess he’s gone,” Jill said.
There was some bad history in the neighborhood with Chaco. He had apparently gotten loose one time and killed a cat across the street. But that was several years ago, Jill said. She had no answers why he suddenly disappeared. “Maybe,” she said, “he’s living with the boyfriend.”
I still whistle when I pass the opening in the gate along Dog Alley. I haven’t given up hope yet.