Mid-December, 1969
LADY PUCHESKA

A parakeet was my only pet growing up. The only dogs that I knew were the ones I walked by on the way to school. All dogs seemed to be saying the same to me. If it were not for this leash or fence you would be dead meat.

In Vietnam there were no pet stores but if we settled into a fire base there always seemed to be a dog available to adopt. We fed them and petted them and they seemed to enjoy being fed and petted.

I had become what was know as a thirty day loss, which meant I had less than 30 days left in Vietnam. My mind was already back in the world and I wasn’t interested in going out on ambushes. The men going out on the ambushes knew it wasn’t safe to trust their own lives to someone whose mind was in another world.

We had been warned about the dangers of rabies when taking in pets. To protect my men and avoid some possible more dangerous task, I volunteered to take our dog Pucheska to base camp for her rabies shot.

Pucheska seemed to enjoy the ride to base camp. She was obedient enough. If I had food she was there. If I wanted to pet her, she was there.

When we arrived at base camp we both jumped of the track. Before we could get into the building, Pucheska had already made some new base camp friends. As she walked away with her friends I started to follow her.

She was getting farther away from me and attracting new friends the whole way. I was getting concerned that I was about to lose her. I considered my situation:

  • base camp people knew men fresh out of the field could be crazy.
  • there were woman nurses and donut dollies in the base camp.
  • Pucheska had not actually heard her real name very often in the field.
I took a deep breath. Looked around and started yelling. "Here B*tch, come here girl."

When we got to the clinic, the vet said "Look’s like she’s in heat".


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©1997 C. Warren Gallion
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