No Atheist Dogs

No Atheist Dogs


“You stole the dog.”

“He had no collar.”

“You stole the dog.”

“He was A, loose with B, no collar on C, a busy street.”

 Judson sighed.  “You could have knocked on doors, asked around.  Read my lips: You. stole. thuh. dog.”

“And ticks,” I retorted.  “He had ticks.  I picked them off.”

“But not till after you got him home, so you couldn’t have known that en flagrante.”

“Three out of four ain’t bad or, in this case, good.  Ask Chevy what he thinks.” 

“No, you ask him how he likes being saddled with an absurd moniker like Sacheverell.  Where did you dig that one up, Burke’s Peerage?”

Chevy, who was lounging nearby, listened to our exchange with shining eyes and grinning mouth, the latter no small achievement for a basset.  I’m convinced he loves our sparring, especially when he’s the subject.



Frequently I take Chevy with me for quick in-and-out errands that require him to wait in the car no more than a minute or two, and always with air-conditioning.  But he wasn’t with me the next time I traveled along the street where I’d found him.  

Because I got only a passing glimpse at first, I honestly thought the shepherd mix lying on its side in a patch of grass near the pavement was just soaking up a little late afternoon sun.  I don’t know what made me do it, but before I got to the intersection I turned around and drove back to take another look, close enough to see that it was female.  And not breathing. 

From general appearances, she had not been dead long.  I positioned the car as near as possible, leaned out the window, and snapped several photos with my cell. 

After my brother got home from class that evening, I shoved the phone in his face. 

“You see that?’ I asked, tapping the screen. “Deader than disco.  And not a hundred feet from the very spot where I lifted Chevy into my car.”

“Nice,” he grunted.  “A nice picture to show someone when they’re eating.”

Two days later I found a wrapped and beribboned box in front of my bedroom door.  The card said, “All my slobber, Sacheverell.”  I ripped the paper off and found a lidded mug inside with a picture of a mournful basset hound on one side and a caption on the other that read: “There are no atheist dogs, for they have seen their God.”

It’s a great mug.  Keeps hot stuff hot, cold stuff cold, and holds a full sixteen ounces.


 Edna Horning


  Edna Horning was born and reared in Alabama, attended college and graduate school in Virginia and Georgia, and is now a retired reference librarian living in in Columbia, South Carolina.  She has published fiction and nonfiction in and and authored the entry for “Babette Deutsch” in volume 45, Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Poets, 1880-1945.

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