We have had 3 dogs and are now on our 4th dog. MAX, TOTO AND SASCHA are gone, we now have a crazy Beagle named Brandi and she gives us great joy and companionship. We have been privileged to experience the unconditional love that these animals bring into our lives; in my opinion they are better than some relatives. But this story is not about any of our dogs, but a neighborhood dog that I grew up with in my hometown of Saratoga Springs, Rex, was a large mutt an All-American with a brown black short coat and the head of a hound. He was owned by the Hames family a drycleaner located a few doors from my house. Rex would lie right across the doorway to the store, customers knew to step over him as they entered, and give him a quick pet.

This was his guard post until closing. Chet, his owner would lock the door, Rex did not go in, but instead started his rounds. First stop, next door to Tom’s Italian Restaurant, back door and into the kitchen. Tom and Rose always had something for Rex, when it got busy he was off to the second stop our house. You would hear him pawing at the door and we would let him in. He really enjoyed my mother’s kosher cooking; even my father was nice to Rex. After our dinner, he would leave for the Rice house, they were ultra orthodox Jews, and for some reason Rex needed more chicken fat laced food. By sunset he was back inside the Hames home resting off his meals. Every summer, which was the busy time in Saratoga, Rex could not be found. We would inquire of the Hames delivery man if he had seen Rex, and he usually responded, “I saw yesterday afternoon over on the West side of town, he’s having a good time”. At seven years old I could not understand what he meant by having a good time. You see, Rex was on the prowl for the females in heat and we suspect he left behind many an offspring, For 2 weeks he was gone, my father one day found him walking up the hill on Broadway, he said he looked drunk. My father opened his car door and Rex jumped in and came home. He had sown his oats and now needed to rest. One day my parents went out for the evening, my oldest sister was my baby sitter and as my parents left Rex walked right in. He laid down in the living room with me and watched 1950’s television. At 8PM I went to sleep, and Rex still stayed fixed in the living room. At 11PM my sister was going to bed and told Rex to leave, he would not move. She left him sleeping on the living room floor. At 1AM my father opens the door and Rex walks out. He was not leaving my sister and I unprotected.
Another Rex episode was a family that moved in across the street and had a beautiful German Shepherd. The dog was always chained. We never saw them take the dog for a walk. As weeks went by one day I noticed this dog crying and howling, no one came out of the house, it so happened they upped and left and abandoned the dog. Well this dog was crazed with hunger and thirst and broke his chain. He came running across the street right at me, when all of sudden there was Rex fighting him right over the line in the middle of the street. The king of the neighborhood was on his hind legs biting and scratching this intruder. The Shepard backed away and returned to his place by the house, Rex walking back and forth in the middle of the street eyeing him. Chet Hames came running over and got the chain around the dog and then fed him 3 cans of dog food.
The ASPCA was called and the dog was later adopted. Rex had saved the day.

About 6 years later while in High School Rex was put down, old age, fighting and carousing had taken its toll. I remember calling my sister in Dayton, Ohio to tell her about our Rex. We cried over the phone like babies, a true blue friend was gone but would never be forgotten. Long live the King, Long live REX, well done and god speed.

Lou from NJ