Willie the Watchdog
Mighty Mauler - Party Pooch

Weekly Adventures of Warrior Willie
Marstown's Party Pup on Patrol

by Al Maxey

This Week's Adventure:
"Alley Analysis"

Willie was weary. It was quite evident in his gait: a slow, ponderous plodding down the alley behind Marstown's local all night diner. His exhaustion could be further detected in the slump of his shoulders, the half-closed eyes, and a massive head bent a bit lower this evening. Marcy Malone, the jolly, rotund owner of the diner, gazed with concern at the sight of the seemingly dejected defender of her beloved community. Willie just didn't seem himself tonight. He hadn't even touched the piece of chocolate cake she had placed on the step for him; he'd just sniffed it, sighed, and sauntered off with his tail hanging listlessly between his hind legs. Something was definitely troubling Willie, Marcy thought, as she turned from the back door facing the alley and headed quickly for the phone.

Willie wasn't sure himself what the problem was, but it was beginning to concern him. Passing up a piece of chocolate cake?! He had never done that; not that it would hurt him any -- after all, Willie had been noticing that he was dragging around a lot of extra pounds these days. Maybe that was it. Maybe he just needed more exercise; a better diet. He plopped down opposite a dumpster to ponder things. Willie didn't normally enjoy thinking; it made his head hurt. He was more an action kind of hound; more brawn, less brain. And why not?! Look where it had gotten him. He was the official enforcer of the town fathers; the "muscle of Marstown," according to one of his adoring fans. He also knew that the fathers did not look favorably on those who were given to independent thought, so he tended to avoid it. It was a choice that kept him well fed. So why was he feeling so down?! He laid his head on his paws, his jowls enveloping them, and began to ponder his plight, risking a headache, but knowing the analysis was needed.

Willie awoke with a snort! It was dawn. Who was this shaking him? He raised his watery eyes, blinking several times to clear his vision, and beheld the town fathers standing around him. It was Chairman Quid who had been shaking him. Willie always felt there was something fishy about Quid, but he couldn't quite put his paw on it. He had tried to figure it out once, but the effort had only given him a horrible migraine. Chairman Quid seemed genuinely concerned as he backed away. Willie shook his head and then brought himself to a sitting position. It was then he realized he had fallen almost instantly into a deep sleep several hours earlier when he laid his head down to ponder his predicament. "Oh well," he sighed to himself, "so much for deep thinking!" Willie had never really been good at it. Willie's "gifts" lay elsewhere.

Quid rubbed his chin as he considered the situation before him. Marcy had been right to call him. He only wished he could have arrived in the alley sooner, but Tonya Templebaum, Marstown's librarian, had required extensive counseling that evening for a personal problem and it was sunrise before he could get away. Yes, her needs were great, but it now appeared that Willie's were too! The poor mutt just seemed so listless, so devoid of life. This was not the Willie they all knew and loved. What to do ... what to do?! "Let's take him over to Doc Burns," one of the other town fathers suggested. "He'll know what to do!"

Jeremiah Burns was the local vet. He had been looking after the pets of Marstown for close to forty years now. He was good, and the people loved him. So did the pets. Willie had seen him a time or two, but never much cared for the guy. It seemed like every time he went in there he was poked or probed or pricked with something or other. Willie could live without that kind of hands-on care! A pat on the head, a "well-done, Willie," a large steak now and then was all Willie needed. Well, some time with Fifi, the new poodle, might be nice, but, other than that, his needs were rather simple. Willie was easy to please. He lived for his work, which was being "the solution" for the fathers of Marstown.

Twenty minutes later, Quid drove up to the front door of Doc Burn's clinic. Willie recognized the place and a sense of dread immediately came over him. Strange things happened in that place; he had heard the rumors. He had also seen it for himself. His best friend Rudy, who was a Doberman, had gone to see the Doc a few months back and had come out a changed hound. He was ... well ... different. Willie had a fear that he himself might one day come back from the Doc a "changed" hound. He really wasn't sure He wanted that. In fact, he knew he didn't! "You know ... I don't think ... he wants to go ... in there," Quid grunted as he struggled to dislodge the reluctant Willie from the back seat of the car. Finally, he got him into the office and into the capable hands of the local vet. "Fix him up, Doc. The town needs him. The sooner he's back the better!"

One Week Later

"Hey, look everybody," Marcy shouted from the front of the diner, "There he is!" The patrons all rushed quickly to the window that looked out upon Division Street, the main thoroughfare of Marstown. Yes, it was Willie. Head held high, chest out, tail at a smart angle. He was struttin' proudly! Willie was back, and in his prime! As it turned out, his problem was rather rare for a dog, but fairly minor to treat. He simply had a blocked bile duct. Without the "bitter bile" flowing freely through his system, Willie just wasn't Willie. Thank goodness for Doc Burns! Yes, he had saved the town from being overrun by "Outsiders!" He had returned Willie to the streets to continue his vital work.

Willie knew they were watching him out of the window of Marcy's diner. He held his head a bit higher; his strut a bit more pronounced. Then he saw her! It was Fifi ... coming his way ... perfectly groomed and looking incredibly fine (well, she was French, after all). As she drew near he put on his best display, flexing his muscles to the max to show her how buff he was. Then it happened!! Fifi gasped, stopping dead in her tracks! Willie's tail drooped and he hurried to the dimly lit alley and the comfort of his favorite dumpster. "Darn flatulence!!" Willie swore again, with even greater exuberance, as he plopped himself down next to a garbage bag that smelled only slightly worse than the lingering memory he had just left with Fifi. He would be glad when he was finished with the antibiotics. What rotten timing for a side effect to kick in. He lowered his head to his paws to ponder how best to salvage the situation. Within seconds thunderous snores could be heard coming from the alley.

To Be Continued ...