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“For The Love of Dog”
By: Eric Kinkel

V 2.2

It all began in the fall of 1984, after suffering a major kidney stone, the surgical removal and consequent hospitalization to follow, my dear friend and confidant Marion “Ma” Nugent returned from her son Ted’s ranch where I had been the previous week.

After coming home, she called to ask if she could visit me in the hospital and that she had something to give me.

Prior to her arrival I had told the attending nurses that Ted Nugent’s mother was about to visit me. Escorting “Ma” Nugent to my room,
I was warmly greeted by all the curious nurses. Under "Ma's" arm was a bulky case cloaked in a mink coat, her own of course. With some help, she gently laid the gift across my lap while I lay in the hospital bed.

Open it she said! it was an acoustic guitar that Ted rarely played. One, which at the time was at the top of its line, a black spruce top,
deep bowl, Ovation acoustic/electric. What a beaut!

“Ma” knew I had an appreciation for the guitar because I would occasionally get it out while visiting with her at Ted’s ranch in Michigan.
She enjoyed the melancholy melodies I would bring alive from the sedentary 6-string axe perched away in Ted’s hunting room.

So, there I was surrounded by a room of filled with beautiful nurses and “Ma” Nugent. “Ma” exclaimed; “well, now you’re going to have to name it”. Quickly, I dubbed it “Old Ebony”.

She demanded; "you must learn one of Ted’s songs on it right away". I was able to manage a slow bluesy ballad called “Take me Home”.
I proceeded to strum out a few lines and chords in the key of “A”, while I directed the lyric’s to the star struck nurses.

With a raspy voice, I retorted a few lines from the song: “Take me home girl, I think I know what you’re looking for. Take me home girl, you won’t have to look no more”. Everyone in the room laughed while they enjoyed my quick wit and slick picking.

Soon the girls began to gather around my friend whose lively spirit preceded her celebrity.

“Ma” graciously answered questions about her famous son and her life as a columnist for the Illinois Entertainer.

I kept that guitar for nearly 12 years. I wrote many a song using “Old Ebony” and played it on occasion when I would perform in the local clubs in and around the Chicago area in the late eighties and early nineties.

In 2002, I sold “Old Ebony” to a close friend in California. Paul takes good care of her for me and for that, I am deeply grateful.

In turn, I used the capitol I received from the gifted guit-fiddle from Ted to purchase my pup.

My soon to be dog would become the proverbial transference of “love”. My guit-dawg for sure!

Shortly before my 41st birthday, I had an idea that one day I would get a puppy and raise him on my own.

I prepared my house, bought a crate, built a gate for the kitchen area, made all the preparations necessary to bring a new puppy home.

After talking to breeders and looking for months at adds in the paper, I exacted some careful consideration and settled on a scrawny little pup at “Lambs Farm” in Libertyville, Illinois. Lambs Farm is a place which empowers an extraordinary group of more than 250 people with developmental disabilities to lead personally fulfilling lives. Their pet shop was home to a lean yet beautiful chocolate lab mix that could not stop chewing on my dress shoes and accidentally peeing on them as well. He exuded a potent happiness all pups do when they receive attention.
I was smitten!

The morning I was to pick up the pup, I reached for the newspaper at my door and there on the front page the headlines read:
“Clinton dog “Buddy” hit and killed by car”
. The poor little guy. I decided I was going to take his name, however cliché,
I had a feeling he was going to live up to it.

As the years have rolled by Buddy has remained my steadfast partner and pal. A joy to come home to, Buddy is a proud part of my life. Together, we share life’s ups and downs all the while he imparts his unique yet never ending hormone filled happiness along with: tail wags, kisses, side by side naps, play time, wrestling and of course chasing pretty women as a favorite past time. Buddy enjoys women far more than men, yet he manages to sense true dog lovers above all no matter who they are.

I often express my joy of life through my pal. I end up calling him goofy nicknames such as: “Monkey nuts”, Waddle butt”, “Belly Boy. On occasion he gives me what I call "dork face". A rather quirky look, exposing his lower teeth, while anticipating something good -a - a treat, or, a walk etc.. He expects from me....nearly every day, as a part of my coming home greeting, that I give him some: “butt rubbin luvin”, where I rub his back end with my two hands while he wags his tail to the delight of kisses which amount to slobbering all over my face…..lovely ha? I love it. These are daily moments I never grow tired of...period!

I embrace and share the love for my dog with all who come to know us.

When I hug my Buddy, I can only describe it as; a deep abiding affection, which he in turn radiates back to me.

Through his eyes, I see an entirely different world.

The next time someone express frustration over life’s trivial moments and says to me: “For the Love Of God”, I will have to correct them and say; no sir, or, Ma’am….its: “For The Love Of Dog”!


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