Speech: My Dog Pal, by Val Rodionov

(Intro: One day Val’s uncle brought Val a puppy. The uncle was a former hunter in Tayga (Tayga is the biggest forest in Russia located in the far East of Russia), and the uncle knew what kind of dog to choose. It was a Siberian husky puppy. They called him a very friendly name. The English version of that name would be Pal.)

(Loud: Whistle.  Whistle. Whistle.) Pal, Pal, Pal! He always came on that call regardless wherever he was and whatever he did.

I was 12 when my uncle brought this puppy. He was very little – a fur ball. Mix of dark yellow and white. I built him a dog house, and the dog house was very beautiful and it was very well built.

We fed him milk, bread, and all kinds of leftovers including meat, bones and soups. There was no dog food in Russia at that time, so the dog ate all organic foods. He was growing very fast.

My uncle knew all about dogs, and he said that the dog should be chained from 8am till 8pm, and after that he should be let go. That way the dog has freedom to move around and protect the house during the night, and he did. He did an excellent job. Nobody unknown could come close to the house. Pal would bark when somebody was approaching the house. He would not bark at cars or motorcycles on the road or at people further than 100 yards from the house.

He sensed people very well. It is amazing how he did it. When a good person was coming to our house gates, Pal would bark, but he would not be angry and furious. However, when a bad person was approaching, Pal would be so aggressive and ready to tear that person apart. When later on I saw movie Terminator, I valued how well the movie creators highlighted dogs’ abilities to spot, feel, and recognize the terminators.

Anytime I went to the forest, I would take Pal with me. He can run free and keep me a company. It was a lot of fun to have him around.

During the day he would sleep in his dog house or outside of it on the ground. He was always alert even in his sleep. At 8PM I would let him off the chain. He would run away for a few minutes, and he would be next to the house all evening and night.

I rode a bicycle almost everywhere I went. Pal would run after me, but most of the time I would not want my dog with me, and I would give him a command go home, and he would go.

One summer evening my friend Ivan came on a motorcycle, and we went to drive on the hills a mile from my home. Pal followed along. He would keep up with us regardless of the speed. We decided to test how fast he can run. We were going down the hill. It was about 7-10 degrees downhill. We go 20mi/hr, Pall is outrunning us, we are 30mi/hr, he is keeping up, we are 40, he is right besides us, and only at 45mi/hr we passed him. It was so much joy to play with him. He loved it so much. I’ve never seen anyone being so cheerful and happy at all times as Pal was.

He grew up with me. He appeared when I was 12. I graduated from the high school at 17, and I moved from my home town to a big city a 1000 miles away. My Mom stayed in the house, and Pal stayed with her. I had a new very exciting life being a college student, and at 18 I was drafted to serve in Russian Navy for two years. While I was in the Navy, my Mom sold the house and moved to the big city closer to her children. She left Pal to the people who purchased the house. There was no way to take Pal with her. The apartments in the city are too small, and we would not keep Pal in a small prison after his years of freedom.

I missed him. My Mom said that Pal lives with good people, and they offered to leave Pal with them. I do not know much about his transition from us to the new owners. He must have suffered a loss.

After I was done serving in the Navy, I visited my friends in that little town I spent my school years. It was a beautiful summer. I was visiting for a week, and one night after the midnight I was walking with a friend, and asked him to walk on the street where I had lived. We were approaching the street, and about 300 yards from my former home I recognized Pal’s barking.

(Whistle. Whistle. Whistle.)

The barking stopped, and galloping started… He was galloping towards me. Squealing he jumped on me started licking my face and hands. He was jumping and jumping utterly happy. I cried. I hugged him and played with him for a few minutes. It was very joyful for both of us! We have not seen each other for 3 years!

I had to go. Pal followed me for a few minutes, and I gave him the same command. Go home. We said good bys, and he went back to his old home with the new owners.

Every time I recall this story, tears come to my eyes. I know that I had to leave him because he had to have his freedom, and so did I.

The End

About Mr. Val Rodionov

Val grew up in in a small Russian town surrounded by a forest... He is also the Vice President of Education for the Renaissance Speakers.