He never asked for anything but a roof over his head and enough food to get him through the day. He never appeared on social media, never ran for office, wasn’t elected high school class favorite, and even his mother would have admitted he wasn’t the best looking boy in the bunch.
He only had one thing going for him. No matter where he went, he could draw a crowd of admirers.
His name was Biscuit. When my kids were little he was the family dog. And he was definitely the Leader of the Pack.
Every morning his followers would be waiting for him in our front yard. When the door opened, and Biscuit went out, the party started. His gang jumped for joy when he appeared, each eager just to say hello.
He was courteous and patient with all of them and had a kind word for everybody. Biscuit didn’t make promises so he never broke one. He was loyal to his friends and after the introductions were done for the morning, he and his gang took off to tend to their daily business.
Biscuit didn’t have a gold-plated family tree. He was actually a homeless puppy the kids brought home after school one day. He spent his first night at our house on the carport in a cardboard box full of blankets. By day two he was sleeping inside. That never changed.
This was a problem at night because long after we were asleep Biscuit made rounds of the bedrooms and woke us up. After a few months of this, he was sentenced to sleep in the basement. I think it was probably his plan all along—a way to get a little peace and quiet.
But early every morning he couldn’t wait to be set free and see his pals. Before opening the basement door the kids said “Release the Kraken'' and got out of the way.
Biscuit blew out of the basement like he’d been shot out of a cannon. After gobbling a breakfast snack he pranced impatiently at the front door until he was turned loose.
This was years ago when dogs still roamed free but the neighbors never had any complaints about Biscuit’s gang. They were probably glad to know their dogs had a good chaperone.
Biscuit “dated” some of the neighborhood dogs and when he was in a romantic mood it was not uncommon for him to disappear for a day or two.
But one time a three-day absence turned to four days, then five, then a week. His crew still waited on him every morning, but after ten days, the crowd disappeared.
The mood in the house was bleak. We knew he was gone for good.
Then one day my son looked out the window and hollered, “Oh, Lord. Biscuit’s back.”
It was the nicest reunion you ever saw, both for us and Biscuit’s pack of mutts.
Biscuit never made a promise he couldn’t keep. He didn’t bribe anybody with fancy dog biscuits.
He didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t. And his followers adored him.
People and animals have a lot in common. One of the traits they share is a willingness to follow a leader that can unify a crowd without putting someone else down.
Some local politicians have that gift. I can’t remember the last time a leader capable of unifying folks like Biscuit showed up on the national ballot.
Until then, I’ll keep hoping and praying.
But I won’t hold my breath.
Alex McRae is a writer and ghostwriter and author of There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.