The Ballad of Joe the Dog

    "BAD DOG!"

    It was a coal-black night in a frozen government town, and bitter winds blew through back alleys where those words still haunted a broken-down mutt named Joe. Desolate and chilled to the dog-bone, he wandered ’til his paws hurt and his tail drooped. Joe just wanted to lie on a dry floor with his head across a warm pair of feet and forget this crazy town.

    He walked and walked, raising his frost covered sniffer to smell nothing but icy unscented loneliness. Suddenly, Joe stopped. He began to wag, as familiar aromas melted their way toward him. Coffee...cookies...wet dogs.

    Joe followed his nose to a café window where warm light shone out onto the dark sidewalk. He looked up and couldn’t believe his tired was The Doggin’ It Café. Inside, humans had escaped the relentless cold and snow, hands wrapped around steaming cups of java, with happy pooches draped over their frosted feet. Awwww, Joe couldn't stop a tear from spilling over his icicled eyelashes. It was like a dream!

    Dog tired but hopeful, Joe pushed his way in, shaking snow and ice off his coat. Droplets landed across the room, where a beautiful dame raised her head to look at the lonely, wet dog. Joe gazed at her long, beautiful gams, covered in ski pants and ending with a pair of elegant, lonely, sock-covered feet. Joe walked to the table, sniffing numb toes.

    “The name is Joe, Joe the Dog,” he wished he could say, imagining her lips coming together in an inviting whistle. He lay down, gently resting his chin across slowly warming feet. A hand reached down and rubbed his head.

    “Good dog. Join me for a cuppa Joe?”

    In gratitude to coffee drinkers everywhere for his happy ending, Joe donates a portion of Joe the Dog proceeds to local animal shelters and rescue groups.