Merlin has had a tough life: he lived down the road from my Mom and Dad for years. His "people" (and I use that term loosely, because they don't deserve Merlin) didn't provide the mere basics that a dog needs to get by. I doubt that he has ever been vaccinated and he still limps from a run-in with a car for which he never received medical attention.
Merlin has persevered though and somehow managed to live a long time. We’re not exactly sure how old Merlin is, but I do know that he and Shelley are very close in age – and that makes him a very elderly old man in dog years.
For a long time, my Dad would shoo Merlin away and not allow him to hang around. But as Merlin has gotten on in years, Daddy doesn't have the heart for that anymore.
So these days Merlin spends all of his time at their house; he lives there more or less.
It’s not a perfect life, he doesn't get groomed. Nor does he make regular trips to the vet. But for the first time in his life food is readily available, they treat him for fleas and ticks and worm him when necessary. Merlin also gets kind words, ear scratches and his favorite – doggie bags from restaurants!
One of biggest improvements in Merlin’s life is having a warm, dry place to sleep in inclement weather. He has taken over Shelby's carport dog house: a huge box structure that is somewhat heated and cooled through a Ronald-type invention that allows air to escape into it from underneath the house. And if the carport is too cold, Merlin could slip through the doggie door into Dad’s shop – it is heated throughout the winter with a wood stove.
Merlin spends his days hanging out with my Dad and the other dogs – not too close, but near. I think if Merlin could talk he’d tell you that things are finally looking up. He’s got three squares a day and a roof over his head and some of the decent treatment he’s deserved all along.