A couple of years after the band started, I decided to only sporadically work and focus on music, which eventually led to me being practically homeless. So, for a few months, the best thing for Worf was to let my bandmate Cody provide a foster home for him. Cody and his family were awesome to offer and provided a loving home for him, but it was hard for me. I couldn’t bring myself to visit more than once, because I felt like I was neglecting my best friend, and I rationalized the choice by convincing myself it was better for him to not see me.
Fortunately, it passed quickly, and Dan and I found a new band house and Worf was back where he belonged. The more people that entered the band’s orbit, the more friends he made. He welcomed everyone into his den and even allied with Dan’s cat Madison, who was cranky and kept to herself, but she was sweet and grudgingly allowed his presence.
It was at this new house he displayed intuitiveness I did not know he possessed. He had never been around small children before the day our friends Jeff and his girlfriend Tricia brought her son Taylor with them to visit. Taylor couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4, and he immediately picked Worf’s rope up and brought it to him. Worf loved that rope and was notorious for playing extremely rough with it. But when Taylor put it in his face, he gently took the end of it and let Taylor rip it away from him time and time again. My heart swelled with pride at yet another trait of his I had nothing to do with.
He had a big backyard to play in, and if one were to look out the rear window at the opportune moment, they might be a spectator to Worf running his laps from end to end or jumping off the deck to try and catch a bird in mid-flight, after they would audaciously try to steal his food. He loved being outside and ruled the grounds he roamed inside the fence with an iron paw.
It was in this same backyard that Dan witnessed an event I will forever be envious of. He and a friend of ours named Andy were sitting around after work one day when they heard a commotion coming from outside. Dan went to the back door to see what was up and was immediately panic-stricken at what he saw. He observed Worf unpretentiously walking around with a squirming Pomeranian in his mouth, while another was desperately nipping at his heels.
The neighbors across the street owned these two nihilists, who had apparently gotten out to tempt fate by squeezing their way through the wrought iron bars of the gate to our backyard. With visions of lawsuits and Animal Control dancing in his head, Dan yelled at Worf to drop the dog, which fortunately he did, and then watched the two Poms run frantically back to safety while Worf sauntered back inside as if nothing had happened.
The time we shared the house with Dan looms large in my memory. It was the best years of our band’s lifespan and the formative years of Worf’s singular personality. Through the constant practices, parties, jam sessions, and all-nighters, he was right there with us, serving as our de facto good luck charm and guardian angel.
We lived with Dan the next few years until I met the woman of my dreams, and eventually got married. There was a long list of reasons why I adored Maggie, chief among them being she and her 3-year-old son Isaiah loved Worf. We were a package deal, and they accepted us both with open arms.
After attempting to make a start in Memphis, in time we moved to Heber Springs and began our life there. It was in Heber where he was gifted with more ground to roam and learned to share his domain with other dogs, female of course, the first one being our Chihuahua, Twinkie.
At first, he wanted nothing to do with her but learned to tolerate her company as he went outside to do his business and make his daily patrols. I had no fear of her running off or being attacked by a larger animal, because she had her big brother Worf in tow, and she was part of his pack.
Along the way, his herd expanded to Brownie (our Dachshund – Bassett Hound mix) and Sunshine (a stray that just appeared one day and wouldn’t leave), as well as the first of many cats, Ariel. His time with Madison prepared him for dealing with felines, and while he never particularly cared for them like he did Madison, he reluctantly sanctioned their presence.
He also viewed Isaiah as a member of his brood and was gentle and careful, always maintaining a watchful eye over him. Whenever Isaiah went outside, which was often, Worf would always tag along to make sure he didn’t wander too far or get into any trouble.
One afternoon at our first house in Heber, the two went out as I positioned myself in front of the television, being sure to keep the window open so I could listen for any shenanigans. About 10 minutes into a recorded episode of 24, Worf began to excitedly bark under my window, strenuously trying to get my attention.
I looked outside and saw him looking up at me as if to say, “What are you waiting for!?”, so I got up to see what was going on. He met me at the door and led me around the house, to a patch of bushes and trees that ran alongside. Inside the undergrowth, among the bramble, Isaiah had gotten stuck in a briar patch and was unable to move. After helping him escape, the three of us went back inside, where I comforted Isaiah with ice cream, and gave Worf the biggest hug and all the treats he could eat.
It was during this period Isaiah gave him the moniker “Worfie Poots”. The first time Worf let one loose and then was startled by his own flatulence, he naturally thought it was the funniest thing in the history of the world. “Worfie Poots” quickly evolved into “Pooter” and then “Mr. Poots”, etc., which Worf never appreciated, but would condone with a wag of his tail due to Isaiah’s laughter that would always follow.
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