Beware the sleeping gas pump dog

Hopelessly lost in Alabama — a road map might have been a good investment — I pulled over at a sad- and sleepy-looking gas station, just north of I have no idea where, to ask directions.

A big yellow dog was sound asleep at the foot of a gas pump. He didn’t wake up when I walked by. Nor, when I opened the door and walked in, did the proprietor. He was in an easy chair, facing the door, sound asleep as well.

I cleared my throat, and gradually his eyes opened — the proprietor’s, not the dog’s.

“Hep ya?” he asked from his chair.

“You sell maps here?” I asked.

“Nope,” he answered.

“Can you tell me how to get back to Tuscumbia?” I asked, not entirely sure he would be willing to do so.

“Go up to Russville and turn left.”

“Go up to where?”


I thanked him, complimented him on his fine looking dog, and walked out. The big dog was still asleep. The gas pump dog being too bucolic a photo opportunity to pass up, I got my camera out of the car, took a few steps closer to him, and took a picture.

Though slamming car doors hadn’t awakened him, the subtle click of the camera did. He opened his eyes, looked at me, turned his head and looked at my car. That’s when he saw Ace, whose head was poking out a half open, or half closed, depending on your point of view, window.

His hackles rose and a growl began to form, though he still hadn’t gotten up. As he began to rise, I walked slowly back to my car, then not so slowly back to my car. He followed, slowly at first. I was in the car by the time he ran toward us, barking first at Ace’s window, and then, by the time I got the car turned around, at mine. He chased us down the highway a bit before turning around and going back to the station.

I proceeded in the direction the gas station proprietor had advised, for miles and miles, but didn’t hit Russville. So I stopped again, and got the same directions. “Go up to Russville and turn left on 43.”

A few miles later, I came upon the town of Russellville, which — its three syllable name apparently requiring too much effort to say — is locally known as “Russville.” Kind of like Rutherfordton in North Carolina, where locals drop two, maybe two and a half,  entire syllables when pronouncing it … “Ruffton.”

Eventually, I reached my destination, Tuscumbia — a lovely little town where residents pronounce all four syllables of its name, and home of the Helen Keller birthplace — having relearned an old but valuable lesson:

Let sleeping dogs, and sleeping gas station owners, lie.

Tomorrow: Big Mane on Campus, the lions of the University of North Alabama.

Monday: Coon Dog Cemetery.

For all of Dog’s Country, click here.

0 comments for “Beware the sleeping gas pump dog

  1. debbie
    June 5, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Love it..

    Looking forward to more adventures..

    I think these lessons learned are better than Aesops Fables!

  2. Starla
    June 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

    LOL! Glad you & Ace got away unharmed! Enjoying reading your Travel “Tails”. 🙂

  3. Leo
    June 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    It surprised me that you didn’t mentioned once how dangerous it is for the dog to be sleeping in a such unsafe place. He can be run over by a car at any moment.

  4. June 28, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Welcome to the Shoals. I know you’ll love Leo and Una!

  5. Kelev
    August 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Russellville, AL — Gruesome treatment of dogs. Unregistered gas chamber kills dogs at foot of Land Fill. Absolute non-compassionate citizenry. Tuscumbia – One of the most infamous (registered) animal gassing facitilites (Colbert County Animal Control.) These dogs are in grave danger of living through the day or night in both of these inhumane areas. Glad this pretty ole dog had a “life”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *