I had come home from deployment, a 6 month to sunny Sigonella, and I went to Paul Avery’s house to pick up my truck that he had been keeping for me. When I walked in he was glad to see me. He said that Bub, his son, was in Vietnam and I could stay there with them until I shipped out again. Mr. Avery was like a father to me. He taught me to hunt and fish. Next, he wanted to show me something and he introduced me to Mingo, his new, big black Lab. He was a beautiful dog. Paul always wanted his own hunting dog. Paul love to Bird hunt, and then he told me how he got Mingo.
The story goes like this: one day Paul was coming home from the police station and he ran into one of the lawyers he knew. Paul said, “Beautiful dog.” The lawyer immediately responded and said, “I am on my way to the woods to shoot this SOB.” Paul asked why and the lawyer continued “I paid a lot of money for this dog but the dog is crazy. We went duck hunting this morning and took the dog. We had a good size boat and we had put the decoys out the day before. We had Mingo in the boat with us figuring he could retrieve the birds we shot. After all, I spent a lot of money to have him trained. We all settled down and everything is quiet waiting for some ducks. All of a sudden Mingo starts growling. We told him to settle down but that wasn’t going to happen. Before we knew what was happening Mingo was up and jumping overboard. That wasn’t so bad except that on his way out he tipped the boat over and I lost my shotgun. The next thing we knew we were all in the water, soaked. We turned around and there’s Mingo playing with the decoys just having a ball. It took us almost 45 minutes to get that dog out of the water.”
Well, if you knew Paul Avery you would know that he never let an opportunity go by so it was no surprise that Mingo ended up living with the Avery’s. Mingo was a very loving dog and loved to play. Someone had said that when he was a puppy he got hit by a car and he had gotten hit on the head. Mr. Avery used to say that Mingo was “Catywhumpus”. This was a word that only he used to described things or people. It meant….. well, who knows! I heard him use this word many times. Anyway, he became part of the Avery family. The only one in the family that could make that dog obey was Bub, Paul’s son. He would bring Mingo in at night and make him lay down in living room. Mingo’s attention span was about 2 minutes. Bub would say Mingo, and he would freeze for another 2 minutes, and this used to go on and on. Mingo love kids and he loved to play. When the kids would walk home from school he would always get excited.
He was always breaking his chain and taking off. As soon as he got loose he would head to the river. He would get in no matter how cold it was. I remember one winter Mingo went down and jumped in the river and he swam and finally got up on a large piece of ice that was floating down the river. Someone saw him out there and they called the police and they had to launch the rescue boat and go out and get him and bring him home.
Paul never admitted to anyone that Mingo was his dog. One day while he was down by BIW there was a catering truck serving lunch and Paul decided to get a sandwich. There was several people around the truck and of course at least one person who knew Paul. About 2 blocks away there was a big black Lab dragging a small piece of chain, making his way down center St. As he crossed Washington St., the caterer said to Paul, who was in uniform, “I wish you could find out who that dog belongs to.” Paul responded “Why?” The caterer said “Because last week he showed up here and jumped into my truck and before I could get him out he ate a whole bunch of sandwiches and donuts. Cost me $35.00!”
Now while Paul was paying up on Mingo’s shenanigans, Mingo was on his way to his next adventure. See, he knew his master was a police officer and he had visited the police dept many times as someone would see him running loose and take him to where Paul worked. Many times we would receive a phone call saying, “We have Mingo here, can someone come get him?” But this particular day Mingo was heading to the police station. He was heading up the driveway of the Maine National Bank drive thru when heard someone talking through the speaker. He stopped and could see someone through the glass and jumped up and put both paws on the glass and started barking in the microphone at the lady inside. The next car that came into drive thru stopped and watched. And the more the ladies inside the bank laughed, the more Mingo barked.
Mingo was killed one day chasing a Crooker’s dump truck. But don’t be sad. He is with his master now because, according to the Pope, “All Dogs go to Heaven”.