The Dogs of Sherburne : A Great American Dog NOvel by author Tom Mody

Dogs of Sherburne novel coverBuy Dogs of Sherburne Book

Meet the Dogs of Sherburne
dog Dallasdog Sugardog Scooter
dog Laddiedog Scampdog Sam
dog Hobiedog Generaldog Brandi
dogs Tuffy & Mitsy

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Author Contact:
Tom Mody
Mody Company Creative
607-336-6233 ph | 607-336-6232 fx
56 West Main, Norwich NY 13815


Author Notes | Chapter Excerpts | Fact or Fiction | Paw Prints

Dallas from The Dogs of Sherburne

Name: Dallas

Breed: Labrador Retriever (with touch of mutt)

Primary Novel Master: Tom

In The Novel: Dallas is the Mega-Dog Protagonist. From Doggie Heaven Dallas tells his life story with new revealed understanding of life and events of his era and isn't afraid to share his new heavenly endowed sarcasm. In the village Dallas was as much menace as lovable dog and though he was the flag waver of "dog lovin' chaos" it was for fun, personal promotion and continued freedoms of the unleashed dog.


Dog Master Tom Mody Tom Mody on Dallas

Mody Family Archive Footage of Dallas

Obviously Dallas had the most accurate representation in the book, being that he was the author's dog. We celebrated his birthday (when we remembered to) on Thanksgiving but we didn't know his actual birth date, though it was around late November.

The 6 months he spent in the apartment as a puppy holds no real memories for me. I just remember sitting in a recliner with the little life in my lap and we both went to sleep. My father took a picture of us but like many photos I tried to dig out for this web site, he just looked like a big black blob due to the lack of photo clarity from those early color cameras. I sadly remember very little of the day dad brought him home.

Dog Dallas' Birthday
Child Tom & dog Dalls
Tom & The Black Blob

I was only 7 years old. I do remember the newspaper on the kitchen floor and how the tenants below complained about the barking.

Once we moved to the big house in the village, the memories are endless, though as he worried over in the book, they do fade over time. There are 2 main places he will always be imprinted in my mind. Under my bed and up on the window ledge. I definitely was freaked moving into such a big house and having him under the bed was the calming I needed for my active imagination as to what lurks in the night.

There was just something about that big bay window and how he solidified his presence among the village from that spot. I'm sure having the village park right across the street was a big factor in his celebrity but even from inside the house it gave him the upper view across the living space to see all that was going on at home. His nail marks are still gouged in the wood like finger prints.

I may use terms like celebrity or legend, I called him the Mega-Dog, but I have to honestly say that most people were not fond of him. Particularly those working in the public domain like the swimming pool or at school. Sherburne was very active in those days, especially in the summer. The public pool region was the center of life and along the way you could stop in the out buildings behind the old high school and they'd have public arts & crafts for kids to do and there was blacktop shuffle board, basketball courts, baseball fields and picnics all in that same area. Free roamin' dogs just caused alot of trouble, or maybe it was just my dog, but after a few summers I dreaded having him follow me.

Dog Dallas in window
His balcony blocked
by the Christmas Tree

Dog Dallas with Tom & Natalie
Tom, Dallas & Natalie

I loved my dog, don't get me wrong. Even as a child I understood the nuances of his actions and how he stood out in his window and his free roamings. I never took for granted the fact that he could just exit the house and have totally safe command of his navigations about the village. I fully expected one day that we'd get that call that he had finally been fatally run over. It never happened.

In public I had an affection for him like you would for J.R. Ewing or some other notorious bad ass that you'd try and disassociate yourself from, even though you cheered his every dastardly deed. But at home he was a wonderful family dog when he wasn't barking at rocks. He never had a biting incident and was welcoming to guests in the house. We developed a habit of not getting up to answer the door when the door bell rang. We expected the guests to ring the bell and then walk in. Dallas was often the greeting host because of our laziness.

The free roaming of the village dogs was no exaggeration. They just weren't leashed. There was an awful lot of altercations and as noted, some serious blood shed. Another fear I had is that he simply would get killed by General or Laddie or some other big dog. I can't speak for other small town USA villages but people seemed to note the uniqueness in this particular generation of mutts around Sherburne. Maybe that's how it always had been for the past couple hundred years, but I assure you, after their time had passed there would never be that type of doggie freedom again.

It's sad but it's how it should be. I have a little daughter now and I wouldn't want her being mounted by some loose and excited mutt. Dallas humped just about every little girl that visited my sisters. In fact, during the writing of this book, a neighbor's girl friend had 2 German Shepherds running loose in my yard barking at me. You can bet I had some words with her about this not being acceptable. Again, at the time I was writing this book glorifying that very behavior- talk about a hypocrite. When the family first got Ciela, a new neighbor called the dog warden on her for being in her yard and we got fined. You're talking about the nicest most obedient dog you could have getting fined. Dallas never cost us a judicial penny.

You'll note at the end of the book I never got to say goodbye to Dallas as my dad put him to sleep without my knowledge. I was kinda relieved, he was in bad shape. I might of forced a tear that night thinking about him but I had moved from home and life had turned away from the boy/dog team we once were. In the book, Dallas wonders what I would have said to him for a final goodbye. It's hard to put words in my mouth since 20 years have passed. I suppose I would have kissed him on the head and told him that his pain would be gone, he was going to Doggie Heaven. It was okay to lie to him, he can't understand me. He's a dog, remember!