Bum A Friend of Shorty’s

11 Jul

The True Story of

Bum, A Friend of Shorty’s

 A remarkable tale that should stand as a lesson to us all about the true nature of love and friendship. Shorty was a burro and the beloved town mooch who had lived in Fairplay, Colorado in the early to mid 1950’s. Shorty never had it easy, though he did have the freedom in his later years that he had never known in his prime. He began life in Fairplay as a miners mule. These mules that were forced to slave in the mines in those days rarely saw the light of day. The life of a mule in the mining industry was one of backbreaking labor, merciless hours and cramped, dark living conditions. Luckily for him, the mule became obsolete in the coal mines and he was no longer needed. Shorty’s stubby legs and low slung back combined with the years of backbreaking labor affected his health and so rather than being cared for by those he had worked so hard for, he was discarded. Shorty was now homeless and left to fend for himself. During hard winters Shorty suffered terribly. With his grazing ground covered in snow he had to go hungry for long periods of time. To make his situation worse the old burro started to go blind. Enter the homeless mutt that a local family affectionately named Bum. No one knows where Bum came from he just showed up one day on the streets of Fairplay. Bum and Shorty became fast friends and Bum would often lead his blind friend down the city streets to the edge of town where the good grazing was found and would patiently wait while Shorty grazed grass. Where ever Shorty went his best friend Bum was always with him. During the winter the pair had to resort to living off hand outs. Bum quickly learned which places and people were friendly and kind hearted and which were not. Bum would lead Shorty to a door and Shorty would bray to let the folks inside know he was there. Bum would take what food he was given and lay it down in front of Shorty, only after Shorty had eaten his share would Bum himself eat. The pair made a lasting impression on the people of Fairplay.

Sadly… in the year 1951 Shorty was struck by a car and passed away . A testament to Shorty’s popularity in Fairplay, he was buried on the courthouse lawn. His best friend Bum was so grief-stricken that he laid down on Shorty’s grave refusing to eat or drink. The devoted dog Bum died soon after his beloved friend.  Shorty’s grave was dug for a second time so that Bum could be laid to rest (and rightfully so) with his best friend Shorty. So devoted to his friend was Bum that he followed Shorty even into the after life.

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