The Oak Street Chronicles tell the stories of my time in Downtown Flint, learning to live and learning to love.

If there was one thing I experienced in abundance during my time on Oak Street, other than dilapidated houses and drug dealers, I’d have to say I was surrounded my more dog hair than I ever hope to be again.

My roommate’s dog was awesome. He was part Golden Lab and part human. He was really friendly and had a great name, Shackleton. He was named after the famous explorer.  In his exploits on Oak Street he lived up to his name.

There was the time he made me chase him all over the neighborhood when I first moved in. He would stop and wait for me to get close and then as I zeroed in on him he would take off a little further down the block. He was either showing me around the neighborhood or showing me who was boss.

There was the time that he got in to a fight with a skunk in our front yard, got sprayed and stunk up the house for a week. I had never really smelled skunk before. When someone or something close to you gets sprayed it’s nothing like that faint scent that you get as you drive by road kill on the highway at 75 miles per hour.

Shack was sort of like our little narcotics officer, always barking like crazy when people decided to stop by our backyard to smoke crack behind our shed. And he was always really noisy when folks were out on the street doing whatever business people do in the middle of the night.  He kept us safe but I think he let it go to his head.

He was the king of our place on Oak Street. He made sure to let us know by leaving a little bit of himself everywhere. His hair covered all of our furniture. It was so bad that I would bring a wooden chair in from the kitchen whenever I would want to sit in the living room to watch TV so I would end up covered in Shackleton.

One time after I returned from a weekend on the road with my band, my roommate left a picture on my pillow. The picture was yet another reminder that I was just a guest in the house.

The subject of the picture?

A golden lab sleeping in my bed.

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