Part IV – I Came from the Deep South

continued from Part III  –  “I hadn’t wanted a puppy,” I heard her say, “I planned on adopting an older dog, but Lucy’s my dog and I’m hers.  It felt like the choice was less of a choice and more of a fait accompli.”  From my perspective, I’d applied those puppy-dog eyes to many people, but she’s the only one who got it.  At this juncture, those reasons didn’t matter.  What did was that I had a home.  Recollections of my fractured past began to fade from my mind, except for one repetitive memory: my sister’s eyes as she watched me be carried away from her.

My new life kept me busy.  There was the woman and two teenagers, various family and friends who came and went, and two cats: Gracie and Mr. Bean.  Gracie was a decent being.  She walked around the house and screened porch minding her own business, occasionally greeting me by touching my nose with her nose.  Mr. Bean, however, well, suffice it to say that we had our differences.Gracie (left) Mr Bean (right)

Mr. Bean was an odd fellow.  He’d been rescued from an Amish farm, and by 6 weeks of age the small chunk removed from his ear had already healed, he was starving, and he had worms.  His personality was, shall we say, edgy.  You can tell by the look in his eyes.  He’s the one on the right.

When I met Mr. Bean, he puffed up like a dandelion puff ball and screeched.  This hurt my ears and annoyed me.  Our relationship went downhill from there.  When Mr. Bean walked by henceforth, he narrowed his eyes at me.  Sometimes my eyes got a prey-drive glint, of which the woman extremely disapproved.  Apparently among my hound mix background was greyhound, a magnificent sight hound, one of the oldest of breeds used by early man for hunting on the plains.  This ancient instinct in me was not triggered by Gracie, who was, to my mind, a reasonable being and more like a dog than a cat, but it was, intermittently, by Mr. Bean.

The woman spent a great deal of time intervening between us.  She hired a trainer to soften this edge of my otherwise beautiful behavior.  This was only partially successfully.  I did enjoy the treats she offered when she diverted my attention away from Mr. Bean.

I knew the game, and I really did want to please her, but my instinct sometimes got the better of me.  I never actually touched Mr. Bean, though he increasingly became afraid of me.

to be continued…  Part I

 

 

 

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Part III – I Came from the Deep South

IMG_1424 - Version 3I’ve had two names in my time.  Maybe three, if you consider no name a name.  At the beginning I was part of a brood of too many puppies in an overpopulated, under-inoculated part of the world: rural Alabama.  I was named Delaware by my rescuers, who named the 50 of puppies each a state name.  One day when I was four months old, I became Lucy.

People walked through the rescue’s kennels every day.  Some were caring for us, some were looking to adopt one of us.  I noticed a woman walking through with the shelter director.  The woman was talking about wanting an older dog.  Oh well, I thought.  When the woman walked by our kennel, I sat down and looked up at her, willing her to choose me, choose me, choose me.  We locked eyes for a moment, but she walked on.  Seconds later the woman backed up, as though drawn backward by an invisible force.  I like to think it was my intent.  She leaned down and put her fingers through the gate.  I looked into her eyes and gave her fingers a gentle slurp.  The woman sighed, slid her eyes to the side, looked back at me, then walked on.  I watched her as she went through the swinging door and disappeared from sight.  I turned back to my kennelmates.

A half-hour later, the shelter director came back, clipped a leash to my collar and led me to an outdoor pen where the woman was saying patting Jenny, the sweet black pitbull who had been in the shelter longer than I had been.  She watched the pitbull leave then turned to me and smiled.  As I ran up to her, she stooped down to greet me.  Mine.
   …to be continued.   Part I     Part II

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Part I – I Came from the Deep South

Most of all, I miss my sister.  She was brindle like me with white blaze dividing her face and ears that headed upward but took a U-turn.  We were one of four puppies born to a tired mother in a shrubby expanse of woodland.  Our mother disappeared one day, and we ventured out, hungry, beyond the flats.

Only my sister and I survived, wandering in the woods and feeding on bugs, drinking from muddy puddles, sleeping entwined to keep warm.  We were so little.

In a clearing in the woods, an old woman stood on the porch of her cabin watching us.  We watched her warily, but she stooped down and extended her hand to us.  We went to her and as she stroked our heads, we closed our eyes.  She put us into the back of her truck and we bumped down the road, careening this way and that.  She handed us over to people to ran a shelter full of barking dogs.  Time passed.

One day the shelter closed; they had run out of money.  They clanged open the doors of the cages, and a hundred dogs were let go.  They wandered off, tentatively, confused, into the Alabama countryside to live, to die.  A woman took another hundred of us to her place where they were hundreds and hundreds of dogs.  We lived with minimal food, never enough water, and squalor and disease.  Many of the dogs died.

One day rescue workers arrived.  They talked fast and in a different, clipped accent than I’d heard before.  They gathered fifty of us puppies, putting leashes around our necks and picking us up, carrying us into waiting vans.  In the confusion, my sister and I were separated.  As a man carried me away, talking to me in a soothing voice, I craned by neck and saw my sister among those who remained.  I whimpered and struggled, trying to get out of the man’s arms and back to my sister, to no avail.  I still remember the look on my sister’s face as she watched me go.  Not one night passes when I do not think of her.Delaware.JPG_medium-younger - Version 2

…TO BE CONTINUED   Part II