Thursday, November 25, 2010

Memories of a Friend

As we look back on the year we are thankful most of the hounds lived through the abyss.  This was supposed to be the opening of another holiday of good cheer. 

I met Bam Bam on what was supposed to be a routine trip to Chattanooga to pick up a basset sitting on doggie death row.  This would have been our eighth holiday season together.  Instead of cherished time together we are left with nothing but the fond but distant memories of days past.

Bam Bam had been dumped at the shelter after surviving a litter of puppies where only one pup lived.  That pup got snatched up by rescue but Bam Bam was left behind.  Not that she was the picture of health - in her skinny weakened state with gobs of hair loss - she looked a mess. 

Once knew a man
Been everywhere in the world
Gave me a tiny glass ball
Said it would do me good
Never believed it would until
We met in the dark and cold

Old man - he'd seen most everything
Gave me a piece of good advise
Said you would do me well
I couldn't really tell until
For years I've been loving you

Now it seems things were not so strange
I can see more clearly
Suddenly not killing I found my way
I know the old man would laugh
He spoke of life's sweeter days
And in his eloquent way
I think he was speaking of you
You were so loyal
You didn't have to say a thing

But I remember that old man
Telling me I had seen the light
Gave me a small paper book
Insisted he was right
I only heard him slightly
'til I heard you whisper
Took you in my arms

Dear old man
Wise old man
Fine old man, now

Sitting on the hillside
Watching all the dogs and cats die
I'll feel much better on the other side

Life goes on here day after day
Now that you are gone
Sometimes I don't know if this is
living the way I'm supposed to be
Sometimes life is so eerie

Been here once
Been here twice
Don't know if the third's the fourth or
The fifth's the fix
Sometimes I deal with numbers
But if you want to count me count me out.

I won't forget
All the times I've waited patiently for you
Yet tonight alone again I'll wait

I remember when you used to look so good
We did everything we possibly could
Riding all over town
You can go ahead if you want
Hateful people put you down for being around
We were just walking through life hand in hand
I was thinking of you but
They were thinking of another plan.

When I saw the way it was and where I was supposed to be
I was twitching so I turned and saw a vision to hard to learn

That everyone I saw just another part of the plan
But, you can go ahead if you want to
'cause nobody's got no papers on you.

Your parting sends shockwaves down my spine
When the iceman sees his ice is melting
Won't be there on time
Hope they find a rhyme
For their little minds

Served my time
Served it well
Your death rocked my world
Tore holes through my heart
Write the rules in the sky
But ask your leaders


Day after day, night after night
What is happening and have you been alright?
Got to go but will see you again.
Thankful memories of you
My dearly departed friend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A special day for our special Beagle girl

Beagle's Shelter Mug Shot
 Today we celebrate our litlle "Beagle's" gotcha day.  It was nine years ago that we raced time to hurry down to the Spalding GA "gassing" shelter to rescue a poor scared beagle that dozens of advocates had sent to me.  At the time Spalding used to post the urgents with a troublesome line that included "this dog will be available until 4:30 PM......meaning at 4:31 the dog would be loaded into Spalding's "Gas Chamber" and killed.

We almost didn't make it - a traffic wreck on the interstate could have easily lead to "Beagle's" demise.  After pulling in with only minutes to spare I paid the twenty dollar adoption fee and headed back to find my dog.  What I saw was a terrified little beagle girl who drove her nails into the cement as I hoioked up her lead.  Her kennel cage was within seeing distance of "Ole Smokey" and I do believe that Beagle thought I was there to drag her into the chamber like so many that went before and never came out.

Beagle in 2001
Beagles have that highly sensitive nose which could sense the smell of death that drifts through the air every night at killing time.  After struggling with a determined girl who wasn't going down without a fight I finally was able to load her into my truck - she threw up the whole way home.

I had never intended to keep Beagle - after all, she wasn't a basset. I started calling her "Beagle" so as not to get attached.  Beagle had other ideas - after all, she's still here.  Through the years she has always been a bit on the skittish side with strangers - even been known to take a nip at someone's ankle if they got too close but she has also developed into the sweetest friend one could ever have.

Beagle has her routines but the funniest is her bedtime routine.  Every night she insists on crawling into bed to get her neck scratched - give her daddy a kiss and wander off to the end of the bed to sleep.  Her world is safe.  Since Beagle really didn't do well when I wasn't around I started taking her with me everywhere I went.  This extra attentionj has paid off with a very well rounded personaility she has developed.  While she now tolerates other people she still loves her daddy best.

Home at Last - Home for good
It's hard to imagine my little beagle girl is now approaching ten years of age.  She is the one who got me started in beagle rescue.  It was her survival that gave me reason to oppose the use of gassing for any shelter animal as cruel and unusual punishment for dogs who were guilty of nothing except the misfortune of having an irresponsible owner who dumped them in a gassing shelter.

Not to say that Beagle's "rescue" wasn't without challenges.  All of life's true rewards come through our tenacity to struggle and overcome.  It would take six months before little Beagle figured out the housetraining thing.  For years she's been an "ankle biter" whenever faced with strangers she didn't trust.  Patience has paid off through the years and Beagle has adjusted to all the confident beagle thjat she was supposed to be.  Today's her day = Happy Gotcha Day my little Beagle friend.