Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Me Lord?

When I found out I was moving to a place in the country, I thought, "Hmm, boonies...dark at night...coyotes...good place for a big dog." I mentioned this to Randy, who didn't seem all that thrilled, but was okay with maybe, someday getting a puppy. And keeping it outside.

A few times I've searched craiglist, as a looky-lou. Saw a few cuties, one in particular.

I haven't had a dog since the parade of strays that came and went during my childhood. Well, there was the German Shepherd I had in chiropractic school. I wasn't home enough, had no fence around my back yard, and he was angry and aggressive with other dogs. I gave him up to a family on a big farm with a lake, because Max loved to swim. That was fifteen years ago and cured me of any urges to have a dog. Until now.

Last weekend, after dark, I heard a baying outside that sounded very close. Curious, I opened the back door and listened. It was coming from the pasture behind us, on the other side of a small pine thicket. We figured maybe a coon dog had treed a possum. Or something else. The racket continued for a while, then stopped.

Two mornings ago, I was sitting at the computer writing. I heard the baying again, only this time it was coming from the front yard. I opened the door to see a small, aged beagle running around in circles like a mental patient sniffing the ground, and occasionally lifting its head to let out its distinctive bark. Bugsy, my guard kitty, stood at the screen door watching, back arched and growling.

I laughed a little and went back to my writing and eventually he went away.

This afternoon, I came home and there he was, curled up in a ball at the edge of the woods. He didn't get up when I pulled in, just lifted his head and looked at me. He didn't get up when I approached him, either. Just lay there, shivering, in the cold, cold wind. I got a thin blanket and covered him up, tried to warm him with my body heat. That made him uncomfortable, so I let him be.

On investigation, I found out he doesn't belong to a neighbor. And apparently showed up in the hood about the time we moved in. I offered him a handful of cat food. He gulped it down, but seemed too weak to stand when I tried to lure him in the house. So I gathered him up in the blanket and carried him, laying him down in the back room with the stinky carpet we have yet to yank out.

And found that he is a she. An old girl who has had more than one litter of pups. Full-blooded. And half-starved. Her hip bones and ribs stick out. Her ears are nicked from battles past. Apparently beyond her useful years and discarded, abandoned, left behind.

I fed her. Randy loved on her a bit. Then I fed her again, gave her some water. She's curled up in a ball, on the blanket. Still weak. But warm, out of the cold, and out of danger.

Why me? Why my yard? I know that God does answer prayer. The universe sends us what we ask for. But this beagle, this girl, is no puppy. And, she's certainly not a big dog, a coyote would eat her in one bite.

Of course, I'm not a 'puppy' either. My bark, like hers, is worse than my bite. While I'm beyond my useful, child-bearing years, some think I'm certainly not beyond mothering. I am no longer so cute, and getting grayer and more wrinkled by the minute. My hip bones don't stick out, but my hips do, and some of the better parts sag. She bays, I'm told I whine.

And, heaven knows, I have certainly been guilty of running around in circles sniffing the ground. And of howling at the moon. And wishing for things I can't seem to have.

The Beagle, from Animal Planet, click here to hear a beagle bay


Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

How can a little dog who hasn't eaten in days poop so much??? There were four piles in that stinky room this morning!!! I didn't feed her THAT much last night.

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Queen, the beagle, found her mommy and dad. They live only a 1/4 mile from here and finally posted a sign. We called and they picked her up on Valentine's Day. She hadn't been abandoned, but had gotten out of the pen four weeks! ago, not long after some pups (not hers) she'd been sharing a pen with had been taken to be trained. Her dad says she is a first-class rabbit dog that never barks unless after rabbits. I'll be darned!

Anyway, little Queeny, hope you're happy and safe. Maybe I'll stop by to visit one day...since we're neighbors and all!

Ivy Bliss said...

"When the friend is ready, the puppy will appear..."
Yours was my first petsitting gig. And it has sent me on an amazing life of caring for and loving other people's animals as if they were my own. In fact, they have become my pets, my friends, my loves. I'm excited for you to have a new pet, a new friend, and a new love! :)
I can't wait to see you! Soon, I'll take a Friday off work and drive up your way!

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