Friday, May 30, 2014


A hobo traveling the country in search of work would use a piece of coal or chalk to mark the fencepost at a house he was leaving. Through a language of simple signs, he passed warnings and tips to the next man who might happen along.

I mention this because years ago, over a span of about six months, we were visited by a series of canines, each in some type of trouble. Though I couldn't spot it, I had a hunch there was a mark scratched into the gravel of our driveway by some dog who had been shown a kindness at our place:


One of the most memorable walk-ins during those doggie-hobo days was this lovely lady (apologies for the blurry photo).

She must have left her dog tags and microchip in her other pants, so we had no idea what her name might be. She was thin, and judging by her poo, had been most recently living on raw corn.

I'm of the mind that a dog in a tough situation needs a fortifying name to help elevate her, so I decided she would be called--"Glory."

Glory was alert and gentle, and made you want to do right by her. We posted signs in all the usual bars, and placed calls to veterinarians around these parts, but didn't hear anything for a couple of days.

In the meantime, a dear friend of mine had found Glory a wonderful home in St. Paul with a person who had recently lost her dog. We were just finalizing the logistics of the hand-off, when a car pulled into our driveway.

I don't mean to be unkind, so I will describe these humans in scant detail. But suffice to say, when I realized they were Glory's people, I felt a strong flight-or-fight sensation. My Spidey-sense told me that they were not the nurturing family I had wished for her.

She didn't readily move toward the car (though it was clear she knew them), so one of the sullen teenagers in the back seat came out to grab her collar.

I needed to stall, giving my brain time to pore through a host of illegal options. (Snatch her back and bolt away? Dognap her a few days down the road?) 

I blurted out the first thought to come to mind (that wasn't a shaming admonishment). I told him we had named her Glory. The kid looked at me oddly, saying--and I'll never forget this--

"Her name is Gravedigger."

Have you ever burst into tears on the inside, without telling your face?

As I watched their car with its precious passenger head out of our lives, I made a decision. If Glory ever walked up our driveway again... there would be no signs posted in bars or calls to local vets. There would be only a celebratory car ride by dead of night to St. Paul.

Today I'll spend a few minutes remembering that I am not the Queen of the Universe who gets everything she wants, and try for the skillionth time to come to better terms with that.


  1. Oh, I too know the heartbreak of having to surrender the life of one so sweet, so deserving, and so subject to the will of a Universe we can't begin to understand. Have to recall the rescues that in turn rescued us and gave us the love only a furry one knows and shares. Thank you, Carrie

  2. If only we WERE Queen of the Universe.... I hear ya and need the reminder too - thanks again Carrie. I love these thoughtful blogs.


Be engaged, but be nice.