Stories

"That Dog Ain't Worth a Damn" - from May 2006

Well, I suppose to that “good ‘ole boy” from eastern Kentucky – the tired, old, lost hunting dog wasn’t worth much – but to me, she was a real sweetheart; I named her “Honey Dew”…

It was about four or five years or so ago when I heard the dogs barking and making quite a commotion. When I got to where all of the excitement was taking place – I could see on the other side of the chain link fencing, a very emaciated hunting dog – hunkered down, frightened and looking very, very hungry. Immediately I stopped whatever it was I was working on and went to her, gathering her in my arms and carrying her to one of the secluded, empty dog runs. Soon, I had a full bowl of either Iams or Science Diet dog food for her to eat; she was simply famished. Truthfully, over the years, several times “hunting dogs” have wandered in – lost, looking for their “masters” or someone or something of recognition. Moreover, most of the time, the dogs are wearing collars which have metal identification tags on them; this Walker Coon Hound was no different from the rest – she did indeed have an attached metal plate on her collar.

Within a few minutes, I had called the number that was on the dog‘s collar and soon found myself talking to some middle-aged guy from a rural, southeastern Kentucky county. When I told him about the dog that had just wandered in – he said, that he no longer “owned” the dog – that he had recently sold it to his hunting buddy for fifty dollars. Then, he went on to elaborate about how the dog was afraid of the sound of gunshot and wouldn't hunt. Or, to put it into his own words, “That dog ain’t worth a damn.” A few minutes later – after he had finished trashing the dog – he gave me the telephone number of the dog’s new owner. Telling him that I would contact the fellow, I hung up. And, it was about that time I suppose, I went back over to where the old dog was now sleeping and resting. Looking at her peacefully lying there – seeing how contented and safe she was – with plenty of fresh food, cold drinking water and a nice warm dog house to stay in – I thought to myself – how unlikely it was that she would ever receive this kind of treatment from her new “owner”. To him, she would probably just be a “thing” to be used – and then thrown away or traded when she failed to live up to his expectations – or even worse, beaten, for not adequately performing. I guess it just didn’t matter to him that the old dog had feelings too. Her life with him, would probably be one of sorrow...

It’s hard not to remember things like that from the past. My guess is that most people would have simply telephoned the new owner, had him come and pick up the old dog and never given it any more thought – “out of sight, out of mind”. Instead, I took the collar off of the tired, old forlorn dog’s neck and just threw it away – along with the new owner’s telephone number. On the morning of this past Sunday, April 30th – with Honey Dew’s aged white and tan head resting thankfully, lovingly on my right shoulder – I couldn’t help but let my mind fleetingly race back to that day years and years ago – while my sweet, gentle, beloved angel was drawing her last breath, dying in my arms...

Truly, it’s beyond me, how that man could have ever said, “That dog ain’t worth a damn...”