Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All dogs go to heaven

On Sunday, May 30 the sweet English Coonhound, Rhoda, fell into my life when I passed her by on Highway 63, in the middle of nowhere about 200 km south of Fort McMurray, and immediately turned myself around to see if I could pick her up and take her somewhere more safe than the side of the busy highway.

Rhoda, before she grew her angel wings.

It was raining and dismal outside and she was shaking and nervous as I coaxed her across the busy highway, stopping both lanes of traffic. When I finally grabbed hold of her trembling body, she seemed grateful for the scratches and cuddles. I managed to load her up into the back of the Rav as I held on to her with one hand and with the other, moved stuff on to the floor and spread out a freshly-knitted blanket my aunt had just given me as a gift. I cranked the heat up in the vehicle and after five minutes of licking herself clean, she curled up on the blanket, nose tucked into her belly, and slept soundly for the next two hours.

I texted photos of her to Kels and others and proudly gave her the fitting name of Rhoda. Over the next ten days, I loved her--despite her crazy barking, infatuation with shadows and her stubborn little quirks. She couldn't hear very well and she needed more attention and training than I had time to give her in Fort McMurray, but if I'd had her in Calgary, I know that she and Barkley would be the best of buddies today.

For ten days, I walked her at 5:30 in the morning, took her to all my softball games, let her play at the dog park and did my best to teach her all I could, not knowing how long she'd be in my life.

Unfortunately, after having her for more than a week, I managed to track her owner down in Wandering River through a crazy web of coincidences. He sent his brother to retrieve her from my house a couple days later and as I watched him load her into his jacked-up truck after offering a quick "thanks", I knew this wouldn't be the last I heard of my pretty girl, Rhoda.

Call it mother's intuition, call it a gut feeling, call it whatever you want. This past Friday, two friends headed to Edmonton in separate vehicles, about an hour apart. The first texted my sister mid-day and said he'd seen Rhoda wandering on the side of the highway. The second sent message a while later. He'd also seen Rhoda, but this time she was laying on the side of the highway, killed by a car.

Jody-from-Wandering-River, you don't deserve to own another pet. You should have left well enough alone and let her be adopted to a caring family in Fort McMurray. They would have kept her safe in a house, away from the dangers of Highway 63. They wouldn't have tied her up--where she hated to be--and let her break free from her leash. She needed someone special in her life who could be her ears when she couldn't hear the noises she needed to hear.

Rhoda, you left a paw print on my heart. I hope you have more fun in heaven than you had during your seven short months on this earth.

I miss ya, girl.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rhods goes to the field

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