An indubitable truth I hold is that all living things have souls—the practice of yoga makes this clear to me.
Domesticated animals, especially ones humans keep as pets, have souls that seem to intertwine easily with human souls. Some of my closest relationships have been with dogs.
I love purebred Weimaraners, and I have owned the breed for over twenty years. Currently, I am president of the Weimaraner Club of Louisville. I plan to own and promote the breed for the rest of my life. There are so many wonderful things about this breed, but this blog is not about Weimaraners, specifically, it’s about rescuing dogs from the countless shelters in this country.
In the past fifteen years, my partner Glenn and I have rescued and given a forever home to two dogs, Clark and Ben, and a cat, Lucky. Clark is a main character in my novel, Blood Brothers. I would like to share these rescue stories with you. I’ll do it in three separate blogs beginning with our most recent rescue, Ben.
Glenn occasionally volunteers to drive a segment of a trip, usually about 70 miles, taking dogs from high kill shelters in the south to rescue organizations up north. A wonderful group called Mobile Mutts organizes these trips by recruiting volunteers through the Internet.
One Saturday three years ago, Glenn volunteered to drive between Louisville and Seymour, Indiana. He called me during the trip and said that he only had one dog and that it was a delightful male coonhound-beagle mix. The dog, called Ben, just sat up in the front seat beside Glenn, staring at Glenn, wanting to be petted.
Ben was on the way to Wisconsin to Heavenly Hearts Rescue, a great organization that places homeless dogs with foster and forever homes. Ben had been at the Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society for a while and was scheduled to be euthanized within a week because no one had adopted him.
We had just lost our thirteen-year-old Weimaraner, Max, about a month earlier to lung cancer. Our one-year-old Weimaraner, Sophie, who had always had at least one other dog around the house, was having behavioral problems being alone. Glenn and I had agreed to get another dog for Sophie. Could Ben be the one?
Glenn phoned Heavenly Hearts on the way home after he exchanged Ben with another driver. They told Glenn that Ben had already been placed. I could tell when he arrived home that Glenn was really sad about Ben.
About a week later, Glenn received a call from Heavenly Hearts asking if he still wanted Ben. Glenn called me and we both agreed that we would take him, provided Sophie got along with him. It seems Ben’s forever home in Wisconsin had a chihuahua and the owners thought Ben was too big for the little dog.
The next Saturday we put Sophie in the car and drove up to Lafayette, Indiana, the half-way point between Louisville and Milwaukee. We met Heavenly Hearts volunteer Stacey Balint Loebel, who had been fostering Ben in Wisconsin, in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.
I put Sophie on her lead and introduced her to Ben. It was love at first sight—tails wagging, butt sniffing, muzzle licking—the two dogs bonded instantly. Ben was a sight to behold, an incredibly beautiful black and rust dog, with striking rust colored irises, and black markings around his eyes like permanent eyeliner.
Here’s a photograph of Ben in the front seat as we drove home from Lafayette.
Here is a photograph of Ben showing his beautiful eye markings.
From day one, Ben has been nothing but a gentleman and a pleasure to have around. Although I know he was someone’s hunting dog and he probably got lost on a coon hunt—he was found, lost and emaciated on a rural Warren County, Kentucky road—he was housebroken instantly. He and Sophie are now inseparable. Their favorite things to do are mole hunting and deer chasing in Cherokee park. I try to discouraging the deer chasing, because I can not keep up with them, and I can only identify their whereabouts from Ben’s high pitched, frantic yapping.
Here is a shot of two happy dogs, Ben and Sophie.
It became clear to us why Ben’s Warren County owner probably didn’t care if he returned home or not—he’s gun shy. During the first thunderstorm we had after Ben came to live with us, he scurried to the basement in terror. Fourth of July fireworks leave him trembling and cowering.
Ben knows Glenn rescued him, and the two are closely connected. Ben loves to ride in Glenn’s convertible, and Glenn takes him with him when he runs errands on Saturday mornings.
This photograph shows the two buddies: Ben and Glenn.
When I look into Ben’s beautiful eyes I see his soul, I know he sees mine, and I know I am in the presence of a highly evolved spirit.