Amazon Trail: One Dog At A Time

Lee Lynch
Photo By: Sue Hardesty

Her most recent book, An American Queer, a collection of “The Amazon Trail” columns, was presented with the 2015 Golden Crown Literary Society Award in Anthology/Collection Creative Non-Fiction. This, and her award-winning fiction, including The Raid, The Swashbuckler, and Beggar of Love, can be found at:

www.boldstrokesbooks.com/Author-Lee-Lynch.html

I can’t save our democracy, but I can do a little good in the world. We are adopting a dog who needs a home.

It’s been five years, seven months since our dog Bea died and we’re finally ready and able. I inherited her at age six. I lost her to my sweetheart soon thereafter, as those two bonded immediately. When they were together, Bea would growl to keep me away.  

We would not have brought another animal into the house in any case. Our cat Bolo had health problems. We, and the Vet, feared the stress might kill her. Bolo took her only pet status as her due. I lasted three weeks after she died and started looking.

We brought King the cat home from our local shelter. He has learned the words “King” and “no.”  We figure he’s ready too.

We found our dog-to-be online through Adopt-A-Pet. They and Petfinder offer a function to search for local shelters. We looked at a number of home-seekers, but one just stuck with us both. A two-year-old stray, she’s smaller than King the Cat by three pounds and was described as loving, smart, and goofy. I can’t think of a better combination of traits in a dog.

Used to be, cats and dogs found me. I’d take them home, have them checked by the vet, and that was it. The cats and dogs seemed to work it all out with very little fussing on my part. Experienced now, we have a laundry list of to-dos before we can welcome her home. Like naming her. Any suggestions?

Now, with both King the Cat and the dog, there were applications to fill out for the safety of the animals, because of the evil humans do. The rescue workers really, really care. I had a long phone interview with the dog’s shelter administrator. Another volunteer did a virtual house and yard tour with Google Duo. I just finished the last hurdle, talking at length to the foster mom who is absolutely besotted with the dog.

We’ll go get her in eight days. Our excitement knows no bounds, but oh, the preparations.

King the Cat’s food dish has moved atop the washing machine. All his low-lying toys will be elevated. We have a schematic for gradually introducing King and the dog. We’ve fretted about King’s powerful jaws—my hands and arms are a testimony to their strength. This weekend we’ll go through Bea’s legacy of paraphernalia. Will her harness adjust to the correct size—the new gal is only eight pounds. Will she wear the coats Bea barely tolerated? Fetch the balls and frisbee Bea ignored?

The biggest project is creating a small grassed yard for her use, especially in the high wind, heavy rain, coastal nights when walking up the block and across the street is simply too unpleasant for woman or beast. In her old age, Bea plain refused to go outdoors in those conditions and had to be carried and set on the ground.

So, we’ll tear out the abundant spearmint I planted (the bees loved it). Then layers of small rocks and the ground cloth will be at least partially excavated, the ground leveled, and good soil added. Fifteen rolls of sod will cover the ground. We’ll likely need to rent a roller to do whatever rollers do to attach the sod and soil.  

The women we’ve worked with to make this all come true—at Match Made in Heaven Animal Rescue and Renee’s Foster Dogs, both in Oregon—are good, good people. All volunteers, the time and money they spend, the problems they tackle, their kindness and devotion to the animals dwarfs the current sour mess of the world at large. They’re the kind of people who should be running the U.S.

Breaking news on my computer strikes blow after blow into my heart and mind. Kidnapping a female governor because she tried to protect her state from a lethal virus? Beating a professional jazz pianist in the New York subway until he can never perform again—because he’s Asian? Voting for a madman president with no moral backbone or political expertise, who goads Americans to divisiveness and violence?

In these evil times, I’ll cast my vote to grasp at what’s left of our proud democracy. I want leaders who build, not destroy, whose purpose is to serve every single citizen with honesty, respect, and courtesy.

What’s giving a safe home to one small dog in the nasty scheme of things? A gesture, a bit more love than was in the world yesterday.

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