Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Best Breed of Dog in Our Mountains

We are good friends of the Animal Relief Fund here in our mountain county, ARF as we call it.  All our dogs have been "ARF Dogs," a special breed of animal, often rescued at the last minute from a shelter or found wandering on our rural roads, starving, sometimes abused, as was our Byron.  Found roaming along Caney Fork road, he ended up at ARF adoption day one Saturday where our daughter saw him and fell in love.  She knew his name from the moment she saw him.  Still, we were reluctant to take him home with us.  We already had three dogs.  What would my husband say?  We left without Byron, but he haunted us all week long, so next Saturday we went back to the ARF tent outside Ingles, fully expecting that Byron would not be there.
But he was!  Sitting on a chaise lounge, like a little prince.  A lord.  Lord Byron. My daughter grabbed him just in the nick of time.   A woman was walking toward him, pointing, getting ready to claim him.
But now he was ours.  And for ten years he amused us, exasperated us, pranced around the property as if he owned it.  

Now he rests beside the garden that he liked to poke around in, not far from the raspberry bushes he enjoyed.  Ripe raspberries on low branches never failed to entice him.  He would pick those to enjoy while my husband picked the ones too high for a small 16 pound dog to reach.

My daughter's dog, Arjun, rests beside Byron, although they didn't get along  terribly well.  Arjun was rescued from a hellhole of 40 dogs kept for years in wooden crates and cages.  The man responsible for this prison was a hoarder, as the vet. described him.  We've had similar instances of this sort of hoarding in our mountains.  Arjun was one of only 3 dogs who could be saved, the others being so misused and anti-social that they couldn't be adopted.  A luminous spirit, he lived among us for nine years.

     We still have three dogs.  The two above, taking their ease in the sun, are Ace of Dogs and Bro.  Ace was saved from the Haywood County Shelter a few hours before he was to be euthanized.  I raised Bro from a pup, along with his sibling Sistah.

Pooja, above, looked like a little furry bear when I adopted her at 8 weeks.  She has grown into an interesting looking dog.  We like to think she has coyote in her.  Her coat looks undomesticated!  She often acts undomesticated, too!
          Too many dogs and cats are  left to wander our roads, unspayed & un-neutered.  They are abused and abandoned.  We must begin to take better care of our animals, and joining our local Humane Societies is the responsible action to take, along with adopting homeless animals.  We wouldn't have any other breed of dog than ARF.
           Now that Byron has left us, we may get another one.   But don't tell my husband!


  1. a lovely piece. We had a dog a long time ago with husky and wolf in her, and she too looked like a little bear as a puppy. A most wonderful dog.

  2. It must be dog week--I just put Grond on the Ploughshares blog. :-)

    I am sorry to hear that Byron is gone, though--I didn't know. A good little Romantic indeed.

  3. Elizabeth, a husky/wolf blend must have been great to have. I've often wanted a dog with some wolf in him--or her. Was he a good singer?
    Catherine, Byron was quite a roamer in his younger days. He lived up to his name more than we would have liked!

  4. When we lived in the country (45 years) we were pretty much like you. Usually had 2 dogs and 2 cats at the same time, and now I have the last of these adopted from a Humane Society Shelter in TN 8 years ago. And Fergy will have to be the last, I know. He is a perfect gentleman to Felicia the white cat, adopted a couple of years before him. When I have to move to an apartment where animals aren't permitted (if I last that long), it will be mighty hard. Don't stop doing what you do!

  5. We're down to three dogs also -- and two of them are pretty ancient. It may be time to find another...or for one to find us.