Dog Rescue Stories with an Ode to Dolly Joe
Black dogs are often overlooked when it comes to adoption. Some say it's due to superstition. But for one flat-coated retriever who found herself at the pound as a pup, she was the dog I picked for protection and companionship. She lived nearly 16 years, sleeping in our bed, sharing our food and making herself at home in our lives.
She was the first dog I adopted as an adult and after 3 decades, she's still missed and remembered with love.
We found Slick at the Texas Motorplex hiding in a culvert, frightened by the noise of loud racecars.
Ten-year old Bucky welcomed the company, sharing with him the rules of the house and everything he needed to know about indoor living. They were inseparable.
We lived in a rural area where people dumped unwanted dogs. This one inched closer to where we were working in the yard. Her coat was matted and she was covered in ticks. She was also missing some teeth which we imagined was from neglect and abuse.
There were dozens of strays that showed up over the years. Dalmatians, Great Danes, Dobermans, Shepherds, a family of Labradors and a Chow puppy.
Lady joined our growing family and quickly learned to fit in.
When Bucky crossed the Rainbow Bridge it was a blessing to have Lady with us, but tragedy was around the corner. Lady came down with Ehrlichia, a tick-borne disease, also known as hemorrhagic fever. She was five-years old when she passed away.
Slick took the loss hard. He became inconsolable, wheezing and coughing when we would leave the house. It was clear he needed a new friend.
We were the first to arrive at the dog pound on a Saturday morning when we found the Chow puppy. Seven weeks old and 10 pounds of fur, her golden eyes and purple tongue made her irresistible. On the way home we stopped at the vet where she became an immediate celebrity with the staff and other customers.
Three Dog Nights
It was three years before another stray joined our family. On the drive home from work, I spotted two dogs running beside the highway. I pulled into the rest area nearby and scattered some dog kibble I keep under the seat. One of the dogs came right up to me and wanted to get in the truck. I took this little buddy home and that became his name.
Arriving home, my husband was on his way to take Slick to the vet. Slick's ACL was torn and he couldn't walk. Then we saw the grass between our house and the neighbors was on fire. Neighbors were already gathering to fight the blaze started by a cigarette tossed into the dry grass.
Slick and Buddy
Buddy and Dolly
Dolly Joe, Buddy Lee, and Cookie
Cookie came along on Thanksgiving Day, 2000. She was running with a gang of street dogs in the neighborhood, hiding out in a derelict mobile home. Our neighbor had rescued two dogs that day and with five dogs in their household, he needed to find her a home.
When she first came, she was leery of the other dogs, unaccustomed to having food of her own and meals served in a bowl. She stuck her nose in so hard that kibble flew out on the floor. The others kept eating and paid her no heed.
Buddy Lee, Dolly Joe and Cookie Doe
Years later, Dolly collapsed in the back yard and couldn't get up. The vet said she had a tumor on her spleen that was likely malignant. At fourteen, he didn't recommend surgery.
It took only a couple of months for her to succumb to the tumor during which she showed incredible stamina and a kind temperament. She quietly passed away in her daddy's arms one Sunday morning.
Ode to Dolly Joe
From the Pound my Dolly came.
We'd already picked a name.
Husband has himself to blame, Dolly.
Came to us as just a pup.
It was fun to pick her up.
Never was she late for sup, Dolly.
She was Queen of our back yard.
She bossed Slick which wasn't hard.
Bitey teeth that cut like shards, Dolly
Dolly liked to chew a rag.
Tug-o-war was sure a gag.
Slept with it in times of lag, Dolly.
Also known as Stinker-butt.
Named by Daddy, such a nut.
Loved her though she was a mutt, Dolly.
Queen of all that she surveyed
Turned me into her own maid.
Fetch my dinner, get it made, Dolly.
When our Slick tore up his knee
I had just found Buddy Lee
Dolly welcomed him with glee, Dolly.
Dolly liked to sniff the snow
We'd first called her "Dolly NO"
Changed with time to Dolly Joe, Dolly.
Some would say she's just a dog.
Watch her run and chase that frog.
Stubborn as a mother hog, Dolly.
Brother gave me his best tip.
Always keep stiff upper lip.
Never let emotions slip, Dolly
First night here she shared our bed
Hard to fathom that she's dead.
She'll live on within my head, Dolly.
I'm collecting Dolly tears.
May I have a tear of yours?
She was with us 14 years, Dolly.
Buddy Lee and Dolly Joe
Buddy Lee mourned the passing of his best friend for nearly 6 months before he also passed away.
Cookie remained an only dog for a few months before we found a companion for her, a Lab puppy from the McKinney SPCA.
Tony and Cookie
Tony came to us as a tiny puppy around 8 weeks old. From the moment he got into the car, he fell asleep in my lap and became the best traveler. He loved his foster sister, Cookie, and enjoyed protecting her. They were together 5 years before she came down with Cushing's disease.
He turned 13 years old in February 2023 and we're hoping to keep him around for another few years, Lord willing.
Tony and Indiana Jones
Indy came from the same shelter as Tony did 5 years later. He'd been found abandoned in a horse trailer with other siblings with no food or water. The shelter gave him medical attention and we adopted him his first day on the floor after his recovery.
Brand New Husky Puppy
Even into our golden years, we're still finding pups that need a loving home. Last January 2022, we adopted a 10-pound white ball of fur who's since become the boss of the household.
Princess Fiona lives up to her name and royal heritage as she keeps Tony and Indy in check and makes sure we get up bright and early every day.
Under Tony and Indy's supervision, she has become a contributing household member of our family, a genuine smile-maker, trouble-maker and best friend to Indiana (Indy) her now, much smaller, little brother.
No matter where you find them, dogs are ever-grateful for a kind hand, a loving touch and a happy home where they can live out their short lives.
Losing them never gets any easier, but eventually, the fond memories out-shadow the sadness of their short time here on earth.
There were others, so many others that I would love to have rescued. Maybe they found a happy home and a loving family. At least, that's my hope.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Peg Cole