Apr. 11, 2004

We tried. Up early and on our way, photographer and intrepid dog, into the night and into the wilderness in our little Honda, meaning to defy the elements to search out the elusive Ozark light and do our best to photograph it. But the farther we went the worse the weather got, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for photography, but in this case the specific combination of wind, rain, and lightning, and their persistence, finally convinced me that I was wasting my time that day. So we came home.

The next day, Easter Sunday, I managed to forget that I was due at a family get-together, but did finally get a camera down to Debbie Falls in Falling Rock Hollow. It didn't have much water flowing through it, and though it really ought to have more to show it off to its best advantage, still it had a gentle and delicate beauty to it, and I like the way the photos turned out. Two of them appear on this page. I think Debbie would be proud.

A few weeks ago in the wee hours of March 21, as Junie and I motored along Highway 71 south of West Fork, the car headlights silhouetted a dog beside a car parked in a gravel pulloff next to the highway. If it hadn't been for the car, I probably would have stopped to investigate, but I decided the car and dog were connected somehow and kept on driving down to White Rock Mountain for some sunrise shots.

On the way back into town, in broad daylight now, I noticed both car and dog were still in the same spot and I decided I ought to see what was going on. As we pulled up to the car I saw that the dog was asleep part way under its front end, near whatever residual warmth there might be from the engine, and I was surprised that she was not awakened by our approach, which, as I look back now I see was the first clue to her condition, but which at the time I chalked up to her being a very, very heavy sleeper. When I saw a note on the car's dash that said that the owner would be returning to fetch the car, but didn't mention anything about a dog, I decided that the two weren't connected after all and that she would be needing some assistance.

When I woke her up, which I wasn't able to do until I acutally touched her, she seemed delighted to see me, and when I opened the car door to fetch some vienna sausages for her, she jumped right into the car and started making Junie's acquaintance before I even had a chance to get the can. It seems to me some dogs aren't able to tell one human from another all that well, and so are friends with everyone, or enemies with everyone, depending on how they've been treated, and some know very well who their humans are and divide the world into friend and stranger. This dog obviously thought I was her best old pal and was just as happy as could be that I had finally made it back to take her back home.

But the facts of the matter were that she had no collar or tags, was a female who appeared to be about a year old, had stayed in a single spot along a highway for at least six hours, and was as infested with ticks as any creature I've ever seen. So it was not hard to conclude that she had been dumped, and even if she hadn't been dumped had been owned by someone who couldn't or didn't take care of her worth a darn.

I knew from experience that even though I had more than enough dogs and didn't want any more, I was going to take her home and take her in and before long wonder how we had ever been any other way than with her as a member of the family. And on an odd note, the day I found her was four years to the day after I found Junie and took her home, and ten years to the day after Brandy, my first Irish setter, died. Do you ever get the feeling that someone is telling you something? I kind of got the feeling that I was supposed to find this dog and take her home.

It became fairly apparent after a few days that she was deaf, which means I guess that we're going to have to get someone to teach her, and me, some hand signs. I debated for days about what to name her and was still undecided when I took her in for vaccinations, but when Dr. Waggener recognized her as a heeler mix and told me she used to have a heeler named Bob, I decided to call her Bobbie, although I guess she is destined never to hear her name.