I left Fort Gordon on Saturday the 23rd and along the way to Fort Benning decided to do some Civil War site seeing with a new staff ride from the U.S. Army War College I purchased. Saturday afternoon, with just a few hours of daylight left, I did all the sites from Ringgold, GA to Dalton, GA to include scaling Rocky Face Ridge (300 feet of it) to see well preserved Confederate entrenchments.
After a restful night at a hotel the base of Rocky Face Ridge, I set off early to see as much Civil War sites as possible as they were posted in the staff ride book. Despite the age of suburbia and strip malls everywhere, I was glad to find several sites remaining with markers and trenches from Dalton south toward Marietta, GA.
Following Route 41 that parallels Interstate 75, I ran into a neat little town called Kingston just north of the Etowah River and west of Allatoona Lake and pass. The town looked like something out of the 19th Century with its row of small brick businesses along the railroad, and several historical homes on the south side of the main town and railroad with large and old towering Oaks scattered among the buildings.
I left Kingston per instructions from the staff ride book and headed south to follow the route of the 23rd Army corps in Sherman’s attempt to outflank the Confederate line positioned in the Allatoona mountains. As I approached the Etowah River, I was forced to detour because the bridge was out. So, as I was heading through some beautiful farmland, I am crossing a hill on a two laned country road with hard wood rail fences on each side, and what is in the middle of the road? A puppy.
She was standing on the yellow line in the middle of the road looking lost. I stopped the car and got out and looked for other dogs, then picked her up. Thought dirty, she was in good shape, with thick black hair and a stubby tail. Then, I spotted her Mother a few hundred feet away in the field. From her conditioned, it was obvious to me that she had gone as far as she could feeding the puppies without feeding herself, and she was starving. The Mother was out looking for food, and the remaining puppy was trying to keep up, but had given up when I saw her.
After several attempts at luring the Mother to my car (I had no food), I decided, with sorrow, to leave her and save the puppy. The Mother made it easy for me by taking off deeper into the field. From the way she was barking at me, she could not do much more, but she had been abused as well. It is likely that she had been dropped off as a pregnant dog.
So, I took off while driving, I started to develop courses of action of how to find the puppy a home. After driving about a mile, I stopped when I saw a man working in his driveway. I pulled in, jumped out of my car and asked him for guidance. He was very kind and gave me good directions to the animal shelter. So, after five miles off perfect directions, I found the animal shelter and next door, an animal rescue service.
I saw that it was closed on Sundays, but looking at the side, the gate to the side entrance was open, and in front of it was a parked van, with open cages and open doors telling me someone was working inside. Since this was a special case, I walked in an immediately ran into a volunteer, a young lady working cleaning stalls. I told her my story, and she said she could not decide but would take me to somone who could. As I walked between stalls, a hundred feet of them on each side, they were filled with dogs, pedigree dogs
We entered the main office area where three other volunteers were waiting. They all took quickly to the black puppy, but warned me that it was against their regulations to take the dog until she went through the Animal Shelter next door (which was closed on Sundays). But, they informed me that their boss was on her way and would make a decision regarding the dog upon her arrival; so, I waited 30 minutes.
The supervisor finally arrived, and quickly grabbed on of the volunteers, went into her office and with the door closed made a decision. For a moment, I thought I was in some royalty or halls of Congress, the volunteer came out, followed by the supervisor, who still did not say anything to me, instead walking away from me as her subordinate told me of her supervisor’s decision, “we cannot take the dog.”
I left making the remark, “you got your rules, I will find a home for this puppy.” And I departed, heading down Burnt Hickory Smoke road south across the Etowah River toward Kennesaw Mountain. As I drove, I decided the priority had to go toward getting the puppy a home. The Civil War staff ride had to be put on hold for now.
The drive was an hour long as I was in the Georgia country side. There were still beautiful farms, but checkboarded with new suburbs as you drive closer to Atlanta, as if there is no fuel crisis at all. Anyway, I had to get something for the puppy to eat, as well as myself, and I also had to stop to give her a bath. She was in actually good shape, but was dirty and had fleas. Where could I go to do this, prior to driving on to Fort Benning?
I decided to stop at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield’s Cheatam Hill parking lot, that would give me time to feed and wash her, as well as feed myself prior to setting out to Fort Benning. I picked out a nice park bench beside the parking lot and along the trail up Cheatam Hill (named for Major General Ben Cheatam, whose division defended this section of the Confederate Kennesaw line during Sherman’s assault in mid June 1864). Anyway, as we sat and the puppy enjoyed her milk, and me my sandwiches, a number of people stopped and got the same story about the puppy.
After about 30 minutes, I decided it was time to wash the puppy, so I took out shampoo and the bottled water as well as paper towels and started washing her. While I was doing this a very nice couple with their dog stopped to talk to me. We had an nice short conversation, and they even offered an old towel to dry her off. We wrapped her in the towel, as I went back to my car to get more bottled water. The puppy was going to need a second bathing because of the fleas. As I sat down the couple, now referred to as Dave and Melinda, and their dog Maggie, turned around and said “we will take her.” I did not hesitate to say okay. From what they told me, Maggie was a rescue dog and they appeared very nice, made my decision easy.
I asked them one favor, could I get an update on how the puppy, later named Darlene was doing? Mark said yes, no problem and we all exchanged emails. I said good by, then after I got on the road I regretted not taking a picture of the puppy (now Darlene) to show my wife Lorraine (we have six dogs). So, I drove down to Benning, happy for Darlene, but still sad that I could not entice her Mother into the car to save her as well.
The next day, I taught the first of three workshops I had to do at Fort Benning. I had time during lunch, to walk down the the Fort Benning Infantry Library in Building 4 and check my email. I wanted to send an email to Dave to check on Darlene. But he and Melinda had already beat me, with photos. They made my day, because Darlene could not gotten a better home. Dave and Melinda are wonderful people, and their dog Maggie fell in love with Darlene (studies have found that it is better to have more than one dog, and it actually extends the life of one’s dog a couple of years because dogs are pack or social animals).
Anyway, with permission from Dave and Melinda, I posted their email:
My name is Dave … my wife Melinda and I met you in the National Park in Marietta, GA yesterday, where you handed us the little dog that you had rescued(which has been named Darlene).
I just wanted to touch base with you and thank you … 1st for rescuing this dog, going out of your way to see that she was taken care of, and 2nd, for giving her to us.
I got Maggie, whom you met, just after 9/11, for my birthday. We went and picked her out at the animal shelter. She has been an absolute delight, and brings many laughs, and happy moments to our lives.
Melinda was immediately taken with Darlene … I could tell right away … I knew the chances where pretty high that I was going to get “the question” … but I was happy to say, “yes”, because we both felt like God had led us to that spot at just that time to meet you and ultimately to adopt Darlene.
As you can see from these pictures, she is doing quite well, and is very happy with her new home. She loves (what Melinda refers to as) “the magic bowl” … which suddenly appears with food in it! WOW!
I enjoyed reading your bio online … you have accomplished much. We greatly appreciate your service to our blessed Nation and all the work you do to preserve our freedom.
Thanks again for being a good Samaritan, to the least among us, in this case, this little black bundle of love that God created. Melinda and I are very grateful.
Keep Looking Up!
Please take the time to look at Dave’s website. He is a former pro football player who now gives his life to God, and talks to others about “looking up” as I felt, Darlene could not have found a better home.
The point of this post is not about what I did. My wife Lorraine have done this a few times before. We love Dogs, they are God’s gifts to us, and they are our best friends. Have you ever stopped for a moment to realize that Dog is God spelled backwards! WOW! When we take on an animal, it is our responsibility for its care. But the ongoing mortgage crisis has brought out the worst in many of my fellow citizens as demonstrated by the number of dogs, just dumped off by the road or at shelters because people cannot care for them in their once perfect environment. Many people, likely, bought pedigree dogs as a status symbol anyway.
This is also my other reason that I am big on overpopulation, not because I am selfish, but because we are tasked to oversee and take care of this planet and all life. As the human population grows, more species are destroyed, never to be returned. Many ecosystems are also being demolished, all because world leaders (except for China) do not have the moral courage to address overpopulation from a responsibility point of view. I mean, as I have said before, if bringing in more people is only going to cause more overconsumption, more pollution and more destruction, why is it wrong to advocate small families of one or just two children, or of course none at all? Why is it wrong to support closing immigration into our nation, not for ourselves, but to stop giving an out to political leaders of other countries, especially Mexico that use our nation as a spillover pond because do not want to fix their nation’s problems that cause their citizens to flee. We also have to level off our population because we are the biggest consumers in the world, and the earth cannot support our bad habits much longer.
This all over Darlene? Sure, because animals pay for human mistakes.
Take Care, Don