Monday, April 29, 2002

Home is full of comforts for creatures

In My Life

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Patrick Crowley, 41, has been an Enquirer reporter for nine years. He covers Kentucky politics and development.
        The sightings began around Thanksgiving. My wife of 15 years, Pam, would come in the door, quickly grab some dog food or leftovers and rush a mile from our Fort Thomas home to where U.S. 27 and Interstate 471 intersect.

        Usually our son, Conor, was with her, mustering as much concern as a 9-year-old can show.

        “He's down there, again,” she would say. “He's so pitiful. I'm going to try to get him.”

From the very start

        It's always been this way. On one of our first dates, Pam saw a Newport police officer putting a stray beagle into the trunk of his cruiser.

        She demanded that I stop the car. In the pouring rain, she badgered the officer about “that poor little dog” as tears of anger and anguish mixed with the water running down her face.

        She convinced him to let the dog go and we were given custody.Thirty minutes later and fresh from a bubble bath, Bobo — the animals are immediately named no matter how long their stay — was eating hot dogs, wrapped in a blanket and lying on a couch.

        By 11 p.m., Pam had found the dog a home.

Treated like royalty

        Five of our seven pets were pathetic outcasts when they found Pam. Now, they lie on couches all day eating, gaining weight and yawning. But we love them.

        Now Shelby is one of them. That's what Pam and Conor named the dog they had been feeding by the interstate for more than a month.

        The dog was usually cowering along the road or huddled at the bottom of a ditch, watching my wife and son leave bowls of food.

        Pam talked about how she wanted to “capture the dog, take it to a vet ... and save its life.” Translation: Bring the dog to live with us.

Amazing coincidence

        Early this year, Pam found a note in the dog's bowl addressed to “the person who has been feeding the dog.” It said the dog had been captured and was at the Bellevue Animal Hospital.

        Someone else had been trying to help the dog. In an incredible coincidence, it was a Fort Thomas resident named Michelle Middleton. She and her husband, John, a veterinarian who owns the Bellevue Animal Hospital, are our friends.

        They have saved more animals than Noah. And now they had the dog.

        Ecstatic, Pam went to “see” the dog. Translation: bring it home.

        With Shelby now a part of our menagerie, I'm sure it won't be long before Pam goes on another rescue. She seeks out unloved, unwanted creatures with unwanted, few prospects.

        Afterall, she married me.

        Share recent moments in your life. Fax 768-8330; e-mail: Columns submitted to the Enquirer may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.


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