R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Dogs

Wednesday Photo: 1/3/18

“Jake, with Picnic Table and Deck Railing”
Heard County, Georgia – 2 August 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


You Lucky Dog

All my life, I’ve loved cats. Since 1996, I’ve lived with them full-time. And while I liked dogs just fine, I never thought I’d become a “dog person.” Don’t get me wrong: I had nothing against dogs. They just weren’t what I thought of as “my kind of pet.”

Thank goodness all that changed one day in May 2009.

Enjoying the long break between the end of spring semester and the start of summer classes, I was relaxing at home. My date was supposed to pick me up at 11:45 to go to lunch. When he didn’t arrive and hadn’t called, I began to worry. Finally, he drove up just after noon. “Sorry I’m late—but I’ve got a good reason. Come look!”


And there, in the floorboard of the truck, sat the saddest, sickest puppy I had ever seen.

The puppy was maybe eight weeks old, at most. We could see his ribs, spine, and hips through his skin. A strange mass protruded from the side of his abdomen. Fleas swarmed all over him. And the stomach-twisting smell came off him in huge waves—a horrible combination of grease, dirt, sweat, and feces. Mange had robbed him of almost all his fur, leaving in its place a semi-oily yellow crust an eighth of an inch thick in places.

“Where did you find him?” I asked.

“He was sitting on the double-yellow line in the curve on Swift Street,” my sweetheart said. “Somebody must’ve left him there. I almost didn’t see him. Had to swerve, and just about ran over him. But I looked up in the rear-view mirror, and my heart just broke. I couldn’t leave him. When I put him in the truck, I told him, ‘You’re not gonna die today, buddy, and you’re not gonna die like this.'”

When we arrived at the vet clinic, even Dr. S was surprised. “I’ve been in practice for thirty years, and this is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen.” Doc diagnosed him with mange and started the weeks-long series of ivermectin shots that would bring the little dog back to health. He gave the puppy a worm tablet, and advised me to wear rubber kitchen gloves: “Don’t bathe or pet him with your bare hands until he’s completely over the mange. Too easy for you to accidentally rub your eye and wind up with a bad infection.”

Doc prescribed a liquid antibiotic for what he thought might be an internal abscess poking out of the puppy’s side.  He also gave us some unusual advice on dealing with the puppy’s mange: “Bathe him every other day in warm water and Dawn dish liquid. Flea shampoo will just burn his skin, it’s so raw right now. But Dawn will help dissolve the crust a little faster.”

We paid our bill and left. As we sat in the truck and stared at the adorable little dog curled up on the floor mat, my fella asked, “Do you think we should take him to the pound?”

“No,” I said. “They’ll euthanize him. He’s in really bad shape.”

“But I can’t take him home. Not with my own dog so sick, and maybe about to have surgery again.”

I nodded. “I’ll keep him, for now. I’ve got an old plastic storage tub he can sleep in, to keep him safe.”

“With all your cats? Are you sure?”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that I had to do something, anything, to help this puppy. “Just give me a little while. I’ll figure something out.”

A couple weeks later, we’d named the little dog Lucky. That’s what he was, after all. And he was still at my house, slowly healing, though hating baths with every ounce of strength he had. He was even getting along with the cats. That last was a huge surprise, at least to me.

But by the time Memorial Day Weekend arrived, I had a problem. I had a mange-covered puppy who still wasn’t healthy enough for routine puppy shots—and I was going to Nashville on a faculty research trip. No kennel in town would touch Lucky. He couldn’t be around other dogs until he was fully healed.

Which left me with only one choice.


Plastic tub, rubber kitchen gloves, and all, I took him with me. Lucky and I spent four days and three nights enjoying the bright lights of Music City.

It was on the way to Nashville, though, that I knew something in me had changed.



We stopped for a play break in Columbia, Tennessee. Not too far from the local Waffle House, there’s an old church cemetery alongside Interstate 65—the ideal place for a small, sickly dog to pee. As I watched Lucky sniff and roll and bark his frail little bark and try his best to wrench the chew toy from my yellow-rubber-gloved hand, I wept, and said out loud, “You’re my dog. I love you. And I’m keeping you.”

Seven years on, he is still my dog.
A handsome, well-upholstered one at that.


Lucky’s starting to get a little gray on his muzzle. Since he’s part basset hound, he’s had to contend with arthritis much earlier than most dogs (or humans) ever do. Check out the thick brown fur and purple-spotted tongue. That’s the Chow in him. When he’s thinking of getting into mischief—say, sniffing a cat’s butt, or running after another dog, or spying a week-old dead armadillo just ripe for rolling in—he gets the wrinkly Chow forehead, too. He’s my favorite furry 62-pound coffee table, my rusty-brown Low Rider.

He is also one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And while his name is Lucky, I believe I’m the lucky one here. He has shown me flat-out, unashamed, unconditional love. He has shown me how to trust in the unknown, just as he somehow trusted me in those difficult first weeks after he came to the Happy Kitten Cottage. Every day, he makes me laugh. He shows me how to live in the Now, how to enjoy every moment as it comes.

I’m not just a “dog person.”
I’m Lucky’s forever person.
And he is my forever dog.

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Please, Mama?

Please, Mama? (1 April 2011)

LaGrange, Georgia – 1 April 2011

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Best dog ever.

2014-05-27 18.06.10

Shirley, Age 14
Heard County, Georgia – 27 May 2014


© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Nearly Wordless Wednesday: 6/5/13

If You Got It, Flaunt It! (LaGrange, Georgia - 24 May 2012)

LaGrange, Georgia—24 May 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: 4/17/13

Crazy Dog Eyes (LaGrange, Georgia - 27 January 2013)

LaGrange, Georgia—27 January 2013

Friday Photo: 10/12/12

LaGrange, Georgia—1 April 2011

Friday Photo: 9/14/12

LaGrange, Georgia—1 April 2011

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