Sean of the South: Blind Love

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sean dietrich w dogBy Sean Dietrich

She was trash. At least that’s how she was treated. She was found wandering a rural Mississippi highway. Beneath the stars.

It was a wonder the girl hadn’t been hit. This was a busy highway. The kind with transfer trucks.

The dog was walking in the center of the road. On the yellow line. Clearly there was something wrong with her. Animals don’t walk open highways. But the black-and-tan dog was moving by feel. Because she is blind.

Sean of the South: Blind LoveAll she knew was that she liked open highway because the surface was smooth, and there were no obstructions. And when you’re blind, no obstructions is a good thing.

She was a skeleton. Every rib visible. Every spinal disc showed. There were scars all over her, as though she’d been involved in a host of dog fights.

A scar on her face. A scar on her chest. One behind her ear. On her side. Another on her right forelimb.

Probably, she had been caged with other hunting dogs. The dogs were probably mistreated and hungry. Hunger makes dogs mean.

Nobody knows how the blindness happened. But it didn’t take a rocket engineer to figure it out.

“Someone hit this animal with a blunt object,” the veterinarian later said, choking back tears. “Someone beat this poor dog. Maybe with the butt of a rifle. Maybe with rebar.”

People say that dogs use smell above all other senses. That’s a lie. A dog doesn’t use her sense of smell to avoid walking headfirst into walls. A dog doesn’t use smell to detect body language in other animals or humans.

A car stopped on that lonesome highway. A Samaritan picked up the dog. The dog was apprehensive to get into the car, but then, she was so hungry.

The Samaritan placed her into the backseat. The Samaritan took photos of the animal and posted them to Facebook. Nobody claimed the animal. Nobody even commented. Nobody wants a blind dog.

A local hound rescue was called. They bathed her multiple times. The bathwater was almost black each time. They doctored her wounds. They took her to the vet. The vet removed her eye and sewed her eyelids shut.

Not long thereafter a guy heard about this animal through a friend. This guy is a flunky redhead with an overbite and a nose so big he can smell the future. He is not handsome, but he has a weakness for animals. Dogs in particular.

Within hours, the guy and his wife drove to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. They met the dog and her foster mother at a barbecue joint. The dog sat beside the guy while he ate. She pressed her body against his.

He fed most of his pork sandwich to the animal. She ate the meat. He ate the bread.
When it was time to leave, the lady with the animal shelter said, “So do you want to foster her?”

“No,” said the guy, “I want her to be my daughter.” And we haven’t been apart since.

Within the months I’ve had her, she’s gained 14 pounds. She sleeps beside my bed. She travels with me. She has visited 18 U.S. states. Slept in dozens of hotel rooms. She has met a lot of people. And I would even venture to say she’s happy.

At least I hope she is.

Also, I hope the man who hurt her reads these words someday. I hope this man recognizes her photo on Facebook. I hope he realizes that he was wrong about her. She isn’t trash. No way. No how.

Her name is Marigold. And while I’m sad the last face she ever saw was his. I’m thrilled the first face her little eyes will ever see will be God’s.