Rudi’s story

Published 4:08 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

Editor’s Note: The dog referred to in the letter is a former “resident” of Decatur County. She passed away in 2008. She was loved by all. We miss Decatur County, the wonderful people and The Post-Searchlight very much.

Sometime in December 1996 a family somewhere around Attapulgus had a dog that gave birth to puppies. All of us who worked around the plant knew that, for whatever reason, the plant tended to be a place where people dropped off unwanted animals. Some got adopted by people working at our plant, some got adopted by different plant departments and some met unknown fates.

About five weeks later someone dumped one of those puppies somewhere around the restaurant out at the end of the plant road along the railroad tracks. The puppy must have just been weaned. The puppy was black and white and had ears that were too large for its head and long gangly legs. If we ever had to try to guess, I would imagine the puppy had some pitbull genes but we’ll never know for sure. That puppy hung around the restaurant. Some people would give it small handouts as they came out of the restaurant. Cheryl Thomas and Shirley Crummley would take the puppy dog food.

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Marilyn and I had moved to the farm in 1993. Along the way we had acquired three big male dogs (all neutered) mostly from the Leon County, Fla., animal shelter.

Sometime in January I mentioned the abandoned puppy to Marilyn and told her I might bring it home. She was not completely positive about the idea—three big dogs were plenty to care for.

Being the good husband I try to be and listening very attentively to everything Marilyn said, one day I just picked the puppy up on my way home and put it in the back of my truck.

I got home and took the puppy out of the truck and set her on the ground right in front of the dog pen. The three big guys were utterly fascinated by this tiny thing. We found out later that at that time the puppy weighed all of 8 pounds. The puppy made an odd addition to a crew of dogs that all weighed in the neighborhood of 85 pounds or so.

Marilyn gave me “the look,” but I could tell also that she was captivated by the poor little puppy’s odd but cute appearance and her oh so sad story of being dumped and abandoned.

The puppy got a bath and as I went out to do some chores around the farm, Marilyn was sitting on the floor with the puppy all bundled up in a blanket on her lap. The puppy was sleeping in Marilyn’s arms as though she was a new baby and had been there all her life.

Well, to make a longer story short, the puppy, of course, stayed.

We named her “Rudi.” She got along fantastically with the existing three big male dogs. She played their rough and tumble games and the guys seemed to take great care to not get too rough with her. The guys took her into the pack immediately. It always seemed like they treated her just like a little sister.

We’ll never fully understand how but Rudi housebroke herself immediately and to this day she has never had an accident in the house even as a tiny puppy. She’s never chewed anything or done anything we could even try to call misbehaving. I tell Marilyn she got those fine traits from me!

We think because of her early struggles in life to make sure she had something to eat, Rudi has always been very food focused. We have always felt she was one-third dog, one-third pig and one-third goat based on her willingness to eat anything and everything.

Rudi is still with us. She has moved across the country with us and has lived in Georgia, Indiana (twice), Alabama, Kansas and now New York. Rudi has been on vacation to New Jersey and New Hampshire. She loves to travel and gets on great with everyone she meets—especially children. Rudi was hit by a car in 1999 in Indiana. She had to have extensive surgery, afterward I nicknamed her the “Six Million Dollar Dog.”

Much like her owners, Rudi has gotten on in years. She is now almost totally white around her head and muzzle. She has become strictly a house dog and spends a lot of the day sleeping on her bed.

Rudi is a sweet dog, she’s very much “Daddy’s Little Girl.” Who would have ever thought somebody else’s throw away mutt would become so much a loved and loving member of the family?

I hope you got a kick out of this little story and if it brought a smile I feel good about that.

All the best, always,Ray MooneyAlbany, N.Y.