Garden In Progress

Garden Through the Years

Autumn Beauty

Black and White Images

Black Bear Visit

Edisto Island, SC


Folly Beach, SC

Fripp Island, SC

Homer's Gallery

Hunting Island State Park


Pollywog Pond



Sunlit Interiors

Textured Images

Water Magic


Red Bubble

About Our Animals

Homer's Pond

In Honor of My Mother

In Memory of My Father


Nature Journal
My Writing



Homer's Vietnam Experiences

Homer's Room

Tib's Room

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(click on pictures to see larger image)

Homer and I had no idea what the Universe had in store for us as we left to visit his family in Bamberg, SC on the Saturday before Christmas.  With a trunk full of gifts, "Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack playing on the tape player, and expectations of Christmas dinner on our minds, we left Columbia around 9:00 in the morning and headed on down the road.

On the way to Bamberg, Homer and I usually stop at small park by the Edisto River for me to indulge my wicked habit of nicotine addiction.  However, on this morning we were running a bit late and I told Homer that it would be fine to bypass our usual break-place and get to Bamberg on time to set up the Christmas tree.

I didn't even notice that we were approaching the park until Homer suddenly hit the brakes and swerved onto the little dirt road leading down to the river.  "What's going on, honey?" I asked.  "We weren't gonna stop here."  Homer sat for a moment after parking the car and looked at me in surprise.  "I have absolutely no idea why I stopped, but something told me I HAD to come to the river."  Since I believe completely in being led by the wonderful and mysterious voice of the Universe, (which unenlightened people call "coincidence"), the stop was fine with me.

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It was a cold morning so we bundled up and walked down to a deck overlooking the black Edisto River.  It was a quiet morning and we could hear the calls of Bluejays and an occasional cry of a Pileated Woodpecker.   As we approached the water, we saw  something white move rapidly under the deck to hide.  We knew it couldn't be a possum out in the sunlight and figured it was a cat.  We stood quietly for a moment and watched as a pair of beautiful brown eyes popped up and peered at us.  "Omigod..it's a puppy!!!" I cried.  Homer was mesmerized and just stared.  We've learned from experience that any animal that crosses our paths is our responsibility.  This just seems to me to be only right.   So we felt an immediate need to rescue this puppy.  She looked thin and had to be cold! However, after trying to coax the puppy to us for twenty minutes, we couldn't get her to come any closer.  We had to get to Bamberg, but didn't want to leave the pup.

Now, I feel that animals understand us a lot better than we understand them.  We've found that just talking to our dogs and cats seems to get amazing results so we have conversations with them all the time.  Since we had to leave, I knelt down and said, "Puppy, if you want us to come back for you, stay on the deck and wait for us.  We'll be back in five hours."  To be honest, we weren't sure if the puppy would still be there when we came back, but we were hoping she would stay by the river. 

We reluctantly drove on to Bamberg, both of us silently worried that the puppy would be gone when we came back for it.

After a wonderful day of family, food and gifts, we felt we had to go back to the river before it got dark.  Homer's mom prepared a plate of gravy for us to take to the puppy in hopes of luring it out from under the dock.

We said our goodbyes, loaded more gifts into the trunk, and raced back to the park.  As we approached, I have to admit that I searched the highway, afraid that the puppy may have wandered out into traffic, but there was no sign of it.  As we pulled onto the dirt road and looked, we saw it - sitting in the center of the deck in a patch of fading sunshine as to say, "What took you so long?"  However, as we approached, it ran back under the deck.  We placed the plate of gravy near it and watched as it ventured out to taste, but every time we got close, it darted back into the dark hiding place where we couldn't reach it.

Homer is a man of great patience and gentleness.  Frightened animals seem to feel no threat from him and respond positively.  I knew that if anyone on earth could lure this puppy to us, it would be Homer. 

I wrapped myself in my coat and sat on the grass by the river and just watched and waited.  Homer sat near the deck and just talked to the puppy in a soft voice.  It would dart out to lap some gravy and run back under the deck.  Each time it disappeared, Homer moved a few inches closer until he ended up UNDER the deck with the frightened puppy. 

For over an hour I sat and watched and listened.  All I could see were Homer's feet hanging out over the river, but I could hear his voice.  He talked calmly and told the puppy all about us, our dogs and how we would love to have it come home with us.  Finally, after what seemed like forever, Homer was able to reach the puppy.  And it bit the devil out of him!  But he held on...it struggled and bit and yelped, but Homer had it!  Now, he had to crawl out from under this deck holding a struggling pup and dripping blood, but he made it.  As soon as Homer emerged from under the deck and stood up (stiffly, I admit), the puppy calmed down and just lay in his arms.  We cleaned Homer's bite, wrapped the puppy in a dry towel and he and the pup sat in the backseat while I drove us home.  There was no more struggling, no more yelping.  In fact, the poor pup went to sleep.  We realized how thin and weak it was and were anxious to get it home where we could feed it and keep it warm.

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I consider myself something of an expert on animals.  So when I checked the puppy out to determine the sex, I thought I saw a little tallywacker (that's Southern for the, well, you know).  Homer was thrilled and named the pup "Junior" and began talking about Lowes, power tools and the smell of lumber.  Imagine my humiliation when we took "Junior" to the vet only to find how "he" was a "she."  Well, maybe I had seen a bit of tail, foot or something, but I thought...anyway, our wonderful veterinary technician, Sabina, named the pup Dottie.  Homer seemed a bit disappointed, but I told him that females certainly enjoyed Lowes, power tools and lumber smells as much as males!

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Now began several days of constant attention, good food, a warm bed and two totally smitten humans hovering over this small creature.  She let us hold her and gradually regained her strength.  Homer talked to her constantly and even showed her the computer!

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It has now been several weeks since we found this beautiful little creature and we couldn't be happier with her.  Since Dottie is so small and active and our other two female dogs are so large, we are keeping them separated except for special, supervised "bonding" times in the evening. 

Dottie loves to run in circles, chase her ball and "herd" Homer and me.  She is one of the sweetest little dogs I have ever met.  We are so grateful that we found her, having no idea what happened to her to cause her to be left by the Edisto River.  She could have been abandoned, lost or even thrown into the river by some fool, but she's safe now and has a home with us forever.

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January 27, 2003

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Last week was a busy week for Dottie.  To begin with, she experienced her first snow and became a total maniac running, jumping, racing, leaping and chasing Homer. 

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After all her romping around, she enjoyed wiggling around on my lap.  momdot.jpg (22806 bytes)

However, all this romping produced an unfortunate result.  Dottie loves to dig and somehow, somewhere in the yard, must have dug up a sleeping snake!  The snake, obviously upset at being disturbed, bit Dottie!  At least, that what appears happened according to the vet and poor Dottie's swollen face.  After a 4:00 am visit to the Emergency Animal Hospital here in Columbia (great people!) and lots of Benadryl, the Snake-Hunter has recovered.  We are watching her more closely now, though.  We don't want her to disturb anything else...like sleeping yellow jackets!

Dottie's first spring has been eventful for her.  She has gone totally insane running, running, running, sniffing, sniffing, running, jumping (did I say running?)  She LOVES Spring.  However, she had another mishap when she was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider on her back.  No harm done except for slight tissue damage, but the poor thing has sure had an eventful 6 1/2 months!  We've comforted her a lot as seen from the photo below!

October, 2004

Since moving to the North Carolina mountains, Dottie is in her element!  She ADORES the new smells, woods, streams, and many daily walks with Nattie and Homer.  She has turned into a mature and VERY wise young dog.  In fact, she is so smart, that we feel very inferior to her sometimes.  We've been told this is normal for owners of Border Collies and even though Dot is a mix, the Border Collie genes are strong.  She thinks everything is a game.  I mean EVERYTHING!  Her favorite things:  stealing dirty laundry before I put it into the washer and hiding it from me; stealing Homer's hat EVERY day and hiding it in a new place; playing chase with ANYTHING including Nattie, Homer, me, butterflies, bees and birds; running in circles like a maniac; snuggling with Homer in bed and just being alive.  She enjoys living more than any dog I've ever met. 

April, 2006

You can see from the photos below that Dottie is having a wonderful life.  We love her so much and can't believe how far she's come since we found her by the river two years ago.  What a girl!

Note:  In the pictures taken in the woods, we always have a leash on Dottie.  I just took the liberty of removing it with PhotoShop!

November, 2011

We still have our beautiful, sweet girl with us, thank God!  And this is after almost losing her several times to a terrible auto-immune disease back in 2007.  Our incredible veterinarian, Dr. Christine Weaver at Brevard Animal Hospital in Brevard, North Carolina saved Dottie with incredible wisdom, compassion and perseverance.  Dottie is now on Prednisone and Immuran and had to have her spleen removed in 2010 and has had some ups and downs medically, but is thriving after we discovered her thyroid was low and she was put on Synthroid.  We are not the kind of people who just keep on with medications with an ill animal if their quality of life is poor, but Dottie is like a 6-month old puppy right now, happy, filled with life and enjoying every single day.  She is nine years old this month and we are grateful for every single day.

This is a picture I took in the summer of 2011 before Dot gone on the Synthroid.  She's looking sad because Homer had been out of town for a week and she was waiting on him on the porch.  They had a very happy reunion a few minutes after I took this picture.

April, 2014

Dottie is doing amazingly well to be 12 years old!  I think having the cats living in the house with her have given her a new lease on life.  She loves barking at them...and barking at them...and, well, you know how it is.  She wants to herd them and they don't take too kindly to that.

October, 2014

Over the last few weeks, Dottie began to show signs that the auto-immune disease she has fought for the last seven years had weakened her system.  On October 8th, we saw that she was getting worse.  We had an appointment for her annual physical on the morning of October 9th and on that morning, we watched our girl fall several times. Homer and I had a quiet talk and decided it was time to let our girl go.  I called the vet to tell her and by the time we brought sweet Dottie into the office, the vet had the room ready.  After Dr. Weaver examined Dottie, she told us that Dot's liver had failed.  The decision was made.  It was one of the hardest days we had faced with one of our animals.  As difficult as all the others had been, losing Dottie seemed so much harder.  I kissed her forehead, hugged her to my heart and told her goodbye.  I then walked outside and let Homer have time with her.  When he came outside to where I was sitting, he told me Dottie had gone peacefully.  Our house seems so empty without her and we miss her so much.  But, we had twelve years with this special spirit and seven of those were given to us because of our wonderful vet who did everything in her power to keep Dottie healthy.

Goodbye, sweet girl.  You go ahead of us and find the trail.  We'll be right behind you.