Like many of you, we’re a family a dog lovers and we usually have a few; we run with a mixed pack. In 2004 we met a tricolored Tennessee–walker-coonhound. Most people know what a beagle looks like- imagine a giant beagle. Reportedly she had a fine hunting pedigree but didn’t fulfill her breeding – at two years old she wasn’t a hunter and was about to be abandoned.
We got a phone call pleading for our help. On the spot we agreed to adopt her. She came to us a bony, filthy, stinky, very terrified dog that didn’t even know her name. Since hound dogs are known for their howl or “song”, we modelled her new name on the famous singer Rosemary Clooney.
We named her Rosie.
A bath, good food, good healthcare, lots of love and patience, Rosie blossomed into a wonderful, happy companion. Her old life was a yucky barn, her new pampered life included sleeping on the couch.
Now, I think all dogs make good companions, but Rosie was special in our home. A little background on my lifestyle. My husband and I have a state licensed adult family home. It may be better understood if I use the common term ‘foster home for adults.’ I am a caregiver and we have people living with us that need assistance to manage their daily life.
It’s not unusual for us to get a phone call about a person, much the way we got the call about Rosie. Often, it’s someone in a desperate situation, struggling all alone. They come to our home and we give them essentially the same as Rosie- a safe place for a hot bath, good food, good healthcare and lots of love and patience.
Like many of our clients, Rosie had a background where no one would ever know the whole story. Trust is not easily achieved. Rosie was a natural at helping our new people assimilate into our home Rosie was so gentle in her curiosity about the new person that she provided the bridge to friendship.
Long before a new client would really talk to the other people in the house, they would warm up to Rosie. Sometimes our people come to us rather cranky- for example one of the men would only talk to us in a really mean tone, he’d bark orders like “get me more coffee “. Yet when he’d see Rosie he would wave and sweetly say “Hi Rosie, Hi Rosie.” To us Rosie was more than ‘a dog’.
In December 2015 Rosie got sick unexpectedly. It was sudden and severe. Within a few hours’ time, there were no options. We could watch her linger and die slowly or we compassionately euthanize. Tearfully we chose to put her to sleep.
I had not only my grief but also the whole household of grief, our family, our staff, our residents, our other dogs. There was a lot of sadness and no common social rituals… so I had to come up with something.
What do you do for a coon hound?
It got me thinking.
I decided to honor her with a song.
I borrowed the melody from a 1960’s tv show about a rags to riches family- The Beverly Hillbillies -quite fitting for our Rosie.
Would you like to hear it? Click this link for the Rosie Song.