I thanked the “Great Speckle” quite early today, with my friend and her small “Fur Person” beside us, for another beautiful day and for helping us all. Karen and Miss Daisy were headed home after another great meal of shrimp and fries at Turtle Bay the night before and an evening of drinks and games at my place in Lake Country. This is a tale of great heroism, and the evil that exists beside us all.
Karen had been dreadfully ill the week before with what was probably Norwalk virus. After getting back from a relative’s funeral in Fernie she found two of her elderly clients had passed away, one her good friend Ernie Henley. Before she had gone there, she expressed concern to me about the mistreatment she had witnessed of her landlord’s pet dog, Morgan, by the person who had been paid to take care of him while they went on their annual trip to the southern sunshine. Morgan had been adopted by them early last year from the SPCA. About a week before that she had seen this person punch the dog in the head when it tried to get in his vehicle. He left the poor animal outside in the coldest of our weather this year with only frozen water in his dish for days at a time while he was away. Karen took him for walks, sick as she was, but noticed a drastic change in him. He did not want to come back to his home. Once he snarled and bared his teeth at her.
Instead of the loving, playful canine he had once been, he started being very rough with Daisy, and actually dug a hole under the gate in the driveway trying to escape. He would climb the long steps to Karen’s home and refuse to leave. There could be only one reason for this, the abuse of an innocent animal by a coward. In one of his rare visits to the house, when questioned about a scratch on Morgan’s head, he replied,
““Yeah I smucked the f—–r and threw a chair at him.””.
He then stated Morgan was to stay locked in the house, as he was being punished, and left again. Karen had keys to the house, so of course Karen cared for him anyway, but, Karen has to work for a living. Morgan ran away again and was picked up by the SPCA. As her dog tags clearly indicated her address, the caretaker was notified at the owner’s residence and allowed to pay the fine and pick him back up by the good, unknowing people there.
Karen was in a quandary. This person was much bigger than her, and practiced on a large punching bag underneath her bedroom constantly. We had discussed her options and fortunately she had the owner’s E-mail address. She got in touch immediately and was assured help was on the way. Then she waited, and worried, scared and alone except for the beautiful Miss Daisy, until she had to work again. Rushing home after, she arrived to find strange cars in the yard, but soon realized they were friends of her landlord. The first thing she was told was,
““Your help is here, Karen. You and Daisy are safe now. And so is Morgan.””
One common definition of courage is knowingly going into danger, instead of away from it. This Karen had done, freely, despite her fears. Brave heart! But, there was to be one more act in this terrible play before the curtains were drawn. The next day, a knock came on Karen’s door. Expecting to see one of her landlord’s friends, her heart dropped at the sight of the sadist in the doorway.
Fortunately, he had no idea of her role defending Morgan”s right to decent care, and the need of all living beings to be loved, free from abuse. In return, they give us all the love and loyalty they have, sometimes to their deaths, without question. His parting words,
““ Well, they kicked me out. Good thing too, otherwise I might have killed the dog!””
He laughed, and left. Karen shut the door, and collapsed in relief, hugging Daisy. She is worried that when this is published, he could seek revenge. I told her too many people know about him now, yet her concern naturally lingers. Slight in stature, enormous in love and caring for all living things, Karen is the best kind of human and my best friend. Some of you have seen her holding up her trophy fish. Some will remember the story I told of her dream when we had to kill a small rainbow that could not release the line from the down-rigger and could not be released safely. (She dreamed there had been an autopsy and we were all absolved of any blame.) That is true caring for others. I am very lucky to have her and Miss Daisy”s trust, and will do my best to make sure the proper authorities learn of her heroism and what to her was a simple duty to a furry friend. How magnificent and truly humble is that!
Morgan is near Big White now, with other dogs to play with and good people to care for him, until his owner’s return. We will visit him soon, to watch he and Miss Daisy play again. Karen says she is no hero, anybody would have done the same. I disagree. We have all heard horror stories about people just walking away from others in distress, claiming it was none of their business. Well, not Karen. She stood up for a defenceless animal, despite possible consequences to her. If Morgan could understand, and talk, I know what he would say,
“Thank you, my Hero! Thank you, Friend. Want to play with me and Daisy?”