Straight from a Flannery O'Connor story

Flannery after adoption - Straight from a Flannery O'Connor story

Have you ever read any Flannery O’Connor?  She was from Savannah, GA, and lived and died in Milledgeville, GA.  She wrote odd, disturbing stories and novels of strange human behavior and situations.  It’s all fairly eccentric reading, but fully plausible, given the quirky eccentricities that reside in all of us.  Our own little real-life Flannery O’Connor setting takes place in Garnett.  If you would like to go read some Flannery O’Connor to prepare for this story, you could start with “A Good Man is Hard to Find””.  You can even find an on-line version.  Go ahead, step away now if you wish.

Garnett is a small hamlet of perhaps 40 citizens – that head count was provided by Richard, a local eccentric alcoholic, so perhaps the count is not correct, but then Richard is not employed by the Census Bureau, and the count, for our purposes,  is close enough for horseshoes and handgrenades.  Garnett consists of a railroad track, a small crossroads, some old houses and trailers, and a small local store with an attached liquor store.  If you are a local, you could perhaps purchase spirits every day of the week, even though *legally* you cannot purchase spirits on Sunday.  If you could not purchase wine, or beer, or strong drink, on Sunday, this would mean that you would have to plan your alcoholism and buy ahead on Saturday to get you through the weekend.  Sounds like a lot of work to me, but then, from what I have seen of alcoholism, it IS a lot of work and planning.  About drinking.  Work and planning about drinking. 

Okay, so one day a call comes in to Sugar from Richard.  (Nobody calls him Sugar except me in this blog so his identity is masked in sugariness.  Just so that’s clear.)  There’s a dog down the road at Robbie The Pimp’s.  The dog has had puppies and the word on the street is that Robbie The Pimp doesn’t want the dog nor the female puppies and is planning on shooting them, but keeping the male puppies and the father dog.  That way, no more puppies and no more extra mouths to feed. 

Richard is basically a well-meaning individual who just happens to have some addiction issues, and he doesn’t want the dogs to be killed.  So he bargains to get the dogs, if we can help re-home them.  His end of the deal is to trade a package of ribs and a package of chicken parts from the grocery store for the mother and the female puppies.  Sugar has a large dog trap, made of a metal framework with welded-wire sides, which he loaded into his MPV (which in his case means Multi Pet Vehicle) with food for bait, dishes, leashes, and towels, and we took off to Garnett. 

When we got to Richard’s house, we were greeted as usual by his menagerie of dogs and cats, including Christmas Caroling, the little crippled calico cat whose back was broken from being hit by a car in front of the store.  (She scoots around with her hind legs sticking forward, not dragging behind.)  Richard wedged into the van which was piled high with rescue stuff, and he directed us to Robbie The Pimp’s house. 

Robbie The Pimp lives in a ramshackle house on a dirt road that runs parallel to the railroad track.  Because he doesn’t have transportation and because there is no trash pickup in the area, the best and easiest way of disposing of garbage, trash, castoff appliances, discarded belongings, and broken equipment, is to put them out of the house.  Great heaps of debris could be seen around the house, at the edge of the woods surrounding the house, and thru the open, unscreened doorway of the house into what might have been the kitchen.  Robbie The Pimp came out of the house, eating beans from a can.  A couple of young thugs, dressed in bling and sports team logo wear were leaning against the doorway.  Young puppies, about 8 weeks old, were hiding among the debris and under the dilapidated shed at the rear of the property.  The father dog limped slowly away from us, never letting us near enough to touch.  The mother dog, teats swinging, danced back and forth, out of reach.  The day was hot, and the smell of old moldy wood, fabric, and metal permeated the air.

We set up the dog trap, an old rusty affair that still could be counted on to work.  Sugar put a bowl of food inside the trap, and we backed up, giving the mother dog some space.  She was starving, her ribs showing from the effects of malnutrition and nursing.  She went immediately into the trap, and we held our breath.  The trap door didn’t close.  She wasn’t stepping on the door release.  She instead was standing just shy of the trap lever, leaning over it to get to the bowl.  This wasn’t working at all and soon she would be full and we wouldn’t be able to catch her.  I saw that the little bit of additional height that the bowl afforded allowed her to reach the food without going completely into the trap.  I slipped over to the trap, she retreated out, and I reached in and dumped the food onto the floor of the trap, the pieces falling onto and through the wire grid flooring.  (Sugar hates for animals to be fed on the ground.  It’s so degrading, plus there’s the parasite issue.  And it seems like the least that we can do is to feed them from a clean bowl.  But I was getting desperate that we might lose her, and once you lose that first chance, you usually do not get another.  The dog is onto you.) 

I walked away, my back to the dog on purpose, so, if that she were looking at me, she wouldn’t see my eyes and wouldn’t be intimidated.  Not to worry.  I watched Sugar’s face as he leaned against the van, and when I was perhaps only 5 feet walking away from the trap, I asked if she was in the trap yet.  He never took his eye off the trap, but nodded and said quietly, “She’s in.”  She went further in the trap to get to the food on the ground, stepped on the release lever, and never stopped eating even when the trap door slammed shut behind her. 

In addition, we were only allowed to take the female puppies, but they all got homes.  We named the mom “Flannery” in honor of Flannery O’Conner.  She went to the boarding kennel where I was working, and was fostered there. Flannery went from a shy feral dog to a sweet, trusting soul.  She got a wonderful home with a retired couple who already had a wonderful dog but wanted to open their home to another.

Flannery's Pal

Flannery's Pal (Flannery is on the seat behind him)

The last I heard, there were no dogs at all at Robbie The Pimp’s.  No one can say what happened to them.  They might have died of disease, or parasites, or infection from wounds.  They might have been used as bait dogs for dog-fighting rings.  But Flannery and some of her puppies got out.  Another mark in the plus column.

Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “Flannery”

  1. Simba Says:

    You tell a good tale, and I feel privileged to have known you.


  2. ruthrawls Says:

    Thank you, thank you! No applause please. Just throw money.


  3. One little, two little, three little indians… « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] the same dog trap that we used to trap <a href=”https://ruthrawls.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/flannery/”>Flannery</a&gt;, he and Sugar set it up by the old house.  They can hear the sounds of the puppies […]


  4. A Bumper Crop « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] few days later, someone reported a puppy under another old abandoned house.  Richard set the now infamous dog trap, and after several days trapped the pup.   But.  Heard puppy sounds yet from under the house.  […]


  5. Flannery, Part 2 « Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] along.  Flannery was boarding for the Christmas holiday!  Everyone there loves her and can’t believe that she […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: