Friday, November 16, 2012

A Friend Indeed

 by Jim Carey

Who can say when in life the next gift will arrive? 

Certainly not me, although I appreciate every one that finds its way to me. One of my favorite gifts came in the form of a grossly overweight six-year old Golden Retriever named Nehru.

To make a long story short Nehru was owned by the neighbors of my wife’s hairdresser. For a variety of reasons, they had allowed him to get huge (170 pounds). The vet told them that the dog would likely die soon if he didn’t lose weight. We already had a six-month old Golden named Molly who had proven herself to be a bit of a handful, so I wasn’t in any way looking for another dog. 

However, something about Nehru’s story touched me and, since I liked to walk anyway, I volunteered to try and help the dog lose some weight.

The original arrangement was for Nehru to spend a week with us and then a week with his owners. We were both to do our best to get him out walking and monitor his food. It quickly became obvious that Nehru’s owners were unable or unwilling to do their part and in short order a phone call came asking if we wanted to adopt him.

I had to do some fast talking to convince my wife that we should take him. With some trepidation about having two dogs, she reluctantly agreed.

 Molly seemed to like having Nehru around so he quickly became part of our family. 

The first thing we did, once he was ours, was to change his name to Nemo as neither one of us could pronounce his original name very well. We walked him faithfully three to four times every day through all kinds of weather. It took almost two years for Nemo to reach his ideal weight of 90 pounds. He is quite active despite having had to endure a torn ACL and major knee surgery to repair that (the injury was likely due to a weakened condition caused by too many years of being overweight). My friend Nemo pushed through the rigorous exercises needed to recover and is still is always more than ready and willing to go for a walk. He has proven over and over again that he has the heart of a true warrior.

Nemo is the sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever had. From day one he has shown himself to be a good brother for Molly, who often looks to his example when life throws a challenge her way. Our boy is well known and well-loved in our neighborhood. Nemo has overcome many things, but his enthusiasm for life has never wavered. We can always count on him to be willing to go for a walk or a ride. He likes every living creature, except for those pesky squirrels. One day he hopes to catch one of them, but exactly what he would do with it once caught is not really clear.

One day on a walk an unfamiliar dog approached us in a very aggressive manner. In the blink of an eye Nemo positioned himself between Molly and me and the other dog so he could meet the charge head-on. He quickly ran the aggressor off. As I said, our gentle giant has the heart of a warrior.

Nemo is now eleven, but is showing no signs of slowing down. I know my friend will not be around forever, but I have learned to take each day as it comes and make the most of my time with my furry friends. All I can say for sure is that our lives are much richer for having Nemo in them.

Echoes from Home is the first novel published by author Jim Carey. A social worker, then a chiropractor by training, writing has been a passion for Jim for the past twenty years. Jim describes himself as a story teller.  His interest in the Civil War started early. After seeing Jimmy Stewart’s movie Shenandoah at the age of six, Jim became fascinated with the Civil War. As the years passed, playing with toy soldiers became part of his past, but his interest with the Civil War continued. For years Jim planned to one day write a book that would be a typical civil war story filled with names and places, battles, dates and divisions, but shortly after the writing began, the character of Joshua Miller started to fully develop and he began to realize that the Civil War was to be the backdrop for the life story of this young man and his friends as they journeyed through these powerful events in American history. Jim’s next project will be a collection of short stories based on the Civil War, tentatively entitled The High Price of Freedom.

Set in the time period of the Civil war, this historically edited novel follows a young man named Joshua Miller who, along with his best friend Monte, decides to show loyalty to the South by joining the Morgan County Scouts, a small cavalry unit based out of Alabama. Certain that the boys of the Confederacy would beat the Yanks and be back home in no time, Joshua leaves behind his mother, his beloved fiancée Missy Sue, and his boyhood dog named Blue to seek  the adventure and glories of war. As this coming of age story unfolds, the readers follow the characters through both the human and the soldier’s perspectives of the main battles of the Western theater of the Civil War. Letters sent between Joshua and Missy Sue at first share excitement and anticipation and then ultimately the disillusionment, heartache and true horrors of this time in American history. As the war dragged on and the imagined glorified life of adventure turned into the harsh realities of war, the boys became conflicted with the very concept of what exactly they were fighting for. What started out as a grand adventure became a series of very powerful lessons in hardship and courage, love and loss.


Carol said...

What a wonderful story. I love Nemo, too!

TNeal said...

We've got a golden, our 2nd, so I know how sweet a nature they have. Glad to hear how 170-lb. Nehru became 90-lb. Nemo. It's amazing how our kindness can be life threatening to others.