Shaggy the dog

Friends:  Following is a story written by Beth Sergent, staff writer for the Point Pleasant Daily Register, Point Pleasant, WV.  It’s a dog’s obituary from the dog’s point of view.  Original, telling, and heartfelt.  This is a story for all dog lovers.  John
A dog’s life, like that of a human’s, can take many twists and turns in our search for what, and who, we truly call home.
A friend recently told me dogs should live as long as parrots. Still, another friend remarked dogs have such short lives because the loss of them would be too much to bear if they lived as long as their human companions.
My dog Shaggy recently died, but she was not just my dog. For awhile, she belonged to a community — the community of Pomeroy, Ohio.
In the early to mid-2000’s, people noticed her wandering village streets, searching for food, searching for a safe place to sleep, her head down, eyes never making contact as she apologetically persevered. Those in Meigs County know the rest of the story. They know how those working at the Meigs County Courthouse and in downtown businesses took Shaggy in, fed her, showed her kindness, gave her companionship and she returned all in-kind.
She became a conduit for connecting people who otherwise wouldn’t have noticed each other. Noticing Shaggy in need and wanting to help, caused strangers to recognize something of themselves in others. Shaggy recognized it too, namely kindness. Kindness is often common ground for us all. She followed that trail of kindness until she found her home with me.
Last month, Shaggy died from the ailments of old age and left this earth laying on her dog bed in the same, safe spot she had slept in for years. If not for the kindness of others, it’s hard to say where Shaggy would’ve taken her last breath and if not for Shaggy’s kindness towards others, it’s easy to say something would have been missing in downtown Pomeroy and certainly in my life.
The groundhog population on Mechanic Street alone would also be at critical mass if not for Shaggy’s efforts to control it during her homeless days. Though I could go on about what a wonderful dog she was — and she was — I thought the appropriate send off in the newspaper which celebrated her off the streets would be an obituary, from a dog’s point of view.
So here it is, Shaggy’s obituary containing what, and who, she called home.
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Shaggy, age unknown but suspected to be between 13-15 years old, of Point Pleasant, W.Va., and formerly of Pomeroy, Ohio, died Feb. 22, 2015, at her home with her human by her side.
Known as Pomeroy’s “town dog,” Shaggy was a door greeter at the Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and later at the Pomeroy Daily Sentinel for several years. She was Pomeroy’s first four-legged grand marshal of its Christmas parade, in which she made repeat appearances. One of Shaggy’s little-known accomplishments was visiting the residents of Overbook Rehabilitation Center in Middleport, Ohio, and consuming nine slices of American cheese given to her by those residents in under two hours — followed by chugging a gallon of water. Her favorite foods included cheeseburgers (plain with cheese only) from fast food establishments and free hot dogs from Tom Tom’s in Point Pleasant.
Her favorite pastimes included sniffing grass at public parks and traveling to places while riding in her very own back seat in a Pontiac Grand Prix. Favorite smells occurred often at Krodel, Riverfront and Tu-Endie-Wei parks in Point Pleasant, with special attention given to a post planted beside the butterfly garden along the walking trail at Krodel. After being homeless on the streets of Pomeroy, Shaggy’s world opened up and she traveled to places like Huntington, W.Va., Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, and to every corner of Meigs County — from (nervously) witnessing a 21-gun salute at Portland’s commemoration of the Battle of Buffington Island, to searching for remnants of the old Titus Mansion in the Rutland, Ohio, area. The latter adventure resulted in the need to remove several ticks, a process which Shaggy showed much patience for, as she did with most everything in life. Her last big car ride was to Fairfield, Ohio, in May 2014 which also included a trip to Voice of America MetroPark in West Chester Township in Butler County, Ohio, where she ate a chicken sandwich under a shade tree — sometimes life is more about chewing slowly and observing.
In addition to her human, Beth Sergent, of Point Pleasant, she is survived by initial caretakers Donna Boyd, of Pomeroy, Rhonda Riebel, of Chester, Ohio, and Jenny Shirley, of Point Pleasant, with special mention to friend and animal lover Gloria Kloes, of Pomeroy, who helped with her first bath.
She was preceded in death by Sentinel staff writer, and late in life dog lover, Brian J. Reed.
She is also survived by countless employees at the Meigs County Courthouse who provided her with companionship, cheese, lunch meat, peanut butter, drinks of water and a dog bed. She also leaves behind supporters at the Pomeroy Police Department who attempted to keep her safe during her time on the streets, and her Pomeroy Daily Sentinel family which included Charlene Hoeflich, of Pomeroy, Brenda Davis, of Syracuse, Ohio, Judy Clark, of Racine, Ohio, Matt Rodgers, of Gallipolis, Ohio, and David Harris, of Pomeroy.
She is also survived by a generous benefactor from Meigs County who paid for all of her veterinary care at Meigs Vet Clinic over the years and who shall forever remain nameless but thanked. She leaves countless other friends and family behind, including a cat named Alfie who she considered eating in the beginning but later learned to tolerate. We should all show as much tolerance for someone, or something, with the ability to scratch us.
Shaggy’s ashes will be scattered at Krodel Park in Point Pleasant along the trails and water’s edge once spring officially arrives. This way, a piece of Shaggy will be forever at, and forever become a part of, a place she loved, as the grass turns green and life renews itself again … and again, and again.
In lieu of cheeseburgers, consider adopting a homeless animal from the Meigs County Dog Shelter or Mason County Animal Shelter in memory of Shaggy and for yourself. Don’t forget to give special consideration to the adult dogs and cats who have been wandering all their lives in search of a forever home, just like Shaggy.
In closing, a quote from the writings of Jane Austen:
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
Austen’s quote may refer to the nature of a select number of human beings on this earth, though it with certainty refers to the nature of all dogs. Dogs, like Shaggy, are incapable of loving their people by fractions or with incremental signs of affection. They teach us more than they will ever know by their capacity to be whole with us.
May Shaggy, and her whole heart, rest in peace.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Margaret Ray on April 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    That was a wonderful obituary and I am so glad you gave her a final home for which she did not have die alone and was loved very much. Thank you for your kindness.


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