Everybody on this planet loves a heartwarming animal story. These type
of stories are all over social media. I’ve tried, but it’s impossible to pass one by.
There’s so much horrible stuff in the news these days, I believe that most people
are simply searching for anything that will provide a bright spot, a little giggle, a
happy tear or a fond memory of a pet long gone.
This is much more than a dog story. Oh yes, it’s about Baker the GreatPyrenees who lives in the Historic District of Laurel with Erin and Ben Napier, mydaughter and son-in-law. If you work or live in downtown, you’ve probably seen
Baker (short for Studebaker) and his brother Chevy (short for Chevrolet) taking
Erin and Ben for their morning or afternoon walks. Baker’s day isn’t complete until
he goes for a refreshing swim in the fountain located in the park next to the
Baker is a rescue dog that still has some sad issues. He was pitiful when
they first saved him from the miserable life he had been living. His white fur was
matted, falling out, and crawling with fleas and ticks. He had sores that he had
scratched until they were bleeding. He was grossly underweight and scrounging
around in garbage cans hunting anything he could eat. People who mistreat and
neglect pets don’t deserve to have them. They actually deserve jail time—or
worse. I won’t disclose from where he was rescued, but it was a stealth operation
carried out under cover of darkness one morning right before the sun came up.
In the beginning, he was terribly skittish, crouching down every time a
human hand tried to show him affection. The first time it came a thunderstorm,
they were shocked to see that he laid down and played dead until it passed over.
Fireworks and thunder still send him into a panic where he either becomes
catatonic or tries to tear down the fence gate to escape from the noise. He freaked
out every time he had to ride in the back of Ben’s truck. He would froth at the
mouth and eventually throw up before he reached his destination. To avoid
inflicting further trauma, Erin and Ben started walking him the 4 or 5 blocks to see
the veterinarians at Sawmill Animal Hospital.
Last Thursday started out as a beautiful sunny day, so Ben decided to
leave the back garage door shut before heading to work. The garage is where
Baker seeks refuge when that awful thunder and lightening monster comes
Erin was neck-deep at work and didn’t realize a cloud had come up. Her
phone rang. It was chief of police Tyrone Stewart. Immediately, she feared
something horrible had happened to Ben.
“Erin, this is Tyrone. Is Baker at home?”
“Well, I think so...”
“Office Caraway is pretty sure she just saw him running down the
sidewalk near the Sawmill Animal Clinic, so she followed him right to the door and
they let him inside. He must have gotten scared of the weather. I don’t know if
they checked his tag, but we’re pretty sure it’s him.”
Before Erin could hang up with Chief Stewart, her daddy was beeping in.
Detective Kim Stewart had called him asking if Erin knew the whereabouts of
Before she could hang up with her daddy, Sawmill Animal Hospital was
calling to tell her that Baker was safe and sound there.
Before she could finish the conversation with the vet’s office, Holly Green
from LRMA called to say she had found and secured brother Chevy into the
backyard, but Baker was nowhere in sight.
And so, Ben went to the vet to pick up their big scaredy pup, who was
just fine and no worse for the wear.
As Erin wrote in her blog that night, this is the wonderful thing about living
in a small town like Laurel. People care. People go out of their way to do the right
thing. Where everybody knows your name. And the names of your pets. There are such things as police escorts protecting traumatized neighborhood dogs trying to take themselves to the vet.
You gotta love a town like that.
Karen Clark Rasberry, besides being Erin's mom, is an IPPY-award winning author and realtor in Laurel, Mississippi. When she isn't playing competitive league tennis, you'll find she and Erin's dad at the beach with their pup Hooper or playing on the banks of their lake with their grandson and granddaughter, Walker and Helen.