I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Harley was legend, and the best dog ever

Harley asleep on his bed in the living room.
This is the legend of Harley written as the prologue of my second trunk novel, REFERENCE TO THE UNSPOKEN. Because I felt my main character needed someone with which to share her life, someone to love, and someone to love her back unconditionally, opening with Harley’s story and his difficult beginning, was the perfect addition to the book.
Though the book may never be published, the story of Harley deserves to be told.


- Spirit -

            At the end of Marsh Lane, the short dirt road which leads to the Connecticut River, there’s a small parking lot with a boat launch. The launch isn’t large, the kind where huge SUVs back Whalers down a wide and sturdy cement ramp into the river, it a  narrow slope, a place where kayakers wade in the mud to gently settle their small boats in the water. Secluded and contemplative, the lot by the shore is a place where a person can stare down the peaceful flow to Long Island Sound and seek solace. But, if it is within their nature, some can take advantage of the remote location and perform ineffable acts.

            With no thoughts as to whether anyone was watching, two boys and a puppy splashed in the muddy shallows by the launch. A stick, tossed by one of the boys, landed just beyond the pup’s reach. He bounded after it like it was a T-bone sliding off a picnic-plate. A woman watching from the parking lot was entertained at first, until the game changed.

            The ball of yellow fluff, a golden retriever and yellow lab cross, was energetic and eager to play. Standing at the edge of the water his hind end wagged so hard, he looked as if he’d wag himself right over. When the stick first landed in the water, he didn’t know what to do; one paw wet, and then the other, until finally stepping in to reach the small piece of wood, he brought it back to shore. The boys started throwing the stick further out into the river until the puppy, struggling to swim, reached it. Finally the dog, after the farthest throw, stood firm, as if to say, you’ve thrown it too far boys, I’m not going out for that one.

            “Fetch it!” The older boy yelled.

            Even from the edge of the lot where the woman stood, she could see the red faced livid boy, ‘spit’ the word fetch.

            “Go get it you little shit!” The younger boy screamed.

            Glancing among the few parked cars the woman searched for someone to step in and control the boys. There was no one.

            Tilting his head, the dog looked as if he were reasoning why his friends were mad at him; he was having fun up until that moment. He turned away from the yelling, ears down, head dipped. The puppy was scared. He lay flat as if to make himself disappear.

            Stomping over to the dog and grabbing him by the scruff of the neck, the younger boy yanked him to a stand. Pulling away, the dog yelped, the boy smacked him.

            The older boy grabbed the puppy’s tail; he snapped to get away. With his fingers buried in the scruff, and the dog’s mouth held shut, the first boy stepped further out into the river. The other boy sunk his hands into the muddy fur of the puppy’s back. They struggled forward with the squirming dog farther out into the water. Waist deep the two boys plunged the dog under and held him there.

            Watching from the lot, the woman could not believe what she was seeing. Frantic, she looked for someone to stop the sickening scene.

            She never felt how cold the water, or how strong the current. That the muddy river bottom filled her shoes never entered her mind. Digging her fingers into one kid’s shoulder, she yanked until he let go of the dog. Grabbing a handful of the other kid’s hair, she pulled back, until he raised his hands to fight her off. Both thrashed away as she scooped up the dog and headed for shore.

            Emitting a filthy word-barrage, the boys were pissed that the woman had spoiled their demented game. For an instant she turned and stared them into silence. Slowly backing downstream toward shore, once their feet hit dry dirt, they ran.

            Placing the limp puppy on the hood of her car, muddy rivulets of water wept from the metal onto the ground. His tongue was hanging from the side of his mouth, the puppy was not breathing. Shedding her sweatshirt the woman began to rub the dog chanting over and over again, breathe, little guy, breathe; the shirt, as wet as the dog, became a hug of sorts, massaging and stimulating, as she continued her mantra, breathe, little guy, breathe.

            Shuddering from a spasm, his body squirmed under her tender hands, until he finally settled calmly on the warm hood of the car. The woman spoke kind words to the little dog, telling him he was alright and that no one would hurt him again. Raising his head he looked at the woman and tucked his tongue into his mouth. Tapping out a slow rhythm on the car’s hood, his tail soon became an energetic thank you to her.

            Gently lifting the little pup she set him on the ground. Looking up to her, his tail swiftly sweeping side to side, he stood on his hind legs as if asking to play.

            “You sure have spirit little guy,” she said. His tale wagged so hard she thought he’d tip over.

            “Spirit. What a great name for you, Spirit.”

            The woman took the puppy home. Once his fur was dry she brushed him clean and settled him beside her favorite chair. With all her heart she wanted to keep him but because her landlord would not allow pets she had to quickly find him a home. At work, during a meeting with colleagues, the woman told the story of how she saved a puppy from two boys intent on drowning him.

Professor Dennison stepped forward, “I’ll take him.”

            “He’s yours,” the woman said without a moment’s hesitation, because she knew, of all the people she worked with, of everyone she had ever known, Professor Lillian Dennison was the one most needing Spirit.


 The real story:


What happened to Harley took place in Virginia. The woman who saved him brought him here, to Connecticut. Because the woman an angel lived in a condo and could not keep him he was given to and loved by a young couple one town over from us. Their house was too small and their family too big. That’s where we come in. Harley came to live with us when he was eleven months old. Lively and lanky he was the perfect fit for our family.

The beautiful golden boy was ours, or should I say we were his, for thirteen years until he died last week. Harley was without a doubt the best dog ever.


  1. Is it wrong to hope karma found those boys? I'm glad Harley found you.

    1. AJ, karma is an equalizer of justice.
      When we went to 'just meet' Harley He jumped in our car and we knew he was ours forever. The young husband who had to find a home for him climbed in our car, hugged Harley and bawled. He loved him enough to give him away.

  2. Beautiful story, Carolynn. Glad Harley found his forever home with you. He sounds like a wonderful friend.

    1. Thank you Dena. Everyone loved Harley and I mean everyone.

  3. I remember reading this a while back and boy was I glad that little dog was saved. And of course I remember your love of him too, good ole Harley boy came to live where he was meant to live.

    Had a terrible scare yesterday with Little Dog. I'll probably post about it some time. I'm still thinking about the what if's....and I have to stop myself. We sure do love our four legged family members, don't we?

    1. It's odd really how we emotionally invest so much in animals when we know how temporary they are in our lives. I knew you're remember Harley from my previous writing about him. I think I was Wry then.

      Yeah, stay clear of the what if's with Little Dog. That kind of stuff can drive you crazy.

  4. I'm so sorry for the loss of Harley (and that it took me so long to get to your post). You had happy loved years with him, and that's all the best dog can want, right? They love us so much, and we try to return the favor.

    1. Thanks Jennifer. He sure was special. We were just talking this morning about how he was the friendliest boy. I used to call him a "duh dog" which meant when you said his name, he'd tilt his head and look kind of quizzically, as if replying, "duh?" We sure do miss him.

  5. ... and the magic of a dog is - Harley was without a doubt the best dog ever. As was my Siddy, the best dog in the history of ever, and Penelope, the best poohbah puppy, and even our former neighbor dog, Scout, who was handsome and wonderful and had people-eyes.

    Harley and Little Dog (and every dog I've ever had, from Sweet Siddy La to Lucy all the way back to Patches, who died when I was ten) have me holding on to Pen a lot lately. And Gossamer the Editor Cat, too, really.

    They may be temporary (aren't we all?), but they stay with us forever. Good dogs.

    1. It's so hard when they go and yet when they are here our worlds are so enhanced. As usual you nailed the perfect sentiment. "...people-eyes", I love that.