SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Remembering "The Wonder Dog," The Value Of God's Creatures

Ode To Rex (2000)

By Bob Weaver

Rex had street smarts, a survival instinct from his early days in Wheeling. He would escape the warm house on Maple Avenue on the coldest of winter nights to wander up and down the alleys in search of gourmet delights he jerked from the neighbor's trash can.

Dianne and I would run the streets during the early morning hours until we found him, to return him to the safety of home.

Once in a blizzard, the temperatures dropped well below zero, and Rex ran from the house on a freedom quest, to stop, hiking his leg to pee. He literally froze up and had to be carried to warmth to be thawed.

He was mostly Beagle, black and white, whose defect of character was an inability to restrict his intake of food. Beagles are always hungry, no sense of being stuffed.

One summer on a camping trip he snatched so many wieners from our friends, he dropped in his tracks, unable to budge. We had to carry him to bed.

Dianne saw him on the "Pet Rescue" show on Channel 7, in the arms of a TV personality who seduced viewers to save animals from the jaws of euthanasia.

She and my daughter, Tracey, went and got him from the dog pound. They warned he had kennel cough, and he might need long term treatment, but he recovered quickly with the tender care of our family.

His wonder dog status rose when he accompanied us on our return to Calhoun in 1995. Almost immediately he started running, chasing his "butterfly of love" - the rabbit.

He quickly expanded his horizons, testing his country dog freedom, around the Joker Ridge and out "The Husk," sojourns of sniffing and hunting. He would hardly slow down.

Crossing his life experience of being a street mutt, kennel inmate, house pet and freedom chasing rabbit dog, Rex became an easy target for those neighbors whose disrespect for a dog's life seems to enjoy shooting them.

Harmless Rex was filled with shot at least two times, and was jerked back from the jaws of death by my son Jon Ira when he suffered a heat stroke from running and crawled into the farm pond.

"He was chasing deer," said the shooter, as if he was not suppose to be a chaser in the balance of nature. God knows there are plenty of deer to be chased.

Our other dog "Bo" was shot by a neighbor who carries a pistol on his hip, and complained the dog came across his property.

Our beloved Golden Retriever, the kindest of dogs ever placed on this earth, was also shot.

Rex "The Wonder Dog" died in the winter of 2000, in the arms of our family before the warm fires of Hur. He was struck by a truck on the slick and snow covered road in front of our house.

He was getting pretty old, but he still had keen and gracious eyes which spoke louder than words.

He is buried down in the meadow under the broken down apple tree, with the other animals who have dwelled on the homestead.

I know that some people have different value on God's creatures, and some may think us dopey for loving them as we do.

But I have to believe that respect for life in all it's forms is based on the respect we have for our own existence and each other.

It is within this primal and spiritual connection we have our being, and to ignore it would surely mean that we are out of step with life and creation.

We will always remember Rex, a real wonder to us all, and all the beloved animals of our lifetime.