books

‘Dogs are love, plain and simple’

By Gary Lloyd

A book on a dog may sound far-fetched, but Sonny has been hounding me.

OK, so those puns are enough to maybe earn pity laughs, but I’m serious. I’m writing a book about Sonny and other dogs.

Fur real.

I’m done. I promise.

I’m still in the early stages of this book that will focus on Sonny, a rescue dog, but it will focus also on the world of dogs, from abandonment to rescue to adoption. I’m still sorting through how it will be formatted.

Related: The asthmatic dog

But I had to tell a quick story. One of my first interviews has been with Greg Mahle, the founder of Rescue Road Trips. His 4,200-mile trips from Ohio to the Deep South to New England and back to Ohio pass through Birmingham. Dogs are walked and loved on. It’s a chance for the dogs to stretch their legs on their long journeys to forever homes. I’ve been to the Birmingham dog walk twice.

What an experience it is. On Oct. 11, I walked Bella, a Golden Retriever, a dog that was friends with everybody. Next I had Dixie, a girl that just wanted to be carried. There was Aphrodite, Kalula, and BeBe. But Kary was different. She seemed older, a black-as-crows dog as long as a Mazda Miata. She remained low to the ground, seemingly uneasy about the happenings around her. When someone approached us, she jumped up on me, her paws all the way up to my chest, and I was able to see her eyes, brown as a murky lake. She trusted me. She sought safety. She made me feel that sense of purpose that all dog owners feel. Sonny makes me feel that way. So does our first dog, Abby.

“Dogs are love. Plain and simple. They’re just love,” Mahle says. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the world looking for love, trying to see it, and you can. If you look hard enough, you really can see love. You can put your hands on it. You can touch it. You can feel it. When I drop off dogs, end of summer and it’s warm, the people will be sitting in the grass, after everything is said and done, and they’re all touching their dog, they’re putting their hands all over the dogs. The dogs are licking them. The dogs are happy. Tails are wagging. People are smiling and giggling. And I can stand there and look out over that grassy area, and I can see love. The dog is love. The dog is a companion. The dog is so many things, but first and foremost, a dog is love.”

So this is something I’m writing about now. It’s going to be fun talking to people like Mahle, rescuers, and more. So far, Sonny has been the only one resistant to my interviews.

Those have been ruff.

Have an interesting dog-related story you’d like to tell? Email me at garylloydbooks@gmail.com.

Gary Lloyd is the author of five books: "Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History," "Deep Green," "Heart of the Plate," "Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South," and "Ray of Hope." He has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Alabama, and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Alabama, with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny.

%d bloggers like this: