Sweet Abbey, Long May You Run

Posted: August 29th, 2021 | Filed under: Ruminations | 4 Comments »

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Highlands/ Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes/ My lonely eyes, my second-line drums/ Should I leave them at your gate/ My sweet sad-eyed lady as I wait? — After Bob Dylan

Abbey had me at first lick.


A couple of years earlier, Joanie and I had lost Lila the Love Dog, whom my bride brought into our relationship. Never having had a dog my whole life, my relationship with that loyal black lab taught me the reasons why people do.

They look in your eyes.

They steal your heart.

There was one of these please-take-us-home rescue dog events at Hogan’s Fountain.

Joanie was ready. I wasn’t sure.

While I was sitting on the ground as Joanie looked around, Abbey ran up to me and started licking my face.

I was a goner.

When we got her home, Abbey, who may have been abused somewhat, immediately ran to her wire crate. From which she rarely ventured for several days. Until she learned from our love she was safe and cared for.

Treats helped.

It took her awhile to understand it was the same calm, sweet talker that wooed her into his life who was then standing and screaming at the TV during U of L games.

When we’d return from being out, Abbey would leap at us in greeting, run full speed throughout the entire house in excitement. She’d stop. I’d rub her stomach. She’d take off again.

I mean, really, how are you supposed to deal with that affection?

Beagles are runners, or so I’m told. So, we always walked her on a leash. Several years later, when we had become comfortable with letting her roam the front yard, I lost sight of her. Joanie was away. When I called, Abbey didn’t respond.

I panicked, running around the neighborhood, screaming her name. I called Joanie’s son Sam to help me look for her. To no avail.

Forlorn. Crying. Filled with remorse, I trudged back to the house.

And there was Abbey. At the front door, waiting to get in out of the heat. As we approached, she stared over her shoulder, with disproving eyes. Oh those eyes! With a look that said, “Where the hell you been? I’m hot. I want some water and AC.”

I never feared she’d run away again. She knew she was loved and safe. From then on, I walked her without a leash whenever possible.

In her youth, she’d bound through the dry Beargrass Creek bed, leaping over logs, around trees, as we walked Cherokee Park.

When I was away on a trip, Joanie let Abbey sleep in our bed. From then on. She was generous enough to leave some room for us.

Since Joanie and I split, we have remained good, close friends. She kept Abbey, because that’s her home. I still saw the precious beagle of my love 4-5 times a week. She came for visits and sleepovers at my place.

I got Joanie’s magnificent portrait you see at the top which captures the essence of our girl. When she’d come visit, I’d point it out to her. Abbey’s response was usually, “Yeah, whatever, you gonna give me another treat, or what?”

We had this Stupid Pet Trick that always dazzled when I’d come pick up Abbey at Joanie’s boutique. When I’d ask her if she “wanted to go outside?,” she’d howl. A deep guttural lengthy bellow. As if she was auditioning for a cameo in “Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Joanie’s customers loved it.

So, OK, yeah, these are all personal stories.

They may resonate. They may not. I just needed to honor my Abbey. To try to move on from my deep grief.

Several weeks back, at age 14, she took a quick turn for the worse. In one day.

We had no choice.

It was time.

We love her.

She loved us.

Rest easy, dear Abbey, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Highlands.

— c d kaplan


4 Comments on “Sweet Abbey, Long May You Run”

  1. 1 Wendy said at 1:05 pm on August 29th, 2021:

    Hiya chuck. That’s a lovely Abbey tribute
    I’m glad we got to know Abbey too
    God gives us our dogs. I’m sure of that.
    And it’s reasonable that dog is a palindrome of God.
    Rock on Chuck and keep petting every dog you
    See until you are sent another. xxoo

  2. 2 Rhonda said at 4:56 pm on August 29th, 2021:

    Hi Chuck,

    I remember seeing you walking Abbey in Cherokee Park. Reading this made me cry. Maybe because two dogs of my own died in the last 9 months. They were fabulous companions, just like Abbey. It is truly heartbreaking when we lose our dogs. My sympathies.

  3. 3 Danny Frye said at 7:24 pm on August 30th, 2021:

    Just wow…

    Great story Seedy. They love us unconditionally.

  4. 4 Laurie Duesing said at 5:45 pm on September 3rd, 2021:

    I met Abby some years ago after Chuck moved into my condo complex and saw her off and on over the past few years. Once I was standing in the courtyard when Joanie arrived with Abby for a visit with Chuck. She and I stopped to talk with one another, and Abby looked up at us with what seemed like an exasperated expression, saying, “I don’t have time for this delay. She trundled determindly right by us and up the stairs to the 2nd floor to Chuck’s door. She clearly was on a mission, and she was clearly ‘Chuck’s girl.’

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