Our loved ones live on in our thoughts and memories - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Our loved ones live on in our thoughts and memories

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:33:12 GMT
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
  • Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:54 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:54:18 GMT
    Fatal Car Accident in McDowell CountyFatal Car Accident in McDowell County
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
  • Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:36 GMT
    Joe Collins is arrested on murder chargesJoe Collins is arrested on murder charges
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
  • ColumnsMore>>

  • Hydraulic fracturing could improve geothermal energy

    Hydraulic fracturing could improve geothermal energy

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:00:21 GMT
    A recent issue of The Economist had an article titled “Geothermal Energy, Hot Rocks, Why Geothermal Is the New Fracking.” The month before, a New York Times article titled, “Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.”
    A recent issue of The Economist had an article titled “Geothermal Energy, Hot Rocks, Why Geothermal Is the New Fracking.” The month before, a New York Times article titled, “Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.”
  • Changes to the oil, gas industry create benefits, concern

    Changes to the oil, gas industry create benefits, concern

    Sunday, August 31 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:00:17 GMT
    Robert N. Hart
    Robert N. Hart
  • Dislike of slimy, spicy, stringy foods doesn't make one picky

    Dislike of slimy, spicy, stringy foods doesn't make one picky

    Sunday, August 31 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-08-31 10:00:13 GMT
    I like to think of myself as a broad-minded person, open to new adventures, ready for anything that comes my way. This is especially true with food. I love to eat; I love to cook. So I was bowled over when a friend said to me, “You're a very picky eater.”
    I like to think of myself as a broad-minded person, open to new adventures, ready for anything that comes my way. This is especially true with food. I love to eat; I love to cook. So I was bowled over when a friend said to me, “You're a very picky eater.”

Dolly Withrow is a retired English professor and the author of four books. Contact Dolly at ritewood@aol.com. 

It's a summer day in 1994. I see smoke drift lazily toward the pale blue sky, its woody aroma penetrating the house. Looking out the kitchen windows, I watch my husband clear some of the acreage that will be our back yard. 

Bill drags a tree limb toward the fire. Carrying a small branch in its mouth, a stray dog follows close behind. It places the limb beside the fire and follows Bill back to retrieve more brush. We had heard about a mutt that helped neighbors clean the creek after a hard rain. It had to be the same dog. Like hobos of yesteryear, this dog believed in working for handouts. The stray had been sleeping on a back porch at the foot of the hill and each morning the woman gave it a biscuit, its food for the day.

I watch the dog leave as Bill enters the house. A few days later, he's back. Our toddler grandson is playing in the front yard when he falls and cries. The medium-sized dog goes to him. Our grandson stops crying and puts his arm around the dog. They lean toward each other, and our grandson laughs. Bill says, "We're going to keep him." That's how the dog with one blue eye, one brown eye and short hair with large gray spots on a white background became a member of our family. Our neighbor said he was the ugliest dog she had ever seen. 

He had ear mites, worms and fleas aplenty — all parasites that torment homeless dogs. The vet neutered him and made sure he was rid of all the parasites. We named him Freddie Flealoader. He learned quickly there were things he could not do in the house, but he had a sneaky streak. He slept on the couch when we were gone and jumped down when he heard our car engine. No one's perfect, but Freddie came close.

Our daughter had a hound named Copper. When Freddie escaped, he and Copper could be heard late in the night yapping and running through the woods. As time marched relentlessly forward, Copper died, and we all grew older. Our three grandsons became young men. Sleeping soundly, Freddie would move his feet, surely dreaming of running through the woods with Copper. Then, he had a stroke, but the vet injected a drug, and he survived. During his last year, Dr. Tammy Barickman at Ripley Paws Veterinary Clinic removed a large malignant growth from his mouth and removed all the infection. He had a wonderful last month of chasing his tail and enjoying life. By that time, he was more than a hundred years old in human years, but he was still amazing.

In the early morning Sept. 21, 2013, I discovered Freddie had experienced a terrible night. I took him to the yard. His back legs were weak. When he stepped upon the wooden walk leading to the deck, he couldn't navigate the first step. Having been a reasonable fellow all his life, he simply lay down on the walk. I removed the leash, came in the house to tell Bill, and then I called Risa Mellert, our daughter. It was 7 a.m., and I knew I had awakened her. She and Don, nonetheless, rushed to our house within 10 minutes.

Ripley Paws didn't open until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, so we assembled our lawn chairs around Freddie and drank mugs of coffee and tea. Wagging his tail, Freddie looked up at me as if to say I know you can fix it. A cataract had covered his brown eye, and his blue eye was partially covered. He liked nothing better than being near his family, so he was content. Freddie's incredible age could not be reversed. I couldn't fix it. 

The dreaded time arrived, and Risa wrapped a towel around Freddie. Don, our son-in-law, gently picked him up and placed him in the back of their SUV. Rain was beginning to come down hard and by the time they reached the vet's office, it was a torrent. Still, Anita, an assistant at Ripley Paws, came out to the vehicle and injected a sedative. She was drenched by the time she re-entered the office. That's dedication.

As I write this, Freddie has been gone three days. He rests in our pet cemetery in the same yard where he carried branches to the fire with Bill 19 years ago. The hair balls have been vacuumed, the countless white hairs on the deck have been swept away, the soiled memory-foam bed has been trashed, but Freddie lives on in our memories. 

His barks at strangers, at grasshoppers, at deer — they will echo through time. His wagging tail, his quick snap when offered food, his devil-dog eyes, his hair falling onto the floor with his slightest movement — they will stay with us, for our loved ones who are gone, nonetheless, live on in our memories.