Our second guest editorial is by Terri Lynn. It’s a very moving piece about loss and justice. Any help you can all give Terri Lynn and her family would be appreciated.
If you have something you’d like to get off your chest and think you have what it takes to write a great editorial, send it to: [email protected]. Of course, we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to post it, but I promise, we’ll give it our best!
Hello. I am Terri. We live in a small rural town in Alabama where it’s quiet most of the time. I stay to myself and I take care of my children and my pets. I started taking in pets when I moved here because there was such a need in this area.
Our first rescue was a little pup we named Lucky. We had saved him from starving. He was only 6 weeks old. His momma had several pups and delivered them under an abandoned home. We also found the other pups a home. Then we saved Freekles, a little 2 month old Basset Hound that the neighbors abandoned. Freekles would follow the girls home from school and we fell in love. So Lucky and Freekles were a team and they were the best doggies ever.
One year later on December 26 Freekles wondered off and we couldn’t find him. He had been taken off by some young kids and gotten hit by a car. He lived until he was “rescued.” I found out were he was and contacted the vet. The vet had put Freekles to sleep one hour before I had called to claim him. I was devastated. All he had was a broken leg. It was close to New Year’s weekend and in my opinion the vet didnt want to be bothered with the hassle of taking care of my baby. The vet also thought Freekles was old. My God–you could look at his teeth and tell he was only 1 year old! We brought Freekles home and grieved his loss and I swore if I ever got another dog he would “NEVER” be allowed outside without me. This is true!
I had been in contact with a lady that had Bassets because I wanted to get Freekles a friend. So I contacted her and she had a litter. We go see the pups. It’s so odd but all I wanted was a red and white. The entire litter was all white and black except one and he was dark red and white. I walk up to him and picked him up and knew I had to have him. I also started to cry. The lady didn’t want to sell him, saying they were keeping him because he was special. I said. “Oh please, I’ll give you more for him.” So she agreed and we brought him home.
Then our life began with our new little pup whom I named Babyboy. Oh, how much joy he brought to our family, especially to my daughter Becca. They were a team, I tell ya! So much love between them. He was spoiled from the moment we drove away with him from the breeder. At first he was called a little bit of everything, since like most people, we just dididn’t know what to name our pet. But Babyboy stuck. He loved “Chichi,” our little Rat Terrier. They played all the time. At first Babyboy was little, but as he got bigger Chichi knew she had to get her bluff in on him. It was so funny.
As Babyboy got older I felt so bad because when other neighborhood dogs would come in the yard he always would look out the door and just look so pitiful. We have lot of neighborhood dogs that roam but not my baby–I knew better. I wasn’t going through the heartache of losing him. We had a bond that I could never replace.
We would take him outside and let him run, but we knew the limits. We always stood guard. Some people thought I was insane but heartache isn’t easy to go through, so I always kept him close. Christmas 2007 was very special. We were all together except for Freekles. Because I worked six days a week I wasn’t as close to Freekles even though I loved him dearly. So when I got Babyboy I was a stay-at-home mom and all my love and attention were always here with him. It’s amazing how close you can become to dogs–who knew? I’ve always loved animals and I’ve always had a soft heart. I remember as a little girl bringing home every stray animal I found. Mom couldn’t deal with all of them. But as a child I always had pets from bunnies to hamsters to kitties.
This is the hard part to write–the ending to the beautiful friendship I had. The day I lost my boy. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Around 5:30 or 6:00pm a neighbor came to my door. I thought it was odd. We didn’t expect anyone that day. The lady was a neighbor and she came in with her mom and asked if I had a Basset. I said. “Oh, sure I do,” and I called for Babyboy. She said, “No, we think he’s been hurt.” I said, “Not my dog. He’s here. ” Then I freaked. This terrible look came over her face. I started screaming, “Who let him out?” I grabbed my shoes and I ran outside. I was halfway down the hill when I was picked up by my neighbor, Keith, who drove me down the hill to where my Babyboy lay dead. I jumped out and ran to him screaming and crying the entire way. I fell to the ground and took him in my arms and just sat there and cried, “Oh God, please don’t let my baby be dead!”
A crowd of neighbors had watched Babyboy die slowly in the street. Now they saw me as I fought to catch my breath and looked up to Keith asking him, “Why?,” saying, “Please don’t let this happen. Please don’t let my baby die.” A few feet away my neighbor stood in front of me, unemotional and without a care in the world. He had told an onlooker before I arrived that he would go get a gun and put Babyboy out of his misery. But he had been the cause of Babyboy’s misery.
I had no idea what was happening. All I knew is that I was in shock and I wanted my boy back. Keith took Babyboy out of my arms and Dale, a neighbor, picked me up off the road and helped me to the truck, where I passed out from grief. I was driven back home. My daughter Rebecca was on the porch. I told her not to go down the road. I knew she heard me screaming because Dale heard me and came running down there. I got out of my truck in utter shock and I went to Rebecca and put my arms around her and told her our baby’s gone. It was the hardest thing to do. We still didn’t know the why or how of it. After that we go to Babyboy and looked and realized he had a bullet hole in his back. Oh God, I lost it. I pretty much knew right then who had done this !!!!!!
I called 911. They came out and I was just beside myself with grief. Halfway through questioning I told Keith. “I can’t breathe. You must get me some help!” So the police called for the emergency rescue. They came out and did what they do. In the meantime the police questioned everyone and Chris denied killing Babyboy.
I calmed down some for Becca’s sake. I was worried she thought I might die from a heart attack. It didn’t get better that night. I cried for hours. We took Babyboy to the after-hours ER and they kept him there. I didn’t want to leave him. I cried all the way home and cried until I fell asleep. The following weeks weren’t any easier. I was so used to having Babyboy here. I just lay in my bed. Nothing was making the pain go away. I was so filled with hate and anger.
Chris did finally admit to killing my baby, only to say he did it to protect his cat or kittens. That’s all I’m going to say about him. He isn’t worth any more of my time writing about.The truth will come out. I have filed a lawsuit and we are going to court.
We miss our Babyboy every day and wonder why this happened. Nothing could ever take the pain away. We love you Babyboy and miss you always…..Love, Mom
It has taken me 8 months to get a lawyer that would take Babyboy’s case. I sued the man who shot and killed Babyboy because the town wouldn’t enforce the laws here.
Since all this has happened to our family, we’ve done a lot of campaigning online to help animals in need. I also entered Snooky, our new basset, in a photo contest. If he wins, the prize is a million dollars and we will donate half the money to five different rescues and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Snooky has done really well so far. He’s been in the top 30, two different weeks. We have received a lot of support!
Terri Lynn: [email protected]