Cheney the DogPosted: December 6, 2012
Well before most American’s had heard of one of the most disliked Vice President’s in modern times, Dick Cheney my very liberal and big time animal loving Uncle Wilson found a hound dog and named him Cheney. Despite this poor dog’s name he was well loved by both my Aunt and Uncle. Signs alerting visitors to the farm where my Uncle lives next to my father warn drivers to “Go slow, Pet animals around.”
Cheney and co-dog Georgia rule the farm as the leaders of the animal kingdom. Marlin, the deaf cat had passed away a little while ago and I recently noticed the sign reading, “Drive slow, deaf cat” has been removed from the tree in the bend of the road leading up to my Uncle’s house.
My Uncle Wilson is a retired Episcopalian Priest whose only religious paraphernalia at his house is a statue of St. Francis, the animal loving Saint. Wilson has never been shy about proclaiming his love of animals, which I think is almost stronger than his love of people.
This past year Uncle Wilson has had a lot of serious health problems and has been unable to walk for months. Recently he has gotten good news that his primary problem is in remission, but he has a very painful broken pelvis which must heal on it’s own.
The day after Thanksgiving Cheney, who is mostly an outdoor dog did not come and sleep at the back porch where his bed resides. Both Cheney and Georgia had been out chasing some smelly animals and they had been banned from coming in the house until the weather warmed up enough for them to be bathed to remove the stench. Uncle Wilson and Aunt Janie noticed the next day that Cheney was still gone which worried them because Cheney was not known to miss many meals. Four or five days passed and no one had seen Cheney. Will was heart broken thinking that Cheney surely had died somewhere out on the farm.
This came as quite a blow to him after his year of poor health. Although he had a great attitude about what might kill him, the thought of loosing Cheney seemed to bring him down to a place he had not gone to so far. I think that thinking about Cheney’s mortality brought Will’s into focus.
On the fifth day after Cheney’s disappearance Will got a call from his Doctor who told him there was no treatment for his broken pelvis, except for physical therapy. So while Janie was out doing an errand Will, who had not gone out of the house without a wheel chair for months, decided to get up alone and take a walk, with his walker, down the road towards my father’s house.
Georgia, one who was always up for a walk ventured part of the way down the road with him. As my Uncle got a hundred yards from his house he decided that this walk was a very bad idea. He turned to go back to his house and noticed that Georgia had only come half way with him and was standing on the side of the driveway near a culvert where a pipe that runs under the driveway exits. Uncle Wilson thought that Georgia must not have felt like a walk either.
As Will came back towards Georgia he heard a faint sound coming from the pipe under the driveway. He recognized the sound as Cheney’s voice. With his walker by his side, Will got down on the ground and looked in the pipe and could hear Cheney, but was unable to reach his arm in far enough to touch him. As he lay on the ground overwhelmed with the thought that Cheney was alive, he realized that he could not get up. Thank goodness he had his cell phone in his pocket and he hit redial calling our cousin George who miraculously was only one mile away, rather than at his house an hour and a half away. He came right over, calling my father as he drove, who called Rufus and Bill two men who work at the farm, my mother, and Aunt Janie.
All these people who are not always around came quickly and gathered by the pipe and realized that they could not get Cheney from the open end of the pipe so they began to dig the pipe out at the other end. At one point one of the men with a hatchet in hand was banging away on the cement pipe and as he lifted the hatchet high in the air to bring it down hard, my father screamed stop. Lord knows what made my father stop him, but he did and the crowd or mainly very old people, working together lifted a huge chunk of pipe and there was Cheney right where the hatchet would have hit.
That dog jumped up, ran to the house and drank water for what seemed like a day. How this very old dog had survived stuck in this pipe for five days with no water or food and freezing nighttime temperatures is something to behold. Having Cheney back is the best medicine Uncle Wilson could ever have. Neither of those old dogs is ready to give up. Perhaps Cheney was well named after all, because like Dick Cheney who has survived five heart attacks and a heart transplant operation and still keeps going, Cheney the dog is one tough ‘ole pup. But unlike the Vice President the dog brings hope and light into the world and might just be proof of some higher being.