Sunday, November 29, 2009

The following originally appeared in The Floyd Press on January 18, 2007

She showed up about the same time as “A Taste of Floyd,” the slow food event that was hosted at the Harvest Moon Food Store last September. But some had spotted her even before that, with pups. The staff at the Harvest Moon has been collecting suggestions for names in a big glass cookie jar that sits on the check-out counter, along with donations to have her spayed. Meanwhile, they call her Ms. Hound.

Ms. Hound lives on the Harvest Moon grounds or by the barns that border it. Mostly she sits by the moss cow topiary that stands near the Harvest Moon driveway, the one that was donned in red ribbons and bells at Christmastime. She sits by the cow as if it is her rightful place in life, as if they were a likely pair.

“She wasn’t too happy when the wind blew the cow over and its head fell off,” Margie, the Harvest Moon owner, tells me. “She dragged a piece of it back to her doghouse that day,” she adds.

I had been trying to capture a picture of Ms. Hound for weeks, but she’s skittish of people. She’s either been abused in the past or is just used to living on her own in the wild, staff members, who have been feeding Ms. Hound, think.

But Floyd isn’t the wildest of places and Ms. Hound actually has a pretty darn decent dog house, which was generously donated by some of her fans who shop at the Moon.

“She’ll go in it only if no one is around,” Connie, a Harvest Moon manager, suggests. “She doesn’t want to feel trapped.”

One of the names in the cookie jar is Ms. Olive Chaepelle, which may refer to the lady-like dignity that Ms. Hound embodies. Margie likes the name Lu Lu.

“Yes, she does seem a little lu lu,” I respond. “Do you think she thinks the cow is real? How will the Humane Society ever get her in to be spayed? I haven’t been able to get within 10 feet of her,” I tell Margie.

Every time I shop at the Moon I have a new question about Ms. Hound, or I hear a bit of news about her. Sometimes I write a possible name on a piece of paper and drop it in the glass cookie jar, along with some coins that I hope are mounting up.

Connie thinks the name Freeda fits Ms. Hound’s personality. I nod my head.

She is a free spirit, after all. A loner with a lot of new friends.

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