Topic: "The Garden of Good"
There is a long ribbon of highway that leads to the sea. It is a drive that offers little in the way of distraction or interest. Frodo's neighbor in the Shire was making that trek some years ago when he noticed movement near the fence which guards the highway. With little else to occupy his mind, he pulled to the side of the road to investigate. She was, for want of a better word, a mess.
It appeared as if one or more of her legs had been broken at some point in her life, and never directed to proper healing. She was infested with fleas and ticks, filthy dirty, but obviously pleased that someone, anyone, had taken an interest in her travail.
It was the road to the sea, to Savannah, and the perfect name for a weary traveler.
Once cleaned up and introduced to her foundling friends in the Shire, Savannah's life had seemed to take an upward turn. Unfortunately her time in the wild had attracted mosquitos, and heartworms were the next challenge for this beagle dachshund mix. The treatment is very similar to chemotherapy for people, and it takes some real resolve to overcome the side effects. Savannah's wagging tail, and ever-present smile did not fade from the Shire, regardless of the treatments.
One day, Savannah began to drag her hind quarters, and soon she lost all movement in her back legs. Frodo's neighbor, Sancho Proudfoot, was disconsolate, for he knew no way to overcome paralysis in a creature so full of life. Sam knew of a man who practiced acupuncture on creatures, and had heard of much success in the treatment of similar cases. Sancho decided to give it a try, since he had become quite attached to the quick brown dog.
The treatments were somewhat successful, but as her movement returned, it came to muscles which had atrophied during the paralysis. Sancho and Savannah were determined however, and soon a magical cart was outfitted to her hind quarters and Savannah learned to do "wheelies" and to crash through the underbrush in her own "Humvee." The cart worked out well for Sancho Proudfoot, for it seems that it became the ultimate "babe magnet" for young ladies to approach the determined Savannah, and for Sancho to accumulate names, phone numbers, and measurements.
One afternoon Sancho and Frodo were admiring the memorials to Prissy, Gumbo, Punkin, Peeper, and Lovey, while Mick (the Wonder Dog), Fiona, and Savannah were playing "pee on top of everybody else's pee." Sancho said to Frodo, "You know, you will have to help me when the time comes for Savannah." Frodo looked at the misty eyes of his neighbor and told him that digging the final resting place is a cathartic act. "You make it perfect, you do it with every inch of your strength, you tire yourself in her honour."
Savannah still plays "pee on top of everybody else's pee" with Mick and Fiona, although Mick does not come close (Frodo believes the cart may have bumped into a particularly sensitive part of his anatomy by accident). Savannah ages gracefully, but the gray is all about, and she sleeps a little longer each and every day. Fiona peeks in the open windows to encourage her friend to get up and come out and join in the search for squirrels. Savannah joins the entourage about once a week these hot summer days.
Soon that service will be held, and Frodo will be there for his friend Sancho. They will stand at attention, and honor this gallant life. It is sad only in that we will show a level of respect to Savannah that the President of the United States has not given to a single victim of the military actions which he has commanded. Frodo and Sancho, Hobbits though they be, are better men than he.