Miracle Earl just will not die

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2002

If you haven’t, you definitely should. It’s great.

The gist goes like this &045; Mary Ann and Wanda are best friends. After high school graduation, Mary Ann leaves town, and Wanda marries a man named Earl. Earl proceeds to abuse Wanda until she finally gets a restraining order and files for divorce, after which he beats her so bad, she ends up in intensive care. Mary Ann comes home to her friend in need and they decide, "Earl has to die." They feed him poisoned blackeyed peas, get rid of the body by throwing it in the lake and live happily ever after.

It’s a great song.

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Anyway, in deference to the song, my cousins have named their new dog, Earl.

Earl is a purebred white English bulldog, and he really is pretty. The thing is &045; he’s had a hard life.

My aunt calls him Miracle Earl, because it’s a miracle he’s still alive.

You see, Earl was taken from his mother at five weeks, not the normal six weeks, and it’s been downhill from there.

The first day he was at their house, cute as a little button, he was on the deck and fell about six feet to the ground.

The rest of the afternoon, they would call him and he’d come scooting over (he had little bitty legs) &045; only he’d walk right by them. You see, he had been blinded by the fall.

That night, he began to have seizures. They were up all night with him, and the next morning took him to the veterinarian.

There’s not a vet clinic in McKenzie, Ala., that stays open all night.

The vet said he had a swollen brain from the fall and had to keep him.

My cousin, Anna, said for the next two weeks, everyone was asking about and praying for Earl.

Earl finally got well and they brought him home.

Now my cousins’ yard is a mixture of fishing ponds, a golf course and a pasture. When we were younger, there were just the horses. Then my uncle added the pond and golf course. My uncle is fodder for another column and will make up several chapters of my book, I’m sure.

Back to Earl &045; when they brought him home, my cousins had him in the pasture down by the pond and lo and behold, if the horse didn’t step on him.

He appeared to be all right except for walking funny.

Later that day, he was accidentally run over by a car when a friend tried to back out of the driveway.

At that point, my cousin Todd’s girlfriend broke into hysterics.

They took him to a friend, who Anna said, likes to pretend he’s a vet. The pseudo-vet fashioned a splint for Earl’s broken leg and dislocated hip.

The splint, made from PVC pipe, popsicle sticks and surgical tape, stayed on for about two weeks.

So, Earl walked around, "Step, step, step, draaag; step, step, step, draaag; step, step, step, draaag" for two weeks.

I know, poor Earl. But that’s not all.

When they started taking the tape off of him (it was wrapped around his entire body), they realized he had not been shaved before it was put on, so it took some of his hide as well.

This past weekend was the first time I had ever met Earl. He appears to be OK now, although he’s a little subdued.

I think he’s like that Wile E. Coyote from the cartoon &045; the one that’s always chasing the Road Runner. He’s just waiting for the one-ton ACME weight to fall from the sky on top of his head.

Earl just won’t die.

These days, he’s adopted a kitten. They play together (usually with the kitten’s head completely in Earl’s mouth); they sleep together (side by side, with Earl’s paw covering the kitten which is snuggled up to his side); and they eat together (although Earl has been known to pick the kitten up by the behind and move it away from his food).

Once again, poor Earl. I think they should have named him Lucky.