This one’s about a dog named Stella, a carny named Barney and the woman who sort of adopted them both — a Nashville photographer who motored up to Baltimore last week to carry out Barney’s last wish: that his ashes be spread upon the grave of his mother.
Susan Adcock became enamored with carnival workers more than a decade ago, and continued to count them as her friends long after she completed a newspaper assignment documenting their lives in photos. A highly compassionate sort, she helped them through troubles and sometimes even gave them shelter in her own home.
Among those she befriended was Barney, a down on his luck, hard drinking sort from Baltimore who she met while taking carnival photos. Barney, for a while, had a job as Barney, the dinosaur. He’d put on his purple dinosaur outfit and delight when the audience cheered and called his name, which was actually his name.
When Barney died, it was Susan who saw to it that he was cremated, in accordance with his wishes, Susan who took possession of his ashes, and Susan who cleaned out his apartment.
“I packed up his apartment over the weekend and by Monday afternoon, twelve years of hard living evaporated into space,” she wrote on Pitcherlady.com, one of her blogs. “People that hadn’t seen Barney in forever stopped by to say how sorry they were. They asked for things and I didn’t mind them asking. Most of them loved Barney too. Just not enough to stop by and help him get to the bathroom when he needed it …”
The next day, she took the Baltimore native’s ashes back to her house in Nashville, and found some comfort in having them around.
“Often you have three days or so to say goodbye and then that person in in the ground under a stone. This experience taught me that being able to take the remains of the deceased home with you is much more bearable. I knew in my head that Barney was gone but I was able to sit the box on my kitchen table and we hung out all summer together. That was a gift. My grief was tempered by having him around.”
As summer wound down, Susan planned the trip to Baltimore. Barney wanted to be “returned to the arms of his mother.” She died in 1978. This week, Susan drove to Baltimore with her dog Stella in the back seat, and Barney’s boxed ashes in the front. She took the ashes to a cemetery on Eastern Avenue, where she me Barney’s daughters, and a grandson he had never met.
“Their pictures used to be stuck on the side of his refrigerator with magnets and he told me once that he wanted them there so he could see them from his bed whenever he looked up. He used to tell them goodnight before he went to sleep, ’like the Waltons,’ he said.”
Barney was a big fan of TV, and, for 12 years, never turned off the one in his apartment. “I remembered Barney saying once that wherever he ended up, they better have cable,” Susan wrote.
Once Susan accomplished her mission and the ashes were spread, she — along with Stella, a pit bull also adopted from the carnival — saw a little of Baltimore. She visited Edgar Allan Poe’s house, they took a ride in a water taxi, and she went in search of crab cakes — finding none below $20. That’s when she wrote me.
A regular reader and commenter on ohmidog!, Susan knew Ace and I were on the road, and didn’t know we were back in Baltimore for a bit. Long story short, as they say, we emailed back and forth, talked on the phone, met with our dogs in Riverside Park, and went to Captain Larry’s for crabcakes.
Susan, though she has a degree in psychology, decided to become a full-time photographer almost 20 years ago. You can see her work on her blogs, including pitcherlady and carnydog, which centers on Stella, the pit bull she adopted two years ago. Stella belonged to some carnival workers and was three months old when Susan took her in. By then, she — Stella — had already been to four state fairs and a variety of other spots throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
Knowing how hard carnival life can be, on dogs and people, Susan volunteered to adopt her and the owners agreed.
Stella and Susan left Baltimore Thursday, headed for a visit to the beach before going back to Nashville. We wish them safe travels, and count ourselves lucky to have met someone so compassionate, so talented and so aware that not every creature in need of rescue has four legs.
(Photos: Barney photo by Susan Adcock; Stella photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, ashes, baltimore, barney, blogs, carnival, carnival life, carny, carnydog, carnys, cemetery, compassion, cremated, dog's country, dogs, last wishes, pets, photographs, photography, pit bull, pitcherlady, remains, road trip, stella, susan adcock, travels with ace, workers, writing
Gucci, the dog who helped make animal abuse a felony in Alabama, died Wednesday.
Doug James — Gucci’s rescuer and owner — said he made the difficult decision to euthanize the dog, who recently turned 16.
“I had dreaded it, and put if off for two or three days,” James, who lives in Mobile told the Times Daily. “His kidneys were failing him.”
James caught some youths torturing the chow-husky mix one night in 1994. The youths hanged the dog by his neck and set him on fire.
The incident triggered a campaign for animal rights that resulted in the Pet Protection Act, better known as the “Gucci Law,” in Alabama.
The act , making animal cruelty a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, was signed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman on May 19, 2000 – the sixth anniversary of the attack – as Gucci looked on.
Gucci’s celebrity continued after that, with appearances at schools, on ”The Maury Povich Show” and “Inside Edition.” He also played played “Sandy” in Mobile theatrical productions of “Little Orphan Annie.”
The dog was only 12 weeks old when he was beaten, hung in a tree by his neck, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Two of the three abusers received sentences of community service, while a third — the lone adult — was sentenced to six months in jail.
“If ever there was a dog that should hate people it should be Gucci, but he loved everyone,” said Brenda Cashdollar, vice president of Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Cashdollar told Al.com that Gucci was unable to walk by the time of his 15th birthday, but still wagged his tail in response to those who greeted him. A party planned to mark his 16th birthday Saturday at B&B Pet Stop in Mobile will now serve as a memorial event, organizers said.
Gucci will be cremated, James said, and his ashes will be placed in a memorial garden planned at the Mobile Animal Shelter.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, alabama, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animals, chow, cremated, dead, death, died, dogs, doug james, euthanized, felony, gucci, gucci law, hung, husky, memorial, mix, mobile, mobile animal shelter, mutt, news, ohmidog!, pet protection act, pets, set on fire, tortured
Reports of Casey Johnson’s funeral have been greatly exaggerated.
Both TMZ and RadarOnline reported the heiress was buried Sunday — without her dog Zoe, who is reportedly still alive.
Now, still more celebrity-centric websites are reporting that information was erroneous. No funeral has taken place.
Nicky Hilton and Bijou Phillips, Johnson’s lifelong friends, went to the home Johnson shared with Tila Tequila last week to pick up Johnson’s two dogs, Zoe and Elvis.
Johnson before her death had expressed her wishes to be buried with Zoe’s cremated remains, and Tequila insisted there were plans to put the dog asleep so that it could be buried with the Johnson & Johnson heiress.
Spokesmen for the family have denied the claim.
The whole thing — too many celebrities, too much drama, too many lies, too many abbreviations and all the shabby reporting – is giving OMD a headache.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bijou phillips, burial, buried, bury, casey johnson, celebrities, celebrity, cremated, dogs, elvis, erroneous, error, euthanized, funeral, nicky hilton, put to sleep, radar online, tila tequila, tmz, zoe, zoey
The drummer for the rock band My Chemical Romance is suing a dog trainer after the musician’s German shepherd mix died in the trainer’s care – and was returned to him in the form of cremated remains, according to court papers.
In a lawsuit filed in Burbank Superior Court against “dog trainer to the stars” Daniel Schaffer, Bob Bryar alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“I don’t even know what happened to my best friend and miss her more than anything in the world,” Bryar told People magazine. “The devastation I feel is beyond words.” In the lawsuit, Bryar’s dog, Dixie, is described as “the most important thing in his life,”
Bryar says he spent $7,500 in April to send Dixie to Schaffer’s kennel for training to help the emotionally fragile, formerly abused rescue dog adjust to a new dog in the household.
About a week later, after previously telling Bryar that the dog had been “having a blast and partying all day,” Schaffer reported that Dixie was killed when a drunk driver struck the vehicle in which Schaffer was carrying Dixie and other dogs, according to the lawsuit.
Later that evening, “Schaffer called (Bryar) again and informed him that he could not say goodbye to Dixie for she had been ‘cremated due to her condition,’” the lawsuit says. Two days later, the trainer “delivered an urn allegedly containing Dixie’s remains,” the suit says.
After Schaffer failed to produce a police report documenting the crash, he changed his story and said Dixie died in her sleep, then changed that story to say she died under other circumstances, the suit says.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bob bryar, burbank, california, care, cremated, daniel schaffer, death, died, dixie, dog, drummer, german shepherd, lawsuit, mix, my chemical romance, trainer, urn