By Karen Gordon

It was 200 degrees outside and the mosquitoes got to their busywork as early as sunrise. Our family was getting moved into our new house, Bossman was at work, LeScoot and his cousin were at day camp and my nephew was helping me with the fun task of packing up boxes of stuff. As in, “stuff” that we should’ve gotten rid of when the big kids moved out years ago. Our new lawn guy was scheduled to lay the foundation for a beautiful backyard garden with the option of a water feature (but probably not…you know…mosquitoes). Upon return from Aiken, our SUV was packed to the gills with stuff, myself, my favorite nephew Jayden, lunch from McDonald’s and Buddy-our 100 pound squirrel-chasing American Bulldog. He’s super optimistic though hugely unsuccessful.

We did our usual thing. We let Buddy out into the backyard and then got down to the business of cheeseburgers. Two minutes later, we heard a fender bender nearby. Not surprised – it’s noisy here. And we live on a pretty busy street, at the crest of a hill that drivers like to take to the Butt Bridge in downtown Augusta. I figured someone pulled out of a driveway and got nicked.

Not so. Buddy lay in the middle of Morgan Road. The car had pulled over several yards downhill. Jay and I dragged Buddy onto the shoulder, while my neighbor across the street watched. Buddy didn’t suffer long.

Many of our family and friends were very supportive throughout and we continued to make adjustments. Over the next several months, many experienced losses of their fur babies either to age, illness or accident. My son Malcolm, my girlfriend Ingrid and even my nephew Jayden.

It’s tough to grieve the loss of a pet, when people are so quick to say “Yeah, but it’s JUST a dog.” Be kind, people!

On to the sunny side. One year ago, this week, Ingrid swung by the Saturday Market to say, “Hi!” She had just left an adoption event at Pet Smart and was still grieving the loss of her Susie. We talked for hours, she made some calls and that afternoon, I was on my way home with a little bundle of joy – Georgia, a six-year old 60 pound American Bulldog mix.

Georgia is the sweetest “giant puppy” and Bossman and LeScoot adore her. She’s well trained and housebroken, insists upon jumping in the car every time Scoot opens the door and cuddling in his lap and she prefers chasing birds to squirrels – ambitious, wouldn’t you say?

Thanks to Ingrid, Steve Gray (Georgia’s foster parent), Molly’s Militia and all of the groups in the community that are working to keep our pet population safe and healthy.

Mommy: Ok, Scoot, time for your bath!

(10 minutes later)

@SayWhatScooter: Mom! Guess what?! Georgia gave me a bath so now I only have to wash my other parts!

Karen Gordon is a singer, songwriter and the founder of Garden City Jazz. She works with the City of Augusta to present the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series each year and has partnered with RCBOE to develop interactive courses such as Taking Notes: Jazz & The American Story and Jazz4Kids.

This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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