Despicable (adj.) a lowdown, hit-and-run dog killer
To say that someone or some act is despicable is to use the strongest of language, so it is not a word I use all that often. Granted, I’ve been known to utter that adjective in reference to George W., our compassionate-warrior president, and Dick Cheney, the man George W. seems to be working for, but it is not something that comes out of my mouth with ease.If you look up “despicable” in the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, you quickly realize just how powerful the word is. Following that adjective is a list of 27 synonyms: Contemptible, loathsome, hateful, detestable, reprehensible, abhorrent, abominable, awful, heinous, odious, vile, low, mean, abject, shameful, ignominious, shabby, ignoble, disreputable, discreditable, unworthy, dirty, rotten, lowdown, lousy and beastly.So if someone should refer to you as being a “despicable individual,” rest assured that you are not receiving a compliment. I am focusing on this negative term because of something that happened in Woody Creek a couple of weeks ago.A good friend and a Woody Creek resident, David Steele, who lives on Lower River Road in the Phillip’s Hillside Trailer Park, had his dog run over by some despicable individual who was speeding by the trailer park. The speed limit by the park is 20 mph, a limit ignored by the majority of drivers who use that route. The dog, Hey You, was a 10-month-old white lab mix that David had owned for only a short time. I suppose it goes without saying that the scumbag who killed Hey You didn’t even bother to stop. What infuriates me the most is the fact that it wasn’t David alone who lost a sweet little friend – a bunch of us in Woody Creek shared his grief.David is pretty much a regular for morning coffee and a snack at the Woody Creek Store. He always tied Hey You up in front of the Tavern, a place where she could greet each and every person going into the place, which she did with unabashed joy. So among the Tavern regulars, Hey You had a rather substantial collection of friends. We would sneak her dog treats and always spend at least a little time scratching her ears and telling her how pretty she was, and she returned the affection tenfold. So when the news arrived that David had to put her down because of her injuries, there weren’t many dry eyes in the Tavern.Granted, Pitkin County does have a leash law and technically Hey You should not have been running loose. But none of that excuses hitting a dog (or any other animal) and then just driving off. So our sadness quickly turned to anger, and you most certainly would not have wanted to confront any of Hey You’s friends if you had been driving that car.I apologize if I am about to become maudlin, but I do become foolishly sentimental when it comes to beloved pets. A few years back I had to put down a dear friend of 15 years named Flapjack. My Aunt Marjorie, who lives in Buffalo, Wyo., sent me a clipping from the local paper titled “A good hearted dog.” Written by Mary Hicks, the column is about “ranch dogs,” but any dog lover will understand that it applies to all dogs. Her article follows:”A good hearted dog is a rancher’s best friend, hard working and willing, true blue to the end.”He nips and he bites, he’s canny and lean, he gets the cows moving, but never turns mean.”He runs like the wind and stops on a dime, turns them around most of the time.”He’ll break up the bulls, sniff the nose of a calf, bounce after gophers and make your heart laugh.”He wallows in the snow, rides on the feed sled, never asks you for nothin’ except to be fed.”He rides the four-wheeler like an emblem on back, wherever you go, he follows your track.”If you’re going afoot or riding your horse, he trots every mile, tho’ he tires of course.”In the back of a truck, he stretches and yawns, he’s been waiting since sundown, he’ll still wait at dawn.”He never will leave you, never argues, complains, he sticks by your side through wind and through rain.”He’s loving and loyal, he gives you his all, he sleeps by your side and comes when you call.”The toughest of things … so sad, but it’s true, a cowdog never lives as long as you do.”He gets crippled and old, stone deaf and near blind, but his heart will stay young, ever giving and kind.”So cherish and love him, praise each little feat, pat his humble old heat, his ‘try’ can’t be beat.”Tell him he’s special because in the end, you won’t find another who’ll be such a friend.”Mary Hicks’ little poem may strike some in our sophisticated valley as being a tad mawkish. So be it. In Hey You, Dave and the rest of us lost a delightful little buddy. I have no problem becoming sentimental about that. This is the 322nd article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where speeders and dog killers definitely fall into the despicable category.I do become foolishly sentimental when it comes to beloved pets. A few years back I had to put down a dear friend of 15 years named Flapjack.
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