As all successful couples understand, the key to happiness is mastering the art of communication. When facing a Big Decision — like whether or not to foster shelter dogs, for example — the successful couple will sit down with flexible minds and full hearts, outlining all of the issues in neat and revealing columns, so that each point can be thoughtfully and compassionately considered and, if necessary, debated until compromises can be forged and a decision is reached.

In a case that stunned Western North Carolina residents last November, 137 dogs were found being kept in varying states of neglect on a property outside the town of Canton. 

Essays and columns are difficult to categorize. Dividing them into the formal and informal is about all anyone can agree upon, if that. In retrospect, I can see that this one is a fine example of a type within the informal category I think of as the “ramblin’ disquisition;” in other words, it doesn’t  have a central theme (except that, for the most part, it’s about birds); and it wanders around … here and there … getting nowhere much until it ends of its own volition. You’ll see what I mean.

After serving as an ad-hoc temporary animal shelter, the old Lea Industries building on Lea Plant Road in Hazelwood is once again empty and silent. 

Two small animal shelters in Western North Carolina have made national news this week as they’ve opened up their facilities to 11 dogs rescued from an illegal backyard dog meat farm in South Korea.

fr dogsrunningBear hunters on the Qualla Boundary may be able to run their dogs through tribal reserve land for a full half year following contentious discussion and a divided vote in Cherokee Tribal Council this month. 

Saving Preacher

pets preacherIt was a chilly pre-spring day when Olivia Hickman ventured to the Waynesville Recreation Park, looking for nothing more than an hour or so of play with her 2-year-old son on the wooden jungle gym. But a dog lying on the outskirts of the area soon became the center of attention.

fr dukesDriven crazy by the barking dogs of neighbors, Judy West says she is pulling up her life-long stakes in Haywood County and abandoning her farm, but not without sounding a warning to her fellow county residents: it could happen to you one day, too.

fr dogparkMountain dog owners may have started hearing rumor of a devastating canine flu strain coming their way, but according to area veterinarians there’s no cause for hysteria.

out frStepping into Kirk Wall’s custom-carpentered, immaculately decorated mountaintop home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d knocked on the wrong door. Hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, breakable horse figurines and pieces of pottery — not to mention, only trace amounts of dog hair — made it hard to believe that this place could be home to six large dogs.

But a sing-song howling had greeted me the moment Wall opened the door, and a glimpse into his first-floor bedroom revealed a row of six large dog crates bordering the wall opposite his bed. This had to be the right place.

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