DOLLY & ME

When my husband and I were dating he lived in Bowling Green, KY.   He would make the trip to visit me in Nashville several times a week.  One day he was running late and stopped to call me at the  TN welcome center on I-65 just past the KY border.  While he was there a very skinny, smelly, yellow lab mix came up to his truck wagging her tail.  He has such a big heart, that he could not ignore the fact that she was abandoned and needed his help badly.  He went inside to inquire about her and was told by the staff at the welcome center that she had been there for several days and that they had in fact just called animal control to come for her.   As he walked back out to the parking lot, the animal control truck was arriving. “Dolly” as we later named her was still waiting by Bill’s truck as the dog catcher approached her.  Before he had time to consider the consquences he blurted out “Is it OK if I just take her?” Of course they were eager to oblige, and with a little coaxing and a piece of chicken provided by a bystander she jumped up into the front seat for the ride to Nashville.


DOLLY & ME

DOLLY & ME



Now, at the time,  Bill lived in an apartment complex and I rented a house with a “no pets” policy.  He coached her all the way to my house on looking very pitiful and needy for our first introduction.  Well, believe me, she did not have to try very hard to look pathetic so, naturally, I welcomed her in to my garage and went to the store for a bag of dog food.  As we were dishing out her first meal we noticed she was curling up her lip and showing her teeth.   For just a moment, I thought she was going to growl at us, but then I quickly realized as she was wagging her whole body that she was actually smiling.  Luckily, I was able to persuade my kind landlord to allow me to keep the dog as long as she stayed outside.  We were grateful for their bending the rules so we gladly abided by their terms.   I missed work the next day to take her to the vet for shots and later took her in to be spayed.  Bill and I were married a year later and visited my family often in Columbia and always brought Dolly along.  She loved to run on the farm and was always ready to jump in the old blue Dodge truck that saved her from the dog pound.  The following summer we and our smiling dog moved into our new home here on my childhood farm.  Dolly has got to be the sweetest dog in the world and we can not imagine how anyone could have abandoned her.  We have acquired three more dogs since we moved here – two strays and a basset hound. (There is a sign above our back door that reads “Strays Welcome – Wipe Your Paws”.)  We love them all, but our smiling dog will always hold a special place in our hearts.

She is growing old and feeble and we know she will not be with us for many more years – but she still smiles when she greets us each day or whenever she wants some special attention.  I put much thought into planning and naming my business.  I would think of names as I commuted to Nashville each day, I would go to bed at night thinking about what would be the best name for this art and photography business I had dreamed up.  The next morning when I awakened, it was always “Smiling Dog” that popped into my mind first.   After about six months of debate, I finally gave into it.   After all, everyone loves a smiling dog.  So, there you have it – the long version of how we came up with the name.