Lacy J. Dalton
Gives animals a voice this Christmas...
By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
He was just a little puppy so full of life when the human took him in their vehicle. He loved that ride, it was so fascinating to him to see the world go whizzing by. Then they stopped and the human grabbed him around his belly and brought him into this place.
“They’ll find you a good home here, pup.” said the human.
Home? He thought. I thought that I already had a home with this human? His little tail, that was wagging so much, suddenly stopped as he realized his demise.
The human handed him over to the girl behind the counter and then turned around and left. The girl had a gentle touch to her and he liked that.
“We’ll find you a good home. What’s your name little fellow?”
Name? He didn’t have a name, he thought. He looked up at the woman who was holding him with his little hazel eyes. Name? I wonder what they will call me?
The next thirty minutes felt like hours of complete torture, especially for a scared little pup like him. The woman whom he greeted when he first arrived had handed him over to someone else. This woman was dressed in a white coat and had a gentle touch, until he felt a little pain. He was given shots, had his blood drawn, nails clipped and more. The bath was fun though!
“We need to give him a name…” said one of the women.
“Well, he looks like a Carl… how about Carl?” asked the other.
Carl… he liked that. He liked it so much that his tail began to wag ferociously and passionately to the point that his little behind was moving back and forth with his tail. He agreed with the women as he covered their faces with licks of his tongue.
With a fresh bath and a new name, he was led to a room filled with other dogs. He didn’t know how many other dogs were there, he just knew there were a lot of them. There was small ones, large ones, old ones and young ones like him.
They had led him to a small cage and gave him some food, water and a blanket to lie down on. He was happy with the arrangements, but more so he was happier that they were going to find him a home. His forever home.
As the days quickly passed by, he got into the routine of the shelter. Twice a day he was given fresh food and water. Once a day he was let out to run, while someone cleaned his ‘home.’
Each day, he saw various humans come in and look him and the other dogs over. Almost daily, one or two dogs were ‘adopted.’ He didn’t know the word ‘adopted,’ but he knew that those dogs never returned.
Once a month, the people here would take several dogs out of their cages and take them into another room. He never knew what happened to those dogs as they never returned. He just knew that no other dog talked about that ‘other’ room.
As the days progressed, he found that he was getting bigger and bigger. One day one of the girls gave him a rubber ball to play with and he loved it! He spent his hours sleeping, playing and eating. At night when the ‘workers’ left for the day, Carl and all the other dogs would lie comfortably on their blankets and talk with each other.
Over the weeks, he had met so many great dogs. In time, those dogs would leave with their new humans. Each time a human would walk in to where Carl was, he would sit up straight. He learned to wag his tail and not to jump on the front of the cage, because humans hated that. Each day he would try and perfect his manner, just so he could get adopted.
I wonder what is wrong with me, he would ask himself after each human would choose another dog. Oh, he was happy for them but he just wanted to be adopted and loved as well.
Sure the girls at the shelter loved him so and he loved them too. But he knew his time was coming soon. He had over heard two of the workers talking about him…
“He’s been here a year already and no one wants him… It’s going to be sad, but we’ll have to euthanize him if no one comes for him.”
“Isn’t there anyone who we can call?”
“Can anyone help him?”
The girls began to cry as they looked helplessly at Carl. With his sad puppy eyes, he just looked up at them. He understood what they were saying as his demise was clearly spelled out to him...
“I was nine hundred miles away from home, going to Montana...I was on my way to do, to play a show.” shares Country Music legend Lacy J. Dalton. “I get a call from my friend Gina, she said ‘Lacy, oh Lacy...you have to help me!’ I said what’s going on Gina? She said ‘Well, you know my daughter is in dog rescue and she is just frantic! She’s gonna lose her mind! There is a dog in the Burbank pound; he’s been there since he was a little puppy. He’s only a year old...and everybody at the pound loves him and they all have six dogs at home and nobody can take any more animals and they’re gonna euthanize Carl. And he’s only a year old and my daughter is so upset! Could you...is there anyway you could take this dog?’ And I said ‘Gina, I’m nine hundred miles away from home and further more, I know dogs. If this dog has been in the pound his entire life, he does not know—let’s go outside to do this. He does not know—come here. He probably doesn’t know—sit down. He probably knows nothing. I’ve got three other rescue dogs at home and I am not there to introduce him to them; I don’t know how they’d get along. What type of dog is he?’ ‘Well he’s pit bull and mastiff we think.’ ‘Really. So he’s not a little dog.’ ‘No I think he’s about ninety-five pounds.’ I said ‘Gina I really don’t think I can take this…’ ‘Oh Lacy, you have to help me! Can you think of someone, or anyone who has room who could take a dog like this?’ I said ‘Oh Gina, I’ll think about it. I’ll see what I can come up with...but you know I’m nine hundred miles away from home and I’d have to introduce him...I just can’t do this.’
“So the next morning about six o’clock—you understand I’m on the road going some place to do a show and you need your rest. You don’t get in until 11:30 or 12:00 at night and it’s six o’clock in the morning. Your probably awake, but you are not ready to deal with anything.” shares Lacy. “Gina is on the phone hysterical ‘Lacy, Lacy… he’s got twenty minutes, he’s got twenty minutes and he’s Carl the dog! And he’s only got twenty minutes...oh Lacy please you have to do something! Please help us save him! My daughter’s losing her mind!’ I said ‘Okay, here’s the deal...I’m not home and I won’t be home for four - five days. So someone is going to have to take care of this dog, until I can get back there and introduce him to my dogs; to make sure there’s no trouble and to make sure that he is dealt with.’ So I get home and they bring Carl over and Carl becomes of course a member of my family. Because he’s Carl the dog!”
Lacy J. Dalton, best known for her beautiful raspy vocals, is no stranger to rescuing animals. Her Nevada ranch is appropriately named Six Dog Ranch which houses various rescued animals including dogs and horses.
In April 1999, Ms. Dalton started a non-profit organization called the Let ‘Em Run Foundation. It’s mission is to: “serve as an educational, fund-raising and public relations entity, through its own efforts and in assisting similar non-profit organizations, to save, preserve, protect and maintain the wild horse, astray horse, and mustang population of Nevada and other species of endangered or mistreated animals. To accomplish its goals by means of educational seminars, entertainment appearances, musical recordings, special events, and public and media appearances. To provide or assist in fencing, veterinary care, relocation, protection, and improvement in habitat, adoption programs, and other projects to further its goals. To do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.”
Lacy started the foundation after witnessing too many wild horses dead along the road, that were killed by vehicles near her Nevada home. You can read more about the foundation on their website at: http://www.letemrun.org/
Carl’s story does not end with him being saved from his emanant demise, by Ms. Dalton. In fact, Carl is now immortalized through a song recently written and recorded by Lacy called “Carl, The Christmas Dog.”
“Actually, I have lived—sadly—that song.” laughs Ms. Dalton while Carl is lying on the floor at her feet. “He’d been chewing things on a pretty regular basis and I had been disciplining him… you know ut, ut, ut… no, no… bad dog, bad dog...no! I said NO!”
Carl just sat up and looked at Lacy like ‘mom are you talking about me.
“We’re talking about you Carl!” laughs Lacy as Carl drools on her chair. In the background a warm fire is lit in the fireplace and Carl is sitting at her feet. “He just wants some love, he’s a very loving dog… he wasn’t chewing, but he got to the point that he knew that he shouldn’t be chewing and he would have the mind to kind of cower if he’d done something, or curl up into a ball and look helpless when he chewed something he wasn’t suppose to chew. We were at the point where we thought that we could leave him for a few hours. We did leave him for a few hours a time and again. Sometimes he’d chew, but mostly he didn’t.
“Well, we were invited to this fabulous Christmas brunch, my friend cooks—she’s amazing! She’s a fabulous cook and a fabulous person! So we were all going down to Marie’s place for Christmas brunch. And we said, you know we’re adults. We don’t have to get up at dark-thirty and open presents. We don’t need to do that! We can go have our brunch and then come home and have a leisurely day and open our presents later. So we went to the brunch and when we came back and I walked into the living room… it was a debacle! It was total destruction! We had a foot and a half of fifty-cent sized pieces of all of our Christmas presents!
“And I have to tell you, one of the saddest things was… my son buys me very odd presents sometimes and he had bought me an expensive rubber unicorn mask that fits over your entire head and you look out the eyeballs and it has this unicorn horn…It probably cost him a several hundred dollars because it was a really good unicorn head. Where he thought I was going to wear this, I don’t know.” laughs Ms. Dalton. “Well, the horn was in one corner. One of the eyes was in another corner. There was an ear up on the couch and the rest of it was pretty much shredded. Carl and I had a come to Jesus meeting. Which was a rather lengthy come to Jesus…”
Not only did Carl destroy the presents, he also destroyed the Christmas tree, the lights and even the food. This horrifying event took place on December 25, 2014.
“After it happened we look back on it and we just have to laugh because it was just such a terrible day.” laughs Lacy. “We were only gone about three hours! He must have spent every minute of it chewing and raging. Carl, what he got for Christmas was a come to Jesus meeting and it’s a gift that apparently keeps on giving because we have not had a single episode since then. By that time he really understood what I wanted. He was like on the couch cowering when I walked in the door.”
“Carl The Christmas Dog” is a wonderful ballad that captures this horrifying event in a humorous way. Lacy released the song with a video that portrays much of what went on.
“He [Carl] really is the star of that video. That’s him. He’s a hundred and four pounds; he’s little bit to fat. There’s no living with him now. Now that he’s been a star on YouTube, he’s got this robe. We’ve got to have the robe. He’s got this dish that has to be crystal. There’s no living with him! It’s completely impossible! He just totally diva’d out!” laughs Lacy.
Interesting parties can view the official video on our website at Strictly-Country.com/ and download the single on nearly all digital outlets. 100% of the proceeds will benefit various animal projects including a project that is dear to Ms. Dalton called Cat Land; a tourist destination that is designed to house spayed and neutered feral cats. This destination would give cats a safe and healthy place to live out their lives. On the other hand, it would also give visitors the opportunity to watch the cats from a protected distance. If the project becomes reality, it may also provide live internet feed so people from around the world can watch the cats at play via internet.
No one really knows what was going through Carl’s mind when he created such havoc on Christmas day three years ago. Nonetheless, Carl has learned his lesson.
As he lays next to the fireplace, welcoming the warmth of the roaring fire, he knows that he is one lucky pup. Every once in a great while a smell will prompt his memory of that lonely shelter that he spent his first year of his life in. The woman he calls Mom now, doesn’t understand that he does know how lucky he is. He knows that he was within mere minutes of being ‘put down’ and lost for good.
What his ‘Mom’ doesn’t realize is something that he has known all along. He knew that his ‘Mom,’ the talented singer and songwriter that she is, would create something so fun that will bring joy and laughter to all who hear. For his mischievous actions on Christmas Day was just his way to inspire her to write a song about him.
How did he know? Well, it’s because he’s…
Carl, The Christmas Dog
(This article was printed in the November / December 2017 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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