I was just a pup when I met Andy for the first time.
I couldn't see his face, but I sure could 'see' his love!
Mama Karen's sun set and rose with her boy!
He was special - not only to his mom, but to all of us. Ambrr - the lab who THINKS she's the 'nana-dog' around here - says Andy was REALLY special - to the whole world! I think she's right - and he made us each feel pretty special in return.
I remember ONE of the toughest times in MY life was when I had to go to school!
Now, you know how that 'first day of school' goes for most of us...we're a little bit shy and a little bit anxious...and a whole lot scared!
That's how I felt when I went to Puppy School at a place called PetSmart - right here in Beaufort (Beafort County), South Carolina. Beaufort wasn't as big then - and it's not real big now either - so we sort of knew just about everyone there. But it was still a little scary for me.
And there weren't just PUPS there - there were older dogs and even OLDER dogs! And there were PEOPLE - yep - Human Beings! Having that many humans in one building only made me the more nervous. You never know what they'll do next!
Some of these humans had voices that were soft and gentle. Some had sort of deep and rhaspy voices. There were loud voices and some even LOUDER! I think most humans assume we can't hear - because they sure don't hesitate to shout!
It's those loudest voices that frighten me the most. Yep - this school-thing was going to take some getting used to!
I loved my teacher! Now HER voice is one of those voices a pup never forgets! I remember it even now, and every time I visit PetSmart - my School - I listen for her voice - and when I hear it - I'm busting bones to get to her!
That's how much I love my teacher!
I worked really hard to do my best at school - and I guess I did 'ok' since I got to have a party after 'Graduating' - with cake and ICING and treats only the best pups get! My teacher says I was the VERY FIRST GRADUATE from that school! I learned everything faster than the other pups and dogs - and my name and picture are in the PetSmart Puppy School Book (so I've been told).
Andy was at my party. He was so proud of me! He hugged me and kissed on me and patted and petted me all during my party. I think he knew that he was one of the reasons I did so well at school. You see - he and I had some talks.
I don't think I ever told mom, but sometimes when I really didn't want to go to school, Andy would tell me that, by going to school, I was setting the bar high for all the pups who followed me! THEY would try harder if I did well - and they would look at me as some sort of 'shining star'...an example of how well THEY could do too!
I told Andy that, somtimes, I got nervous. I couldn't see - and all the other pups and dogs in class COULD see. Sometimes that made me worry about how I was looking or if they were watching me. Andy would put his hand on my head and gently stroke my fur while he comforted my fears. He told me that it really didn't matter HOW I saw things. I didn't HAVE to 'see' how the other dogs saw - I only had to 'see' how I saw. He told me - no matter what else happened in life - I could shine with the best of them!
That made me feel pretty darn good - and made me feel a LITTEL bit better about heading out the door for PetSmart. All the time I was learning even the hardest things, I tried to keep Andy's words in my head. It helped. Just knowing that he was behind me and believed in me was more than enough reason to keep trying.
That was a long time ago.
The school's still there - so if you ever get to Beaufort, South Carolina - you should drop in and see it! My teacher might not be there - but maybe they'll still have the Graduation Book handy and you can look up my picture and see just how adorable I was as a little pup!
(I haven't changed that much - I'm still adorable!)
They still hold classes at PetSmart - but I'm sure none of the 'class' is as smart as THIS pup! I set that bar high - just as Andy told me I would! I almost feel sorry for all the pups that followed me - I created quite a challenge for them to meet! I guess I'm a tad bit proud of myself - ok - maybe more than a tad!
I'm glad I went to school. I'm glad Andy talked me into finishing. I'm happy to be able to do what I can to encourage others to do well too. And I sure am glad I met my teacher!! I can relive the moments any time I want - just by remembering them. Gotta say - they bring some smiles to this face!
When we lost Andy, I knew there wasn't much else could ever happen in this life that could be worse. Boy-oh-boy! That's a tough pill to swallow...losing someone you love.
It was November 5th, 2004 - but it seems like yesterday sometimes still.
I remember it all too well - and it still hurts...it hurts us all - especially Mama Karen. Yep - her boy was her LIFE - he was her REASON - her MOTIVATION and her RISING of HER SUN! Sometimes things hurt too much for even humans to put into words. This is one of those times for Mama Karen. Guess it always will be.
When I get really down though - I remember the things that Andy and I did together and all the things he taught me. One thing Andy taught me though was that LIFE was something to bark about! To celebrate! To howl at the moon over! LIVING life was a matter of believing in something enough to work hard at it.
That's how Andy lived his life. He worked to make it the best he could do - whatever it took - whatever the challenges - whatever the difficulty.
I guess when Andy was about 13, he decided he wanted to write. He didn't just want to WRITE - but he wanted to write something BIG! So - he did! He wrote a poem called 'The Promise' - about a line of marching soldiers during the Civil War. He doesn't tell whether they were from the North or the South - just talks about THEM - the soldiers who believed in what they were fighting for - and dying for. That was it. AND IT WAS PUBLISHED! He was 13 years old! Can you believe it!
He wanted to play the viola -so - he DID!
There weren't any Viola teachers in Beaufort at the time, so....he just taught himself! And he did a pretty good job too because he ended up getting all sorts of awards and things AND was featured at orchestra performances downtown!
He wanted to paint - so - he DID!
He just PAINTED! Didn't matter what - didn't matter WITH what! Acrylics, oils - charcoal even - didn't matter as long as he was creating something. And he was pretty darn good at that too! He had articles written about him - displayed his art at art shows - WON PRIZES - and was even featured on the South Carolina calender one year! Ambrr (our Nana-dog) tells me that there's all sorts of his artwork all over the house - especially in mom's bedroom where every wall is decorated with at least one of Andy's paintings. He even painted one picture of his Grandpap Anderson - and Ambrr says it looks just exactly like him!
Andy wasn't satisfied with playing Viola or painting though.
He wanted to re-live the Civil War - so - he DID!
He joined a re-enactment regiment - the New York 48th - (part of the UNION) and proceeded to live the life of the Civil War soldier. And he loved it! He even carried an old musket like they used back then! AND he had to learn to do all the stuff like soldiers did then - even eating jerky and coffee beans! Doesn't sound so good to ME, but Andy loved it! Mama Karen had to go all over the southeastern coast with Andy and the 48th - and she loved it too. Guess that's a good thing!
Was he done though? Nope!
He wanted to make a difference - to save lives. So - he DID!
He loved every kind of animal on earth - and had several different kinds as pets over the years. He didn't just like to watch them - or pet them - but he CARED for them...for us. WE were another one of Andy's passions - and Andy was PASSIONATE! He even loved CATs! I'm serious! That might well have been the only thing I couldn't quite understand about Andy - his love for a CAT! He had a black cat named Starr most of his life - and he loved that cat more than I love....doggie treats!
And that's a lot of love!
Because Andy DID so much - he is MISSED by so many people! People who knew his music - knew his art and his writing and his passion about the Civil War. And people also knew he loved us animals. Mama Karen and Andy both worked with rescue groups - they fostered, bottle-fed, adopted and loved pups, kittens...you name it! So the rescue people also missed Andy.
After Andy left us, things started happening all around us. First, there were the donations given to Aussie groups in his name. Then there was the cat refuge named after him - Andy's Sanctuary. Then some Websites sprung up honoring his memory and life. And then there was money sent to Mason County, West Virginia for an animal shelter that had burned down. And there were dollars sent to Mason to help with the rebuilding of the shelter. Yep, things were happening all the time, it seemed. It was hard to keep up with - and it still is! There's still all sorts of things being done for all sorts of animals in Andy's name. It's pretty awesome, if you ask THIS pup!
LWARC (Lethal White Aussie Rescue Carolinas) was started in Andy's name and memory by none other than Mama Karen! And oh - does mom work hard for LWARC! She gets others to work hard too - and gets people to join from all over the country! LWARC sets up booths (I go and help out whenever I can), explaining why there are pups like me - 'Lethal White Australian Shepherds' and how PEOPLE are responsible for causing lots and lots of puppies to be born every year who are either deaf, blind, deaf AND blind - or just blind (like me).
I can't help but be proud of Andy - and everything he did and is doing for others!
When I think about all the good that Andy's life has done - I have to believe that he's still working his wonders around here - and not only in Beaufort, South Carolina either!He's still saving lives - and he's still encouraging others to do their best - and he's still somehow teaching us all that - no matter what else ever happens in life - we can each shine with the best of them!
We shouldn't worry about how others do it - we just gotta do it OUR way!
Andy's shining today! Through the pleas by Mama Karen to do these acts of love in Andy's name - and by the many, many other lives he's already touched. His magic just keeps happening around here! It's pretty darn awesome if you ask me!
So - do YOU want to do something special with YOUR time?
How much easier can it get than to....love!
Love more than I love my treats - show your love today by visiting your local animal shelter or DOG POUND. Visit the pups (and even the cats) that are living in cages with no one to pet or pat or scratch or run fingers through their fur. Visit an animal, and then check into making that animal a part of your family - in your home!
You know - these dogs that end up at the POUNDS aren't strangers to PEOPLE! They used to live in houses with them! They used to believe in people and love them and bend over backwards for them - they busted THEIR bones to get to be next to them...at some point. Then something happened - maybe something as simple as a pup growing up! Maybe they aren't the 'right color' or the 'right size' or something. Whatever the reason - they are living out their lives IN A CAGE!
Now, pups like ME are even a stranger story! Pups with 'special needs' don't really NEED much special treatment - just a little understanding and patience! Some of us can hear - some of us can't. Some of us can see - others can't. Some can't see OR hear. But - like those dogs in THE POUND - it's not OUR fault. Heck - we don't even KNOW! I thought all pups 'saw' through blind eyes until Ambrr explained it all to me. Just remember - I did what every other dog - NORMAL DOG - did: I graduated from PetSmart Puppy School - BUT....I WAS FIRST!!!!
OK...ok...I got off topic! Just do something NICE - visit a shelter. Visit a pet! FOSTER! ADOPT! Show an animal how much you care! OR - donate things like blankets and wash cloths and shampoos and other items (LIKE TOYS) to the animals who live there IN THE CAGES! So MAYBE you DON'T have to actually take in a dog to save its life. It would be GREAT - but some folks just can't do it. If you're one of those people who love animals but can't take one to live with you, just send a donation to your local shelter or rescue!
And, when you DO send your donation, don't forget to write in the 'memo part of the check that you're giving in the memory of ANDREW KEITH ANDERSON. It doesn't matter that the people who work at your local shelter don't know Andy - or Mama Karen. It's just MY suggestion. Give them this website address too so they can learn about US and about ANDY! Drop us a line on the Guest Book page letting us know where you donated and that you did it in Andy's name OR email us. The address is here.
Andy will always be a part of my life.
He left behind a legacy. Andy set HIS bar just a little higher - and challenged others to follow. I'm proud of him!
I still remember his voice and call upon him many times when things are tough.
I will always remember Andy - and when I do - I hear and 'see' his love.
And I gotta say - it brings a little bit of a smile to the face of THIS pup!
by: allicks anderson