Folk Alley Blog Story

I think Folk Alley is one of the best produced radio programs out there, and much of that praise goes to Jim Blum, the host. He's truly an amazing person, both on and off the air. You can get a sense of this from his recent post on the Folk Alley blog.

As much as I love music, I also love dogs. I feel for Jim and his loss, but I'm also inspired by his dedication to animals and the life he provides them.

Farewell Josie November 1, 2008 In the spring of 1995, I adopted a lab shepherd puppy through PAWS, an animal welfare organization in Cleveland. I asked WKSU listeners for help in naming her, and I received nearly 300 suggestions. Almost immediately I could tell "Josie" was different. When guests came over she exhibited shyness and exhilaration simultaneously. She wagged her tale furiously, spread her ears straight out and squinted her eyes to where they almost closed. It was her way of sending joy to strangers, just hoping she would be accepted. Of course she always was. Most were on the floor laughing. Josie had other talents. She could catch a grape from 15' away. She adopted her own kitten. She used to pat ME on the head. She modeled for an American Greetings card. Her best talent was that of a counselor. She pulled me through a very sad divorce. She was a traveler. Accompanying me at many bluegrass festivals, we usually went hiking and mountain biking afterward. She summited mountains in 6 states. If there was an old fire tower on top of the peak, she insisted on climbing that too. She followed me on every cross country ski journey. Earlier this year, her 13th, she stopped going on our nightly runs. She limped a bit and struggled to climb stairs. Her bark began to fade; she couldn't hear very well. On Wednesday Oct. 29, I came home around 11 PM. She greeted me, walked over to the carpeted hallway, laid down, and died. It was awful and precious at the same time. At least we got to say goodbye. Josie left me with one wish which I would like to share with you. She loved other dogs which encouraged me to rescue 2 more. Now with Harriet and Kali, I can't imagine having less than three. People look at me strangely when I mention that I have 3 dogs and 7 cats. Today, I think it's strange not to have that many. Songwriter David Wilcox told me once: "It's not what you give up, it's what you get." (I think he was talking about children, but you get the point.) There are overcrowded rescue shelters in every community, including yours, full of Josies, and full of kittens like hers. I hope one (or more) of these companions can bring you as much happiness as I received from my best friend. I buried her in my backyard. Rest in Peace Josie girl. ~ Jim Blum 10/31/08

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