Elvis provided us with great stories. During the following year or so, he sang at the back door for his food, learned to retrieve a ball (not run from it), unlearned some of his survival skills, slept next to the bed (he had a terrible gas problem), claimed the Morris chair, rolled in fish guts, enjoyed rides in my old Cherokee so much he wanted to ride in everyone's car or get aboard their boat. When the neighbor who threatened to call the dog catcher opened the door to her new Mercedes to show off the interior, Elvis checked it out. He had ear infections, came home with the skin scraped from the pads of his feet, stole Halloween decorations, de-tasseled my husband's loafers, jumped into open car windows to nap on back seats, and had a positive reading on his heartworm test. (A definitive test was negative.) The alpha dogs bullied him, the neighbor's cats made him scream with terror, and he needed space to run--when he ran, he was beautiful; when he walked, he was stiff-legged and very slow.
Kind-hearted neighbors who had recently moved to the country adopted him; Elvis rode in my '87 Cherokee to his new home in an adjoining county (a sad trip for me). For seven years he and his buddy, Corky (a beagle with a bad leg), enjoyed an idyllic life on about forty acres. I got reports on his well-being and visited several times. On Saturday Elvis did not come home. On Sunday his family found him under the back deck; they saw a wound on his right hind leg and thought it was a snake bite. The vet said it was a .22; someone shot Elvis and the bullet shattered the bone. He is on antibiotics. If he makes it, his running days are over--he is probably close to ten years old.
I don't believe we'll ever know why he was shot or by whom. I do believe that, if God does not forget one of his sparrows, He surely knows what happens to His hounds.
We now have an SPCA; Elvis was my model for the Christmas cards above (2002 & 2003). I drew them, printed them, and sold them--all money went to the SPCA; I put him on their first T shirt design and he's still on their letterhead. The Lake Country SPCA has dedicated volunteers and little money; many dogs (not all are hunting dogs) and cats are waiting for adoption.