She came into our lives on Christmas of 1996. Santa sent her, we told the kids.
Santa was my friend T.Bass, who was house-sitting for us that Christmas and brought Blackie up from a shelter in Sumter County, Georgia, where he lived. She was 18 months old, the shelter said. Maybe. But shelters have a habit with adult animals. They cut their age to whatever seems acceptable. No one wants an old dog.
Blackie was sad. Blackie had been abused. She was frightened all the time, would cower and drop to pee if you came in too close or too fast. She hid in a corner. She had heartworms. She had them bad. She was in the vet hospital twice before they were gone.