She was trash. At least that’s how she was treated. She was found wandering a rural Mississippi highway. Beneath the stars.
It was a wonder the girl hadn’t been hit. This was a busy highway. The kind with transfer trucks.
The dog was walking in the center of the road. On the yellow line. Clearly there was something wrong with her. Animals don’t walk open highways. But the black-and-tan dog was moving by feel. Because she is blind.
All she knew was that she liked open highway because the surface was smooth, and there were no obstructions. And when you’re blind, no obstructions is a good thing.
She was a skeleton. Every rib visible. Every spinal disc showed. There were scars all over her, as though she’d been involved in a host of dog fights.
A scar on her face. A scar on her chest. One behind her ear. On her side. Another on her right forelimb.
Probably, she had been caged with other hunting dogs. The dogs were probably mistreated and hungry. Hunger makes dogs mean.
Nobody knows how the blindness happened. But it didn’t take a rocket engineer to figure it out.
“Someone hit this animal with a blunt object,” the veterinarian later said, choking back tears. “Someone beat this poor dog. Maybe with the butt of a rifle. Maybe with rebar.”
People say that dogs use smell above all other senses. That’s a lie. A dog doesn’t use her sense of smell to avoid walking headfirst into walls. A dog doesn’t use smell to detect body language in other animals or humans.
A car stopped on that lonesome highway. A Samaritan picked up the dog. The dog was apprehensive to get into the car, but then, she was so hungry.
The Samaritan placed her into the backseat. The Samaritan took photos of the animal and posted them to Facebook. Nobody claimed the animal. Nobody even commented. Nobody wants a blind dog.
A local hound rescue was called. They bathed her multiple times. The bathwater was almost black each time. They doctored her wounds. They took her to the vet. The vet removed her eye and sewed her eyelids shut.
Not long thereafter a guy heard about this animal through a friend. This guy is a flunky redhead with an overbite and a nose so big he can smell the future. He is not handsome, but he has a weakness for animals. Dogs in particular.
Within hours, the guy and his wife drove to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. They met the dog and her foster mother at a barbecue joint. The dog sat beside the guy while he ate. She pressed her body against his.
He fed most of his pork sandwich to the animal. She ate the meat. He ate the bread.
When it was time to leave, the lady with the animal shelter said, “So do you want to foster her?”
“No,” said the guy, “I want her to be my daughter.” And we haven’t been apart since.
Within the months I’ve had her, she’s gained 14 pounds. She sleeps beside my bed. She travels with me. She has visited 18 U.S. states. Slept in dozens of hotel rooms. She has met a lot of people. And I would even venture to say she’s happy.
At least I hope she is.
Also, I hope the man who hurt her reads these words someday. I hope this man recognizes her photo on Facebook. I hope he realizes that he was wrong about her. She isn’t trash. No way. No how.
Her name is Marigold. And while I’m sad the last face she ever saw was his. I’m thrilled the first face her little eyes will ever see will be God’s.
mccutchen52 - February 6, 2023 1:33 pm
Hope Marigold is doing fine and I hope the same for you. God loves animals and the people who love them.
Cm - February 6, 2023 1:34 pm
Susie - February 6, 2023 1:35 pm
Thank you, Sean, for taking her into your home.
Julie Hall - February 6, 2023 1:36 pm
Sean!!! You and Jamie are the best!!
Glenda Copeland - February 6, 2023 1:37 pm
I love your stories of Marigold. I believe you and she had a divine appointment with each other to bring light to a dark world. I think you both are pretty special, her for being able to trust humans again and you for giving a voice to the voiceless. God bless you both.
Martha Owens - February 6, 2023 1:48 pm
Bless you for loving her. She will be safe and loved with you and Jamie for the rest of her life. Hopefully, the person who hurt her will be repaid in the same way she was hurt!
Jan - February 6, 2023 1:51 pm
Such a sad but beautiful story! Thank you for sharing and for loving !
Bob - February 6, 2023 1:52 pm
Glad you wrote about Marigold.
I’ve been missing her.
Connie Kuhman - February 6, 2023 1:53 pm
The beginning of your story about Marigold always hurts me deep but then I read on and I am filled with joy that Marigold found a mama and a daddy who love her so. I hope that the love y’all give her takes all the bad memories away from her.
Patricia Stanfield - February 6, 2023 1:58 pm
NormaJeanne - February 6, 2023 2:00 pm
I need to stop reading these posts at work. I have a zoom meeting in 5 minutes and the tears are just running down my face. Rock on Marigold!
Linda Hubbard - February 6, 2023 2:03 pm
Oliver Rhett Talbert - February 6, 2023 2:03 pm
The best – of many bests.
Sandy Fopiano - February 6, 2023 2:08 pm
Oh my goodness, Sean — I’m crying and crying. God Bless You and Jamie for taking this precious baby girl to your home and hearts. What a special person you are — blessed by God – to do what you do. I so look forward to seeing your column on FB — have all your books — and hope one day to see your face and meet you. xoxo
Kathy Smith - February 6, 2023 2:13 pm
I love you, Sean Dietrich…once again your sweet words have made me cry…Marigold is a sweet blessing… I loved the video of you playing your banjo & her giving you sweet kisses🥰❤️
Linda Lewis - February 6, 2023 2:13 pm
May God bless you and Marigold. I know she is happy to live in your home and be part of the family.
Bkr - February 6, 2023 2:17 pm
Sue Rhodus - February 6, 2023 2:36 pm
Ok…I am just gonna say it …(forgive me Jamie)
I love Sean Dietrich ❤️
Melaney Douglass - February 6, 2023 2:41 pm
And He will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant Marigold”
Bobbie - February 6, 2023 2:43 pm
I pray every lost and hurt animal finds his own Sean to love him and make up for all the pain he’s suffered. God bless you all. I hope Marigold has a long happy life with you and Jamie ! What a blessing❤️‼️
David Britnell - February 6, 2023 2:47 pm
This story never gets old and brings up a ton of emotions!
Trudy - February 6, 2023 2:55 pm
You and Jamie are angels. Love you both and Marigold.
Suzanne Mitchell - February 6, 2023 2:59 pm
Glenda Robinson - February 6, 2023 3:00 pm
Shed some tears reading this heart touching blog
Ann Thompson - February 6, 2023 3:04 pm
I’m so glad you love her, and she loves you.
Anne Arthur - February 6, 2023 3:17 pm
That’s what is called true love.
Cheryl - February 6, 2023 3:20 pm
Thank you for loving this baby!
Leslie in NC - February 6, 2023 3:25 pm
I’ve followed Marigold’s story since the beginning and I’m so happy she has you to love her for the rest of her days. She deserves every good thing.
Jennifer Bain - February 6, 2023 3:26 pm
I hope you bring Marigold when you come to Trussville in March. I would love to meet her.
Peggy M. Windham - February 6, 2023 3:35 pm
Oh my goodness! I’m crying over this story! You know Sean, I’ll never live long enough to know how people can be so cruel to an animal that will love you so unconditionally! I’m so happy for you and especially Marigold. I’m sad too that the last face she saw was that monsters but I’m thankful to the next one she sees will be God’s! Bless the Good Samaritan who picked her up and bless you for giving her a loving home!🙏💜🐾
courtney - February 6, 2023 3:39 pm
hard to comment on what you wrote—it was perfect. Marigold is in a happy, loving home–what more is there?!!? You touch so many lives….
Allison Hoge - February 6, 2023 3:42 pm
So sorry for your loss and so glad you found each other in the first place. My heart cries for you.
EP Gregg - February 6, 2023 3:44 pm
Diane Mark - February 6, 2023 3:47 pm
What a blessing for both of you❤️
Jan Farris - February 6, 2023 4:02 pm
Omg I am sitting here crying what a sweet story and I Marigold is one LOVED puppy 🐶
Stephanie Brogdon - February 6, 2023 4:02 pm
I love that you call her your daughter! That’s exactly the way we refer to all our fur babies. They are our children. God bless you, Jamie and your daughter Marigold.
SweetOnion - February 6, 2023 4:16 pm
There is a special bond between a rescuer and the rescued. I have little 10 pound girl who was kicked so so hard she needed surgery for two hernias before I could have her. She is now my lap baby and she gives as much love as she gets. I don’t know about her other life, but her life now is pure love and affection.
nan’ suh - February 6, 2023 4:45 pm
Tom Harmon - February 6, 2023 4:53 pm
May our lord bless and keep you real good, funky redhead & co.
Ann Davis - February 6, 2023 5:19 pm
I cried like a baby when I read this. I hate to start the day with crying but I guess they’re good tears – a happy ending – you are such a good man. And I love dogs – and I know that any person who hurts a dog (or any domestic animal) has to be trash.
Linda Moon - February 6, 2023 5:31 pm
My blind cat, Spunky, was a happy cat, even though he sometimes walked into walls. He met God and saw His face when he was 19. Marigold…what a good dog, Sean. And what a good cat Spunky was for me.
Mauldin Carter - February 6, 2023 5:52 pm
Such a great love: a dog has for a man and a man for his dog. The Marigold is now my favorite flower!
Glenda - February 6, 2023 5:53 pm
The lovingly kind actions you and your wife have shown to dear Marigold demonstrate lives touched and moved by God living in your hearts. His love beats in your hearts and runs through your veins … selfless, sacrificial, forgiving, …willing to adopt flaws and all. Marigold is now your own and she has just begun to live a new and changed life under the umbrella of your loving protection with God’s guidance. Now, Marigold has found her forever home wthin the endless love of her adoptive earthly parents. She can grow to be the special dog God intended her to be through a love that deepens with time and lives through eternity.
Carlene La Rue - February 6, 2023 5:54 pm
Thank you angel for saving this precious girl. You are a true angel!
Connie - February 6, 2023 5:54 pm
Crap. I know not to read your column at work. No way to explain the sniffles and red eyes. That sweet baby hit the jackpot with you and Jamie. I know that doesn’t erase her past but what she knows now is pure love.
Jerry Lassiter - February 6, 2023 6:02 pm
Well Sean, you did it again……You made me cry in my coffee this morning……
Lisa Tomas Mills - February 6, 2023 6:11 pm
I’m not crying, you’re crying. Thank you for being a dogatarian. And a humanitarian. It all comes through in your writing.
Give my love to Lanier.
George Robert Leach - February 6, 2023 6:42 pm
janet hedrick - February 6, 2023 6:47 pm
my friend and i adopted a Bait Dog from a dog fighting,ring that was busted. Could not stand so weak, coughed constantly, we were told she was blind but she also had blunt force trama to her face.cant blink or close eyes.. for 5 days she was on fluids couldn’t eat or drink l cleaned and doctored her sore eyes. they are better now but scarred . will always need ointments in them, HW positive. marks allover her body. But now she is the sweetest kindest dog, treating the HWs, there are some very cruel people in this world. Then there is us! thank goodness!
Jean - February 6, 2023 6:47 pm
God has truly blessed us when he sent you! Give Marigold a hug for me.
Pamela Pruitt - February 6, 2023 6:51 pm
We live in between 3 swamps off the coast of SC. A rural area. Hard to build on swamps. There is a long dirt road near me that no one lives on. Mostly pine trees for pulpwood and hunting land. People go down this road at night to do bad things. Drug deals. Dumping old freezers full of food. Throwing out puppies. We have lived on this land for 20 years and I have seen many dogs. Feral, unable to help them or even get near them. The county won’t help unless you’ve already caught them. And then, their help is weeks in the pound or euthanasia.
My husband was coming back from town on a wet cold night in October 2011. He had our 2 dogs in the cab of his truck. They loved to ride to town. He took the long way down that dirt road. Had the window cracked and would say “look” to our rescue hound. She would get so excited. She loved riding through the swamp and looking. He saw something up the road. Right in the middle. Slowed down and there was a black dog. Sitting in the middle of the road in the rain. He had never been able to catch any of the throwaways before, but he stopped and got out. He walked toward her and she waited for him. He picked her up and put her in the bed of the truck. Brought her home to me.
Me, I’m the hard hearted one. I know my limits and 2 dogs was it. This girl was at least 6 mo old according to the vet and weighed 9lbs. She reeked. We bathed her twice, and yes, the water was black. I was a little mad at my husband. He is a transplant patient and shouldn’t have done this or been exposed to her. I knew I would have to call the county in the morning. But while bathing her I realized the county would put her down immediately. She was just too bad off.
She hated the blow dryer. Still does. All 9 lbs of her shivering and whining, but we got her clean and dry. And fed. I have NEVER seen a dog eat like she did. It was like water circling the drain. I never heard her chew. She just kept swallowing until I was afraid she would throw up. And the food level just kept going down. She was eating out of our Cane’ Corso’s bowl. He was a big boy and ferocious looking, but he had a heart as tender as my husband’s. And he let her eat his food.
We got a nasty surprise the next morning. We had put her in our bathroom, and when we checked on her first thing, she’d had explosive diarrhea. Black as tar. God only knows what she had been eating. Bugs, roots, dirt? I got it all cleaned up and took her to the vet. How she was heartworm negative I will never know. I started her on preventative that day and she came back home and made friends with our other 2 dogs. Lulu, the rescue hound, tolerated her, but Rebel, our Corso loved her like a sister. They shared a bed, toys, he even let her stand under him and they would both eat out of the bowl at the same time. She was never trouble or extra work. She loves her pack and she is the sweetest dog ever. She used to hide under our endtable between recliners and peep out and watch the house goings on. She still hasn’t grown out of that.
We have often wondered what made her let my husband pick her up and bring her home. After much discussion over the years we decided it was God. HE knew she needed us, but HE also knew we were gonna need her.
September 2021 we lost both our 2 dogs in the same week. Lulu, we think, had a stroke in the middle of Tuesday night and we found her Wednesday morning. Rebel had been going downhill for a while. He was a mastiff and just short of his 15th birthday. He died that Friday morning. We dug 2 graves that week and cried and cried. But we still had our little throwaway, Tinker. We had named her Tinker because she was so small. Our Tinker now weighs 55lbs. And she was the only thing that got us through Lulu and Rebel’s deaths. I truly believe that God created dogs as the best companion for humans and I look forward to seeing all mine when I get to Heaven.
Kay W - February 6, 2023 6:56 pm
I lost my 14 year old fur baby in February 2021. I began volunteering at the humane society. Kept finding dogs to foster. Kept being told by my boss, “That one’s not your dog.” A year later a 13 year old female was given up. She spent her time staring at the back wall of her kennel. Growled at the other dogs. Went into “fight mode” when we tried to leash her for a walk. Six weeks into her time with us, I told my boss, “I’m taking her home.” Boss said, “Ill do the paperwork.” Took her to the vet and discovered the abuse. Now, I’ve got a sweet older lady in my home who knows she’ll never be abused again. She greets everyone who enters. Loves back scratches and belly rubs. Just like SweetOnion wrote in her post, Foxy’s life is now “pure love and affection.”
Sonya Tuttle - February 6, 2023 7:04 pm
The post by Pamela Pruitt connected equally with your Sean Paul! Your heartfelt story should be a song, or love poem. So happy you know that all dogs go to Heaven.
Ginga Smithfield - February 6, 2023 7:19 pm
Well, Sean, you’ve done it now! You made me cry! No you didn’t! Some sorry, good for nothing, evil thing made me, you, Jamie and worst of all sweet innocent Marigold cry!! Some people just don’t even deserve to be walking around!!!
I don’t know Marigold, but I love her with all my heart. I don’t know you and Jamie, but I love y’all, too. I truly believe Marigold can see you and Jamie. I think she sees y’all with her heart!
Please give your dear Marigold a hug from me and tell her that I love her, too.
I’m sure you’ve had many offers from pet portrait artists to do a picture of Marigold, but just in case you haven’t….. I am a portrait artist, and it would be my honor to do a portrait of Marigold for you and Jamie. No charge. My gift to honor the sweet soul of Marigold. I would just need a really clear close-up picture of her face. It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. That evil thing destroyed Marigold’s vision, but he couldn’t kill her soul. I know your girl’s soul is shinning through.
If you think a portrait of Marigold is something you would be interested in me doing, just email me a picture, and I will do my best. I’m a slow artist, so it would take me a couple of months to finish.
If you and Jamie decide against the portrait for whatever reason, I won’t be offended. I will still love y’all and Marigold!
Ginga Smithfield - February 6, 2023 7:27 pm
Oh, Sean, I just sent you a comment offering to do a portrait of Marigold. However, I see that you already have a beautiful portrait of her. Oh well, if you would like to have another one, the offer still stands.
Jean Tidwell Wilson - February 6, 2023 7:48 pm
Great rescue story! You have a good 💜
Gayle Wilson - February 6, 2023 8:25 pm
Bless you Sean and Jamie. You brought sunshine to Marigold that she can see, even though you can’t see the sunshine she sees. She sees it each time you speak to her, sing to her, play your instruments for her, and when you and Jamie give her the love that she sees in her mind. And the sun shines so brightly that it dulls the horror she faced before both of you came into her life.
Becky - February 6, 2023 8:43 pm
God Bless each and every human with a beating heart who realizes it is our duty to love and protect every person and animal in need. And May those whose heart stopped or never did beat garner their just punishment.
LIN ARNOLD - February 6, 2023 8:58 pm
My husband & I rescued our 1st Husky in December 1992.She was only the first of many to come. We lived on 10+ acres of land that was encased in an electrical hidden fence. At one point, we had 13! But only due to rescuing a pregnant female. All but 2 of those puppies found good homes. We kept the other 2. There were only 2 adults we had to “re-home” … they just didn’t “play well with others”. We made sure they went to single dog homes. So after all these years and so many Huskies, we’re down to 2 now … 1 female named Roxie and 1 male named Alex. We’ve had Roxie since she was 11 months old … she’ll be 16 in April. We’ve had Alex since he was a year old … he turned 14 in September. Sixteen & fourteen are extremely OLD for Huskies. Alex is hanging in there really well for his age. But Roxie … Sweet Roxie … not so well at all. She’s almost blind and almost deaf. Alex “herds” her to where she needs to be. And now she’s got a huge lump on her left front knee. She’s suffering. She has an appointment at the vet tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll bring her home to bury her. I’m a mess. Alex will be lost without her. So will my husband & I. She is such a sweet & gentle soul. Please say a prayer for all 4 of us. We won’t be getting any more pets of any kind. We’re both retired now and money is really tight. Lord, please give me strength.
Debbie g - February 7, 2023 6:30 am
Prayers for y’all ms Arnold you have to love really hard to let go
Even if the dogs can’t come to you. The shelters need y’all to love and help take care of the animals
Maybe a thought
And Sean. You are priceless
Love to all. Please pass it on
Tambra P. Howard - February 6, 2023 9:35 pm
Marigold. . . very appropriate name considering Marigolds represent power, strength, and light that lives inside of a person, or shall we say dog? Would love to know how she got her name?
Tambra P. Howard - February 6, 2023 9:46 pm
Marigold very appropriate name considering. . .Marigolds represent power, strength, and light that lives inside of a person (or shall we say dog?).
Patricia Taylor - February 6, 2023 9:55 pm
Another one that made me cry….Marigold (and I love her name) is so lucky to have you both to love her. But then, as Frank Sinatra once said, “God’s nickname is Lady Luck.” She is one lucky dog and you are both two lucky people! God made a way for Marigold to be taken care of…He loves her too.
Julie - February 6, 2023 10:03 pm
Okay…I cried! You are a saint among men♥️
Karen Snyder - February 6, 2023 10:44 pm
Jenny Walker - February 6, 2023 10:51 pm
Sean Ive loved reading your post for several years now. I went and saw you speak when you came to Pike Road AL. You were fabulous. You friended my niece Laura Jean Bell. That made you family. But I’ve never loved you more than when you drove several hours to give a battered, broken, blind dog a new life. God has a special place in heaven for angels like you and Jamie. And a special place in hell for that cruel monster that had Marigold first. I hope I get to meet her some day.
AlaRedClayGirl - February 6, 2023 10:52 pm
I love a story with a happy ending!
Melissa Brown - February 7, 2023 12:19 am
God Bless you Sean & Jamie for making Marigold your daughter. You are good souls !!!
Debra Penland - February 7, 2023 12:24 am
I love when you talk about Msrigold. She was blessed to find you. I believe you too were blessed to find her. Keep up the wonderful stories.
Mike+Bone - February 7, 2023 12:48 am
There is a deeper darker hotter circle of hell for someone that mistreats old people, children and animals.
Barbara R Martin - February 7, 2023 12:53 am
Karen - February 7, 2023 12:59 am
Marigold is a blessing to you and Jamie and you all are a blessing to her.
Cathy Stevens - February 7, 2023 1:14 am
I’m vulnerable like Marigold was vulnerable. I ugly cry reading this and I’m so happy for her that a kind big-nose redhead loves her.
conniekp - February 7, 2023 2:08 am
denise - February 7, 2023 2:18 am
God bless you.
lesliehanson411hotmailcom - February 7, 2023 3:22 am
Being madly in love with our 3 rescued dogs this column really reached my heart. Marigold is a very lucky girl! God Bless you!
Pubert Earle Bozemann - February 7, 2023 3:25 am
Dear Pone, glad to get a break from the “Highway to Hell!” Thread. It about wore me out. As fir that Ole blind hound of yours, she warn’t trash. She was pure just gold at how good she makes you feel an everybody else just hearing bout it. It’d take a real loser not to like a good dog story. Keep pitching em across the plate Bro!
Pubert Earle Bozemann - February 7, 2023 3:31 am
PS since we’re talking about pets look up “Pinky” on YouTube. Now that’s a loving Cat!
staceypwallace62 - February 7, 2023 3:50 am
God bless you, Sean. Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.
Stacey Wallace - February 7, 2023 3:54 am
God bless you, Sean. Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.
MAM - February 7, 2023 4:25 am
So glad to hear a follow-up on Marigold that she has gained 14 pounds. I’m absolutely sure she’s happy. Thank your for your kindness, Sean. And you are her friend for life.
Mimi Love - February 7, 2023 4:25 am
I had the pleasure of meeting Marigold last November in Decatur, Alabama. We were hoping Sean and Jamie would bring her to the event, and in the middle of Sean’s performance we heard her woof backstage. You could actually see happiness on everyone’s face because we all knew who had said “woof”. We were allowed the privilege of petting and touching her. As my hands stroked her, I could sense her gentle spirit, her loving heart, and her tolerance of all the hands that wanted to touch her. I am grateful to Sean and Jamie for granting me the joy of meeting the beautiful Marigold. Mimi Love
Gwen - February 7, 2023 11:20 am
Here I am….crying again….❤️
Big Daddy Smith - February 7, 2023 1:10 pm
Marigold has her Savior here on Earth too. His name is Sean.
God bless all three of you
Virginia - February 7, 2023 1:31 pm
There’s a special place in heaven for people like you,Sir. Thank you for caring.
Marianne - February 7, 2023 2:39 pm
God bless you, Sean. This one made me cry.
sflouden - February 7, 2023 3:34 pm
You did it once again….tears….thanks Sean for being such a good human.
Judy Hicks - February 7, 2023 8:01 pm
Every single time I read what you write about Marigold my heart just soars! And I cry. God Bless You AND Marigold.
Peggy - February 8, 2023 1:14 am
Grace - February 9, 2023 12:47 am
Sandy - February 9, 2023 3:16 pm
You’re a good person Sean. God bless you.
Cherie - February 9, 2023 6:16 pm
My favorite story of all of your’s.
Catherine - March 17, 2023 1:52 am
I read this one over and over.
Jan - March 21, 2023 9:15 pm
That made me cry , thank you for saving Marigold! Bless you !!