Marigold The Magnificent

To the dog abuser in rural Mississippi. The hound you left chained behind the tire shop is with us now. Her name is Marigold.

You beat Marigold so hard she went totally blind. She’s not even two years old. And you blinded her.

I can’t imagine what she did to make you so mad. She is a gentle dog. Painfully gentle. Plus, she can’t weigh more than twenty-five pounds.

I can only assume that you were not in your right mind.

The doctor said she suffered blunt trauma to the face and skull. I don’t know how you managed that. But you nearly destroyed her. You must be so proud.

She had one eye removed, one eyelid stitched shut. The other eyeball is just for show. It doesn’t work, the iris is bloodred and vacant. But it’s a beautiful eye.

Because, you see, she is a beautiful girl. She is sweeter than Domino sugar. Happier than Christmas morning. And sunnier than summer in Honolulu.

Currently, she’s relearning how to get around. She bumps into furniture, she walks headfirst into walls. She uses her nose to lead her. She is sort of figuring out how to be a dog again.

Being blind is brand new for her. And it’s a full-time job. She is constantly working, constantly trying to map out her new world.

Constantly deciphering new smells. Constantly trying to determine whether a nearby sound is friendly or otherwise.

She walks with a careful gait. Often, she high-steps, like she’s walking through quicksand. Other times she tests every step, like she’s on a tightrope.

She is still relearning how to use stairs. She trips over curbs. She falls over thresholds. She needs help finding her food bowl sometimes. She loves toilet water.

I don’t want you feeling sorry for her. I don’t know if you are capable of such feelings. I just want you to know what you did to her.

You made her afraid. She cowers at booming noises. Probably because she can’t see what’s making the noise. Imagine how scared you would feel if you were living in the midnight darkness. Imagine hearing thunderous booms all around you.

Imagine that you were surrounded by tar blackness, and there were powerful noises approaching from all angles. Imagine you were so scared of noise that you wet yourself and soiled your trousers.

Benign objects, such as, for example, vacuum cleaners, sound like monsters. The sound of a garbage disposal might kill you. That’s the kind of fear I’m talking about. Fear no creature deserves to feel.

I find myself inspecting her wounded eyes. I find myself wishing she could see me.

I wish she knew how much I care about her. I hate that the last image her brain will ever remember is the image of you attempting to smash her head in.

Above all, loneliness terrifies her. She likes to know someone is nearby. All the time. She routinely finds me, touches base, then goes exploring again. Two minutes later, she comes back to find me. She re-touches me with her nose, then leaves exploring again. And so on. She doesn’t want to be alone.

Her black-and-tan coat is like silk. She has a full-throated howl. But it only comes out rarely. She is a purebred coonhound. Her ears are long. Her body is like a pixie. Her muscles are long and lean.

When she gets excited, she will open her mouth and bay. It’s a hoarse sound. A hound sound. Maybe the most lovely song on earth.

It is the sound of her ancestry. For she comes from a proud lineage of scenthounds. She is the quintessential American hunter. She is comely to look at. One of the most arresting dogs I’ve ever seen.

I took her to a public place yesterday. I wish you could have seen what happened.

People kept asking if they could touch her. Lots of people. She was an instant celebrity. Everyone fell in love with Marigold, although she could not see them.

A small crowd actually stood in line to touch her. They all lingered near and waited their turn. Four or five little kids got their pictures made with her.

That’s how incredible this animal is. The animal you tried to break. She is one in a trillion. No, one in an octillion. One in an infinity.

When she falls asleep in my arms, sometimes I weep thinking of how grateful I am to know her. She is, perhaps, one of the bravest creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

And I’m only sad that you didn’t see it.


  1. PMc - September 19, 2022 7:17 am

    Thank you for saving this amazing baby. I say prayers everyday for abused animals and children and it is so wonderful to know she will be cherished. I have heard this saying a long time and I do believe it is true. “There is a SPECIAL place in HELL for people that abuse animals and children.” Thank you Sean 🙏🐕♥️
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  2. Sandi. - September 19, 2022 8:12 am

    Folks who abuse animals of any kind deserve an automatic jail sentence, not less than ten years.

  3. Eve - September 19, 2022 8:25 am

    This made me cry. A lot.

  4. 🇿🇦🇿🇦Norma Den - September 19, 2022 8:37 am

    People who do that to an innocent animal are the scum of the earth. One has to wonder how they treat their human family and others. No punishment good or is it bad, enough for them. To call them animals is an insult to animals. Bless Marigold with a happy future in a loving and happy family.

  5. Melaney Douglass - September 19, 2022 8:58 am

    I love you Marigold.

  6. Peggy M. Windham - September 19, 2022 9:00 am

    Sean, I’m constantly devastated at how cruel people can be to a defenseless animal. I love them so much that it’s beyond my comprehension! I love my girls, Mini Schnauzers, like children, because that’s what they are to me! Thank you for loving our best friends with unconditional love! That’s how they love us! I hate the world is comprised of people like the one who hurt Marigold! I know in my heart that God has a special treat for them come judgment day! Dogs like Marigold are so much better than people!

  7. L j Edwards - September 19, 2022 9:09 am

    This is so beautifully written that I’ve managed to fall in love with Marigold. Thank you for bringing this sweet baby back to life.

  8. Te - September 19, 2022 9:41 am

    My heart is breaking that Marigold felt fear and pain! And joy knowing she is safe and loved and appreciated for the rare beauty she is. Matigold has landed in clover! Was in rescue for decades, and I’ve heard the horror stories. A special hell awaits anyone who abuses an animal! Thank you for being there.

  9. Debbie - September 19, 2022 9:44 am

    What a shameful thing to do. It made my heart feel like it turned over when I read your story and now when I think of Marigold. And such a beautifully fitting name, it “ represents power, strength and light that lives inside”. God loves His creatures and we are instructed in the Bible to care for them, the person who abused Marigold will answer for what he/she did. God bless you Sean, and all others who adopt rescue animals, pick up strays and nurture them with food, shelter and love. God bless the little creatures.

  10. Jackie Reinheimer - September 19, 2022 9:47 am

    How horrific for that sweet creature of God. How wonderful that God led you to her! She may not be able to see you but she feels your deep, powerful love!

  11. Dolores - September 19, 2022 9:50 am

    Dogs see with their hearts and they resiliently forgive. If only more humans had those two traits. I’m so glad Marigold will live life knowing the love she deserved.

  12. Victoria J Thompson - September 19, 2022 10:04 am

    Bless you for rescuing this beautiful girl! As someone once said about Rescue Dogs…Who rescued who?

  13. JUDY E KIRKPATRICK - September 19, 2022 10:12 am

    The sad part is that this kind of thing happens every day. I’m so glad that you have her, and that her spirit isn’t completely broken. I’ve been involved in animal rescue for about 25 years. I could tell you horror stories that would keep you awake at night. There are some images that are still burned into my brain. God bless you.

  14. Cathy M - September 19, 2022 11:35 am

    This was painful to read. I am comforted knowing that Marigold now has you. She may not see you but she feels your love. Your heart is so good. Just one of the things that all of your followers love abt. You. Enjoy the love Marigold

  15. Cate - September 19, 2022 11:46 am

    Just last night on our news there was a story of 3 dogs found in the woods in a crate that had been left to die. No food, no water, nothing. Their fur was mostly gone. The animal welfare people said this happens more than we, the general public know. They are puppy mill owners who, when the dogs are no longer good for breeding, leave them anywhere to die. And the punishment here, if caught, is nine months in jail and a fine. How shameful! As PMc said, there is a special place in Hell for those who abuse animals and children. Too bad they have to wait for their “reward!”

  16. Marcia Starr - September 19, 2022 11:47 am

    I cried. First tears of outrage and deep sadness, then tears of joy and triumph . Only in humans do we experience intentional cruelty. Thank you for rescuing Marigold. She has found unbinding love. She will never see with her eyes, but she “sees” with her heart—She sees you and knows that she has found love and security.
    God Bless

  17. George Hefley - September 19, 2022 11:53 am

    People who commit such terrible acts against animals should be jailed for lengthy sentences and fined adequately to provide care for the animal(s) they abuse.

  18. Becky Oates - September 19, 2022 11:53 am

    Marigold is home, the most beloved 4-letter word I know!! Blessings on you, Jamie and your pack!!

  19. Melissa Norman - September 19, 2022 12:02 pm

    You have such a beautiful spirit!!! Thank you for sharing yourself and your life with us daily. I fell in love with Marigold reading your words in this story. I could smell her hound dog smell and see her coming toward you for reassurance that all was right with the world now. God has changed the path of her life and yours!!! Blessings to all of you.

  20. Diana - September 19, 2022 12:08 pm

    It’s unfathomable that a human could do such a thing to a gentle creature who has nothing but never ending unconditional love. You and Marigold are blessed to have found each other.

  21. Jean Sherrill - September 19, 2022 12:11 pm

    People like that don’t deserve anything good. I hate people who mistreat animals and kids. Maybe one day someone will give him the same treatment. I hope so

    • Barbara - September 22, 2022 5:27 am


  22. Marianne Ball - September 19, 2022 12:33 pm

    I am crying, crying hard and ugly. This really got to me. I cannot understand what would make anyone harm one of God’s creatures, let alone this beautiful, innocent dog. Thank you for finding her and loving her, but most of all, not giving up on her. Unlike you, with your ability to forgive, which I do not have, I do own a blunt object (a Louisville slugger), that I would love to use on the POS that brought pain, fear, and suffering to this sweet girl. Keep the faith, Sean.

  23. Janice Greenwood - September 19, 2022 12:44 pm

    I’m crying now. How can a human treat an animal so cruelly? I pray there is retribution awaiting such people. God bless anyone who takes care of animals. Animals love unconditionally and depend on humans to supply their food and shelter – in return they will love and protect.

  24. Karen Powers - September 19, 2022 12:45 pm

    God bless you Sean and Jamie for finding and caring for this magnificent animal. I know she will get her bearings under your care and have a wonderful life! Thank you!♥️♥️♥️

  25. Deacon Nick - September 19, 2022 12:53 pm

    When we live in a culture that promotes murdering children in the wombs of their mothers, no evil is beyond our species!! Each and every child is utterly unique: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …”. Each hair on our heads is numbered; each soul is given a guardian angel who stands in the presence of Our God. And “YES” Marigold is utterly unique, as God does not repeat Himself. The same God who calls each star by its name and holds all creation together by His power; prayerfully will give each of us a new name in Heaven which only the Lord and ourselves know.

    • Nancy - September 25, 2022 5:31 pm

      Yes, Deacon Nick. Amen! Thank you for sharing.

  26. Karen - September 19, 2022 1:05 pm

    Sean, she is so blessed to be loved by you and Jamie. She will thrive. We adopted our almost 17 year old Pug, Sparky, at age 10. He was not abused but surrendered to a rescue group. Sparky is my Velcro dog also. Their sense of smell to figure out their surroundings is amazing. Marigold is safe and cherished now. 💖💖

  27. bubbastubbs - September 19, 2022 1:09 pm

    God bless you and your wife for taking this poor creature in! Obviously, Marigold is in a much better place today because of y’all! My prayer is that her former “owner” will rot in hell for his abuse of this dog.

  28. Jennifer - September 19, 2022 1:11 pm

    I wish I could take in all the unwanted, abused dogs. I would show them unconditional love which is what they show us. They are God’s most loyal, innocent and wonderful creatures as far as I’m concerned. Animal abusers should be given the same treatment they inflicted on them and then, wellllll, you can use your imagination on what comes next!
    God bless those that take in these precious animals 🙏 ❤️

  29. oldandblessed - September 19, 2022 1:17 pm

    Humans inhumanity to…

  30. Lori West - September 19, 2022 1:25 pm

    There’s a special place in hell for animal abusers. I’m grateful to hear God sent you to her. Blessings to Marigold and to you.

  31. CM - September 19, 2022 1:28 pm

    Be still my heart. we are right there with you about man’s best friends

  32. Joy Voellinger - September 19, 2022 1:32 pm

    God bless you, Sean and Jamie.

  33. mccutchen52 - September 19, 2022 1:47 pm

    I wish I could think of something nice to say but I keep thinking of the “person” that left her to die. Karma will catch up to you with a vengeance and you will know why it was sent.

  34. Gay Faglie - September 19, 2022 1:52 pm

    I work with rescue in Uvalde Tx
    I’m so glad you rescued Marigold.
    Thank you for your kindness. She is so blessed and she knows it I’m sure.
    Hope you and Marigold have a blessed day

  35. Mickie Perkins - September 19, 2022 2:00 pm

    Despite the horrible, cruel acts this baby had to endure, this brought Marigold (possibly a once-in-a-lifetime dog) to you, to enrich your life beyond belief‼️ You will love and appreciate her as no one else could. LOVE will win. ♥️🐾♥️🐾♥️

  36. Melanie - September 19, 2022 2:07 pm

    Big (((hugs))), belly rubs and lots of treats for 🌻🌼Marigold🌼🌻. Now she is where she was meant to be 🧡.

  37. flkatmom - September 19, 2022 2:08 pm

    May Almighty God Bless you & Jamie for your love and compassion to His creatures. I’m praying and asking our Almighty Father to continue to show you both how to help Miss Marigold & asking HIM to intervein & help her to heal emotionally so she will live a long, healthy and well-loved life. Miss Marigold saw the worst in whom ever did this to her. I pray she will be surrounded with people that will restore her little spirit with the very best. If you haven’t already, please anoint her head with oil in God’s mighty name.
    But as for whom ever did this to her, God knows who it was; I pray that person be identified and held responsible for the unimaginable cruelty, so he at least won’t be able to do this again to another of God’s creatures. As for me, I curse him, and hope that person rots alive for what was done. I fear this was not the first time they abused an animal.
    Much, much love to you Sean, Miss Jamie and of course Miss Marigold, I’m looking forward to updates on the milestones she makes. Much ❤ from Orlando!

  38. Cynthia Smith - September 19, 2022 2:32 pm

    So, so tragic. I ask myself what kind of person could do that. I imagine that person was also abused. I hate to think what he endured, assuming it was a he.

  39. Angelyn McCaulla - September 19, 2022 3:37 pm

    Thank you so very much for taking her in and making the rest of her life happy. I will never even try to understand people like her abuser. It is unbearable to think about the terror she went through. Again thank you. Could you post a picture of her?

  40. Gayle - September 19, 2022 3:37 pm

    I don’t understand how anyone could do such a thing to an animal or a human. Again I say, God bless you and Jamie for caring for Marigold and giving her the opportunity to know what real love and life that has goodness in it. I pray with time the scars in her mind will be overcome with the goodness of you and Jamie.

  41. Bill Bangham - September 19, 2022 3:42 pm

    Good on ya, Sean.

  42. Debra - September 19, 2022 3:42 pm

    I wish more people were as kind and loving and forgiving as dogs.

  43. steveleachman - September 19, 2022 3:45 pm

    To hurt an animal for no reason other than to inflict pain is the first sign of a serial killer. It takes a demented mind to do what you described to an animal. There is a special place in Hell for people who abuse defenseless animals.

  44. Patrick Wolfe - September 19, 2022 3:55 pm

    Bless your heart kind person. How much more you are now. May you two shower God’s light each day. a witness to His love.

  45. Irma - September 19, 2022 4:06 pm

    I am so sorry for what Marigold went through and so thankful she is now with you. I don’t like abuse of any kind but it seems there is a lot of it now days. Children, Elderly, Animals. Best I can figure there are a lot of sick people in this world to want to hurt another creature.
    of God’s Creation. Maybe we need to Pray for these people who are caught up in hurting the innocent.

  46. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - September 19, 2022 4:17 pm

    Don’t be sad for that sadistic abuser. Just love that sweet baby. God bless you

  47. pattymack43 - September 19, 2022 4:39 pm

    Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I am so thankful that you found Marigold! May you never meet the person to whom you are writing; I would hate for you to be jailed for murder. Blessings to you and Jaime as you keep Marigold safe and happy.❤️

  48. Bill Henderson - September 19, 2022 4:45 pm

    Scum….pure, unadulterated scum. I will bet you a gold monkey that the tire thug is a Democrat.

    • MissT - September 19, 2022 11:41 pm

      Bill Henderson. . .seriously? I love animals more than most people. That includes you 🤨

  49. JIM MORRIS - September 19, 2022 4:45 pm

    Hey Sean…I am a DOG LOVER…I have two rescues…I cannot imagine why the person who abuses any animal has the right to continue
    breathing my air…I could not finish the post…it truly hurts my heart…where might this asshole be found?…

  50. Christopher Smith - September 19, 2022 5:08 pm

    God Bless you, God Bless Marigold and God Bless all those who rescue and adopt forgotten animals.

  51. Ann - September 19, 2022 5:41 pm

    I hope they got whoever did this to her and arrested him for animal abuse. I am not a violent person but I would like to beat him blind. People like this don’t deserve to live!!

  52. dmgtomlin - September 19, 2022 5:41 pm

    God bless you, and Marigold!❤️❤️🦮

  53. Sue Ellen Jeruzal - September 19, 2022 5:59 pm

    Oh, Sean, your columns always tug at my heart and/or make me think. I will never understand HOW people can be so cruel to animals that only want love and acceptance and I feel there is a deep, deep circle in hell for those people. Thank you sincerely for another blessing of a story!!!!

  54. Pam King - September 19, 2022 6:05 pm

    God bless you…He has already blessed Marigold by bringing you into her life!

  55. Connie Thomas - September 19, 2022 6:17 pm

    The type of person who would be capable of doing those horrible things to an animal (what was done to that precious Marigold), is not capable,nor I suspect ,willing to learn, or understand the term and the emotional aspects of empathy !
    However,those of us who are gifted with empathy and understand others pain as best as possible have been given this precious gift from God!
    As to the Previous ” owner” …I am horrified imaging the kind of life he has had or is currently living to ” need” to be so heartless to a helpless animal. My heart is hurting for both!

  56. David Britnell - September 19, 2022 7:01 pm

    My eyes welled up again!

  57. Pat Deas - September 19, 2022 7:40 pm

    I believe theres a special place in HELL for people who mistreat Animals and Children!

  58. Carol - September 19, 2022 8:07 pm

    Bless you for finding Marigold; She is Blessed for having found you….

  59. Charlie - September 19, 2022 8:16 pm

    If that don’t light your fire your wood is wet. Beautiful article about a beautiful dog.

  60. MAM - September 19, 2022 8:34 pm

    What a blessing you and Jamie are to the lovely Marigold! I, too, hope the brute who did this to her is found and punished, because he/she is also likely to hurt and kill humans. Animal abuse is a first step to more violent behavior. I’m blessed to have neighbors with dogs, as it is no longer safe for us to have one, but I love to pet them and love them. Give Marigold a big hug from this writer.

  61. Linda Moon - September 19, 2022 9:12 pm

    Your assumption is very generous. My assumption about this abuser is the first three letters in ASSume. Thant’s what he/she is. Gosh, I wish I had been in the public place where you and Marigold were. I’d have given her and you a great big hug!

  62. Bill prather - September 19, 2022 10:37 pm

    There is a special place in the darkest recess of hades for the person who did the damage. Hope they feel the heat on their toes even now

  63. Suellen - September 19, 2022 10:47 pm

    We have a beagle that we found abandoned 10 years ago. I don’t know what happened in her former life but I don’t think it was good. She’s afraid of everything. We just let her have her space and it took almost 9 months before the first time she jumped on my lap. A lot longer before she warmed up to my husband. She still doesn’t like you to hold onto her. She was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure. We lost a dachshund to the same illness in May. My heart is aching.

  64. Kathy - September 20, 2022 12:25 am

    Well said my friend. Well said. Wish we lived closer. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. God has blessed Marigold with you but I’m feeling you are more blessed. Love y’all. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  65. Jim - September 20, 2022 12:37 am

    Your Heart knows no bounds. The Lord bless and keep you. I am blessed by your telling of her story.

  66. Stacey Patton Wallace - September 20, 2022 2:01 am

    May God bless you and Jamie. I’m so glad that Marigold is well loved.

  67. Slimpicker - September 20, 2022 3:08 am

    Like Will Rogers once said, “A man that doesn’t like dogs isn’t worth knowing”.

  68. Connie - September 20, 2022 3:28 am

    There is a special place in hell for someone who would deliberately and maliciously harm an animal. People like that are psychopaths and will eventually, if they haven’t already, treat a human the same way. God bless you and Jamie for your big hearts.

  69. Patricia - September 20, 2022 4:56 am

    This breaks my heart…how can a person (if you can call them that) be that mean? So glad Marigold has a good home with loving people like you and your wife. I love Marigold’s name…Bless her sweet heart!

  70. Kristi Fowler - September 20, 2022 6:04 am

    It is my fondest hope that whomever did this horrible harm to Marigold the Magnificent receives the same treatment in kind from someone. And that the same may be true for anyone who harms innocent animals. Harsh though it might sound, it’s entirely deserved.

  71. Janie - September 20, 2022 1:36 pm

    Couldn’t help but cry when I read this column but the happy ending for Marigold made me smile.

  72. Jane Padgett - September 20, 2022 4:30 pm

    I am so glad that Marigold has found a home that will love her as she ought to be loved. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  73. CELIA . - September 20, 2022 8:37 pm

    this was a heartbreakingly beautiful story. God bless you.

  74. Pat - September 21, 2022 12:27 am

    Thank you for loving Marigold…I love her also now, and I just grabbed my dog and hugged him.

  75. Chasity Davis Ritter - September 21, 2022 1:42 am

    Is it wrong and unforgiving of me to want this sorry SOB to show up at heavens gate when he does and at Peter flip him the bird and tell him to literally go to Hell?? How could you even forgive a monster that could hurt an animal like that? I know God loves the animals. HE made them first before he made woman. HE created them perfect and loving and gave us the job of protecting them. He even gave this one His own name but spelled it backwards. Marigold will have a good life now as good as possible with you and Jamie and your other two fur kids will become protectors and siblings. Your nieces will smother will smother her with love and affection when they visit. As terrible and what happened to her she will now come to learn to live without any more fear. Thank you for that. But still though… I hope the picture in my head happens!!

    • PMc - September 21, 2022 2:45 am

      Awesome……we think alike🐕❣✌🏻

  76. Scott Allen - September 21, 2022 9:33 pm

    Mr. Dietrich, Thank you for your writings. Every article makes me look at the world in a different way. I seem to smile and laugh and frown and cry at some point in every one. Keep it up please. And God bless you. Scott

  77. Carol Rahn - September 23, 2022 2:52 pm

    A stray cat, a small calico, entered our back patio, We determined this was her new home. It was still spring in San Antonio, so we gave her water and food scraps, but pretty much left her alone. Then it started getting hot. We fed her regularly and supplied lots of water. Without consulting our 3 fixed male cats we decided she would join our indoor family. We took her to be spayed. When we went to pick her up the vet said she had already had the surgery. We decided we didn’t want to know the backstory.
    Marigold, yes, Marigold has settled in. She lacks most of her teeth but eats just fine. The second day she was with all the other cats the Alpha cat, called Al, tried to eat her food. A snarl and a quick swipe and Al learned a lesson the other two cats still have not learned.
    Marigolds make marvelous friends Thank you for sharing your Marigold’s stories.

  78. Jaan Rannik - September 25, 2022 2:06 pm

    We don’t deserve dogs. And surely there is an 8th circle of hell for those who harm them. Thank you for giving Marigold a safe home, for helping her trust, for giving her love and letting her love. She sounds extraordinary. ♥️

  79. Stephanie - September 26, 2022 8:17 pm

    Thank you for saving and loving Marigold. I have 3 hounds and a fluffy Mutt. If you’re ever in need of a Marigold sitter, bring her up to North Georgia and she can hangout with my pack

  80. Kathryn Franklin - October 4, 2022 5:03 pm

    I firmly believe there is an especially heinous place in Hell for those who abuse animals, right next door to the place where child abusers are tortured for eternity.

  81. Sharon Giddens - January 14, 2023 1:11 pm

    Our newest foster dog was a puppy mill mama. After her rescue, she had to have her eyes and non-cancerous mammary tumors removed. Her skin was in horrific condition. She’s incredibly brave, affectionate, intelligent, and beautiful. Her name is Jolene. 🎶😁 We have another blind fur-baby, a foster fail named Corky. Blind dogs are wonderful pets. Thank you for rescuing Marigold.


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