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Laverne's Story

Laverne and Parkay
photo by D. K. White

January 13, 2001:  We regret to inform our many friends that Laverne passed away today.  She was a very special dog and most of Morgantown got to know her when she was a foundling being raised in our store.  Thanks to all of you who cared so much for our little Laverne.  We'll all miss her.


January 2nd, 1998:

A light snow had fallen in the night and the conditions were just right for two hunters to wander the woods near Dorsey's Knob. Their footsteps were muffled and they were sure they'd get the jump on a rabbit or grouse. To their amazement, however, the stillness worked to Laverne's advantage.

Laverne, the puppy in the photo, had been born less than 24 hours before and the hunters heard her yelping. As they approached, they were unsure as to what kind of creature was making all of this noise. One of the men leaned down and picked her up. He couldn't believe that he and his friend had stumbled on to such a find. He put the tiny pup in the pocket of his coat and then the hunters began searching for her mother or littermates.

There were no other tracks in the snow. Nothing. Not even those of a cardinal! They searched and searched and couldn't find any sign that another dog had been in the woods. The hunt was over and the two hunters decided to head towards Morgantown to find help for their newborn discovery. Shortly after, they walked into Tails On High and asked us, "What should we do with this puppy?" Thus, a great dog rescue story begins.

We took her in and immediately began nursing her with an eyedropper. We all took turns with feeding. To give Laverne a warm spot to sleep, we fixed up a tank with a heated rock--the kind that we use in our reptile displays. But that wouldn't solve the dilemma of socializing. After all, a puppy has a lot to learn in those first few weeks. Without brothers and sisters to play with and cuddle beside, we had to improvise. That's where Parkay, the rabbit, comes into the story.

Whenever she wasn't traveling home with one of us for the night, we'd leave Laverne in the rabbit petter with Parkay and the other rabbits. It worked. And it didn't take long for folks coming in the store to learn all about Laverne and her travails. Everyone wanted to adopt her!

Well, Laverne's life had been touch and go. She had her ups and downs and was near death twice during the first month. We weren't sure what breed she was because of her slow weight gain. At first, we guessed (and so did the Vet) that she might be a Chihuahua. At six months, she barely weighed 12 pounds. But she kept growing and we're pretty sure she's mostly Beagle. That would solve some of the mystery as to why she was born in the middle of nowhere. At eight months, she weighed 20 pounds and will probably top out at 25-30#.

We had so many requests to adopt Laverne that our task was one of turning people away. In the end, we decided that Sean should have her. Sean is a student at WVU and works here part-time.

People still ask about Laverne. They want to know how she's done. So we thought such a popular pet ought to have some web space. We hope you feel the same.

Laverne at 8 months


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