When Beverly Williamson’s husband kisses her goodbye, he tells her he loves her.
She knows there will be a postscript at the end. Tommy Williamson never really says it, but he has been known to mumble it under his breath.
I love you ... but please don’t come home with anything that has four legs!
His silent plea is best left unspoken. It would fall on deaf ears anyway.
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Beverly is one of those tender-spirited animal lovers who can drive to the post office to buy stamps and come back with a ball of fur that barks at night and wags its tail at the supper table.
The Williamson home is a landing area for flea collars and chew toys. It’s a rescue mission for man’s (and woman’s) best friend.
“We’ve become the neighborhood humane society,’’ said Beverly. Her adopted pets compete for lap time, lick her face and scratch at the patio door.
She could laugh about it if it didn’t break her heart to see so many stray dogs roaming the streets of Macon.
Sometimes they find her. Most often, she finds them. Several have taken up residence. Others are loved and nursed back to health. She provides a safe haven until she can find them a home.
If she can find them a home.
That’s why Beverly asked if I could help her find her latest animal a good home.
When she told me what she had named the dog, I couldn’t resist.
I haven’t seen the movie “Marley & Me,’’ which has been No. 1 at the box office for the past few weeks. But I don’t see how it could be any better than John Grogan’s book, which I read when it came out in 2005. The story of that neurotic and lovable dog took me on an emotional journey more than any book I’ve read in a long time.
But Beverly didn’t name her latest rescue dog Marley because of the book or the movie. She found her on Marlowe Drive, not far from her home on Savage Creek, so the nickname fit. (The Labrador retriever in the book was named after reggae singer Bob Marley.)
She found her “Marley” the day after reading a story in The Telegraph about a dog in Dublin that was recovering after being tortured.
“I wrote a letter begging to adopt that dog but I never got it mailed,’’ she said. “The next day, God led me to Marley.’’
She left her house to run a few errands on a Saturday afternoon. When she turned onto Marlowe and headed toward Northside Drive, she noticed a car slowing down at the end of the street.
“The passenger door opened and my first thought was they were going to pour out a drink,’’ she said. “Instead, they dumped a dog. I know it’s a crime, but I was so stunned I didn’t think to get the tag number. I was more concerned about the safety of the dog on Northside Drive.’’
Beverly stopped and called to the dog, who came right to her.
“She was so skinny you could count her ribs,’’ Beverly said. “She had several open sores on her back, and she wouldn’t hold her tail up.
“I was shaking. I couldn’t believe somebody would do that to an animal. When I took her home, my daughter and I cried every time we looked at her.’’
It’s not unusual for Beverly to name one of her rescued animals after the street where the dog was found. A few years ago, she picked up a stray on Spring Street and named it “Springer.’’
She took Marley to the vet the next Monday and the bills began to mount. She thought the dog might be pregnant. Instead, Marley’s stomach was swollen from malnutrition.
“When they opened her up to spay her, they noticed something unusual,’’ said Beverly. “She had swallowed part of her collar.’’
After a round of shots and heartworm treatments, the Williamsons have now rung up $932 in vet bills.
But that’s OK. Marley has got her groove back. She’s happy, healthy and gained 10 pounds. She’s up to 30 pounds and no longer advertising her rib cage.
She’s found a home with some of the other household dogs — Ralph Lauren, Chelsea, Bocephus and Toto, too.
Beverly isn’t quite sure what breed of dog Marley is, just that she’s one of those Heinz 57 mutts that often make the best pets.
As much as Beverly has grown to love Marley, she wants to see her go to a good home. (If you’re interested, call (478) 972-0229.)
There’s only one requirement.
You’ve got to love Marley.
If you do, I guarantee Marley will return the blessing.
Reach Gris at 744-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.