2012-05-09 / Columnists

Pets Pets Pets

“Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” Jimi Hendrix singing Purple Haze

Like his namesake, Hendrix the Afghan Hound was a rock star, dazzling the masses with his attitude and impressive looks. Like his namesake, Hendrix (AKC registered name Paladin’s Purple Haze) “kissed the sky” in many ways, and continues to do so after his death at age 14. Hopefully, he will be the inspiration for a designated fund to support senior Afghans in need throughout the country.

Although Hendrix is Mr. May in our 2012 Afghan Hound Club of America (AHCA) Rescue calendar, he didn’t get to celebrate his month. He died in March just five days before his 15th birthday. Hendrix enjoyed a lifetime full of love. He was fortunate to have Vanessa, his doting Mom, who always put him first. She adored and babied him, even carrying this leggy galoot up stairs so he wouldn’t have to walk.


Hendrix Hendrix When Vanessa lost a long battle with cancer, her dying wish was that Hendrix would continue to have the best of care. That’s why Pam, a wonderful advocate of our breed, stepped in. She never met Vanessa, but learned of her devotion for Hendrix. After she offered to adopt Hendrix for the rest of his days, Hendrix joined Pam’s household alongside her two younger Afghans.

Pam embraced Hendrix, and rejoiced in his idiosyncrasies for a bit over a year. She had a purple coat designed for him to go along with his trademark trinkets. She built a ramp when his legs began to fail. She lay on his bed with him the night he was “stricken” until he passed an hour later with his head on her chest. Without a doubt, Vanessa would have approved. If Hendrix had been your aged dog, imagine how comforted you’d be to know a stranger could love your pet as much as you did.

I have the privilege of editing the AHCA Rescue calendar. The previous one recently won an award from the Dog Writers Association of America because people send us such fabulous photos and case histories. I must trim heartfelt stories so we can squeeze them into tight spots. The calendars are prepared months before the year begins. Below are Pam’s unedited, eloquent words about Hendrix:

“From the pictures I have seen, to the stories that I have been told, Hendrix had a nice life. His mom, Vanessa, named him after one of her favorite singers, Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix saw many sights as they traveled around New England. They enjoyed long walks around Manchester, NH. A favorite thing was to go to Hampton Beach where Hendrix would get to run. People would stop Vanessa to admire Hendrix -- he was quite the looker in his younger days. Her family told me that Vanessa “often sacrificed much so that Hendrix was properly cared for.”

I met Hendrix just before he turned 14. Vanessa had died the week before from cancer at 57 years old. He spent time in hospice with Vanessa, once staying a full week. She seemed much happier with him there and would fret when he wasn’t with her. I think a piece of Hendrix’s heart died with Vanessa. When he came to live with me, he just lay on his bed all curled up. It took him three days before I saw him eat. He wouldn’t let me touch him. First, I celebrated quietly when he ate a full meal; the second celebration was when he began following me around. When he barked for me while outside, we had a party. Hendrix had begun to emerge.

He loves to play with his tennis ball, pouncing on it and biting it ferociously. His favorite game is “Monster.” He barks at me and snaps his teeth in the air, while bouncing back and forth. I bend over, stretch my arms wide, growl at him and walk like a monster. He growls back, chases me and pretends he is going to bite. When “Monster” is over, he sprints laps around the yard, hurdling the hostas. Did I mention he is 14? He STILL chases his tail, spins that old arthritic body around barking and snapping at his tail. He caught it once; I heard the scream, looked out and he was chasing it and barking at it. He really is such a character!

His time may be coming, but he’s determined to live life to the fullest until it does. This old man makes me laugh out loud every day and I admire his tremendous heart and spirit. I’m so happy to be part of Hendrix’s final chapter and to keep him safe until he and Vanessa meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. “And I said fly on my sweet angel, fly on through the sky, fly on my sweet angel, forever I will be by your side” (Jimi Hendrix, “Angel”) -Pam Wall, Danvers Massachusetts

Each month on the calendar features two rescued Afghans. However, our senior celebrity had the month of May to himself. One photo showed a younger Hendrix running on the beach; another playing “Monster” with Pam; while superimposed on the month grid was Hendrix with his new Afghan amigos.

Someone once said that coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous. Right before Hendrix died, Michaela the neglected Afghan showed up in a NJ shelter with a purple coat covering her mound of mats. (See online “Pets” 3/29/12.) What’s the chance of two blonde Afghans wearing purple coats, especially since Afghans rarely need coats? When Michaela died shortly after Hendrix, Pam believed her kindred purple spirit was there to welcome Michaela at the Rainbow Bridge. “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” Can you hear Hendrix woof his introduction?

Pam would like to establish a Hendrix Fund to benefit rescued senior Afghan Hounds. If the national breed club approves this plan, her beloved Purple Haze boy will continue to “kiss the sky” each time an elderly Afghan in need is “babied” once more. Without a doubt, Vanessa would approve.

For Adoption at Last Hope Dog Center, 3300 Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh: “Dolce” & “Hoshi” are two discarded, purebred Boxers airlifted from Puerto Rico by the Sato Project. Now at Last Hope, the young duo is relatively small and my gut feeling is that Dolce is Hoshi’s Mom. In another coincidence, Chrissy Beckles the founder of the Sato Project (www.thsatoproject.com) is a former Golden Gloves boxing champion. Hence, these sweet Boxers were rescued by a professional boxer. For more info about the Boxers plus other Last Hope dogs or cats, call 516-783-0030.

Reminder: Free Rabies Vaccine Clinic for Dogs & Cats sponsored by Last Hope at Babylon Town Shelter, Sat. May 12 from 11 to 2 p.m. All LI pet owners welcome. Dogs must be leashed; cats in carriers. Babylon Shelter is also providing $25 microchips, registration included. Call 631-643-9270.

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