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A dog named Tilapia


I have a story to tell. The Monday before Thanksgiving I lost my dog Tilapia. I was out walking my other dog. I had left Tilapia at home; she must have slipped out the back door and the back fence into the Savannah Streets near Paulsen and Gwinnett around 10 a.m. the Monday before Thanksgiving.

I searched for hours, rode my bike everywhere. My good friend Banana drove me around to look for her. I went to the pound on Sally Mood Monday; the workers there told me there was no dog which fit Tilapia’s description: small yellow lab mix with black spiked collar.

The next day my good friend Anto made flyers with Tilapia’s picture, description, address and my phone number. I went to the pound once more and dropped off a flyer with the help of my good friend Dagny. The pound told us once more that Tilapia was not there and that no dogs were there which fit her description.

Despite the workers at the pound telling us that she was not there, Dagny and I went to the back room anyway to double-check. The lady at the pound walked us in the middle of the cages and said “she is not here,” then we left. I called the pound the next day which was Wednesday. I went into the wildernesses or Savannah with Dagny and my other dog in hopes that my other dog would be able to track Tilapia. No dice.

Thursday, I spent Thanksgiving without Tilapia. Friday I called the pound. Saturday my vehicle was totaled, I had planned to go to the pound to check in person but I didn’t feel like riding my bike from Gwinnett Street to the Southside and I didn’t want to bother anyone for a ride.

Instead I called the pound again, trusting that they were on the look out for her. No Tilapia there they said. Sunday I assumed the pound was closed. The workers at the pound told me to check a minimum once every three days.

Monday my friend Banana took me to the pound once more. I entered the back trailer for the third time. The workers knew what I was looking for; I didn’t even have to ask. “No, she’s not here. Sorry.”

A great sadness overwhelmed me. Seven days with no Tilapia. If she ran away to the forests she should have gotten hungry and came back by now. Someone must have stolen Tilapia, or she ran off with a pack of wild dogs to live a life of rebellion against me. She was never coming home.

I looked at her picture stapled on the wall of the trailer among other dog’s pictures. They all were missing; someone loved them as much as I love Tilapia. I asked the workers once more and pointed at her picture, the same picture I had flooded the streets of downtown’s electric poles and coffee shops.

The man seemed annoyed, as if I didn’t believe him. I began to walk out of the trailer; I asked them if I could look to see if Tilapia was there. A lady worker walked me to the back where the dogs where in cages.

I feared that Tilapia wasn’t in there and I would want to rescue another dog to name Mahi-Mahi or some other kind of tropical fish to help ease my grief over losing Tilapia. They lady worker told me she didn’t think Tilapia was in any of the cages, but it was good that I was looking anyway.

In the cages I looked, and she was there, in the first cage, excited to see me. Tilapia began to bay like I’ve never heard her bay. When I first got her as a pup I intended to take her hunting because she was half lab/beagle from Pembroke, but she really never bayed ever.

The lady worker took me back to the trailer and grabbed Tilapia’s card. To my surprise, Tilapia was there the whole time, from the very morning she was missing.

I was enraged.

The worker then informed me that she was to be killed, but for some reason they didn’t kill her. In the dogcatcher report it said that they had found Tilapia on Bolton Street near Price. That was where Tilapia’s friend, Bella, the potbelly pig, lived there a year a go.

The residents there cornered Tilapia with objects and called Animal Control to take her away. The lady worker at Animal Control informed me that I have a criminal charge for Tilapia being at large.

I wanted to say “Yeah, and you were going to kill her, and you had her the whole time? And I called and you had a picture and she’s still wearing the same collar as in the picture!”

I knew it was not in my best interests or Tilapia’s to begin yelling at the pound at the workers there. My friends Gabe and Banana gave me the money to free my Tilapia and I was happy to take her home. Tilapia’s total bail: $105 plus my dog-at-large ticket, $80.

I guess what I want people in Savannah to know is that the dog pound here is not very efficient. I asked the workers at the pound how long they hold the dogs for until they send them to the firing squad. They said five days, unless they had a tag or chip, then 10 days.

I wanted to ask them, “What do you mean? You guys don’t find out who the dog belongs to and attempt to contact the owners by using the chip information or tag info? You just give the dog an extra four more days?” But I didn’t ask them.

My dog was overdue, seven days with no tag, Tilapia had lost her tag, a puppy, and I assumed she’d never run away so I never got her another one. If this happened to my dog it could happen to anyone’s dog.

I saw some dogs in the back of the pound that looked like they were well taken care of. Clean, no fleas, knew how to sit, possibly pure breeds, their owners could have possibly gave the pound pictures and called the pound. I saw some flyers that looked kind of like the dogs in the cages.

My advice to anyone missing a dog in Savannah is to check every cage in the pound at least once every three days minimum, in person.

I was lucky to get Tilapia back. I assumed the workers at the pound did their job and would call me if any dog even remotely resembling her showed up. I assumed wrong.

Mae M.F. Burrows

Dougman Davis, R.I.P.


He and his lovely wife Sherry were in my wedding in 1982. We used to load up early Saturday morning, drive way past Raleigh, N.C., to Carlton & Billy Joe Lamb`s shop at Bailey, past Wilson, N.C., go in the little wooden shop next to Lamb’s “Bailey Slaughterhouse” and fix what Randy Renfrow had torn up on Friday night, and get it ready for Dougman to run Saturday night at Fayetteville.

I remember 4th of July weekend with LM main starting at about 1 a.m. The race was stopped 3 times for the ambulance to leave -- not with drivers, but with soldiers, drunks, and Indians that were having too much fun.It was the ‘Miller Beer Car,’ and man did the Miller flow !

I thank Dougman Davis for introducing me to the Lamb family

We sneaked and got the Carolina Tool Cadet Corvette (sorry Bill Morgan) and took it to Harris, N.C., Speedway , won the heat and the main. Most work we did that night was to make tomato sandwiches that somehow got ‘procured’ at a local grocery while our wives were inside getting mayo and bread.

The tomatoes came in handy when after a fight down in the infield in turns 1 & 2 was finally broken up. Dougman launched about three big tomatoes into the air down into the crowd, and they went at it all over again !

If you happpened to be in that fight that night... sorry, but it was funny!

The stories go on and on.

He cracked up the judge & the whole court in Meck County one morning, everyone but the highway patrolman. He wasn`t amused that “Mr. Davis”’ was as entertaining as he was. Judge let him off very lightly. Too long a story for here.

Tony Furr wasn’t amused when he tossed the shifter out of the car onto pit road during caution at Concord. “Can’t race with it in the car.”

He also pit-crewed at some big time races. He toured one summer with one of the most successful short track programs, the Gary Balough and his “Prime Time Crew’ #119 asphalt car. Those T-shirts DO NOT have a price on them

A great fabrication guy, he could build anything, did too much for too many too cheaply. His son carries those talents with him today.

It seemed he was 14 years old for 10 years in that red #2. He won races in just about every car he drove.

He learned “tough love” lessons from his infamous Father, Red “Roe” Davis. He carried his heart and strong feelings on his sleeve and wasn’t embarrassed about it at all. If you didn’t like it, well, then that was a YOU problem.

Things had been crazy this past year, but he wanted badly to get it all together again, and I think he was really trying. Lately he was about to go back into the Jimmy Means Shops and get ready for 2008.

That was the plan two weeks ago after I took him to the Forest City shops to inventory his tools.

I considered him my friend, I didn’t stop by enough, and I will surely miss him.

We lost a good man today.

Duane Goins