How one Dog Changed a Community

Meet Braveheart.

Pat Austin Becker

--

This is a post I wrote on my own blog in 2019. I am reposting it here because it meant something to a lot of people, but more than that, I believe that the lessons our community learned from this miraculous dog, Braveheart, are so relevant still. I’ve never in my life seen anything as impressive and memorable as the way this dog and his story impacted people.

“Just a dog” is a phrase I never want to hear again in my life. Ever.

Here’s the post:

Last week I was scrolling through Facebook when Braveheart’s page popped up on my feed. “This is a post I hoped I would never have to write.” My heart sank. A fear-adrenaline rush. I knew without reading any further what I was about to see. Brave is gone. All I could think was “No!” Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

*******************

In 2013, we all fell in love with a dog. Some 24,000 of us, judging by Brave’s Facebook page. But this was never, ever “just a dog.” You all know Brave’s story; he was discovered near death in a storage facility in the sweltering Louisiana summer heat in 2013. His abuser went to trial in 2015. My blog post about the trial received more hits than anything I ever posted. It was also one of the longest posts I ever ran and I typed it straight through as soon as I got home from the trial, after the verdict.

*******************

By Monday Loraine reaches out to me: “Can you call me?” Of course. “Bo wants you to write an obituary for Brave.” My heart sank. There was never any question that I would do it, but the thought of all the tears I would shed as I did was daunting. “He’s going to owe me. At least a six-pack.” No problem.”

*******************

There are people I have known that I did not cry over as much as I have this dog. #truth

*******************

--

--

Pat Austin Becker

Consumer of life, ELA teacher, Louisiana ambassador, avid reader. Author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation (LSU Press).