Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atta Fohat

First a big THANKS to Matt at The Quintessential Questionable Query Experiment for his critique of my query letter. And thanks to all of you who took the time to comment and/or make suggestions. I truly appreciate it.

Last week I got this picture from a friend. It's a picture I'd never seen before.
I look so young, like around 17. I was at least 31 or 32. But this isn't about me, it's about the puppy I'm holding.

My friend (who sent the picture) and I were on a short road trip to visit her family. On the way back to the Hill Country somewhere between Houston and San Antonio on I10, we stopped at a rest stop to stretch our legs. As I wandered around, there on the other side of a barbed wire fence, in the underbrush and cedar, was a puppy. She was whimpering, scared, hungry and thirsty. She was covered in fleas, bitten all over by them and by fire ants. Who knows how long she'd been there.

Well of course we had to rescue her and I ended up keeping her. She was probably about three months when we found so I suspect the picture was taken soon afterwards.

I named her Atta Fohat. Atta, in Buddhism, means soul or ego or self-nature. Fohat is a word possibly coined by H. P. (Helena Petrovna) Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, and means primordial light or spiritual energy. Fohat is the intelligent vital force of the Universe. I also named her Atta so I could praise her by saying, "Atta girl!" or call her by saying, "Come on Atta girl."

Atta grew up to be about a 35 pound dog. We loved exploring the Hill Country together. She was a great car dog. When we were on the main roads and highways, she curled up in the back and slept. But the moment I turned off the main road, somehow she knew, and she was up and looking out the windows sightseeing along with me. We grew quite attached to each other.

She was at least part Australian shepherd and would herd anything, including people. The only problem with her herding was that she tended to nip at heels. It was never done out of meanness or aggression, it was simply in her nature.

Because of where I lived and worked (there were lots of people and kids around all the time) I eventually had to give Atta up. We couldn't have a nipping dog. The only place available to take her was the pound. I was heartbroken and have never completely forgiven myself for (for all practical purposes) giving her a death sentence. Thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes.

Here's to you my sweet Atta Girl Fohat. Your memory will always be safe with me. And I am ever so grateful for this picture. It's the only one I have of you.


  1. What a bittersweet story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. What a cute name. Atta. How sad that you had to give her to the pound.

    And you do look young. Wow, you're 32?
    Wish I looked like that at thirty two.

  3. Oh, Bish, what a lovely story. I'm sure Atta forgave you. It's so hard to give up pets. I've never had to ... yet.

  4. What a find! (the photo and the pup)
    Touching story too!

  5. Awww that's so sad! I had to give a puppy up once - I was ten and brought it home without asking anyone. My mother knew our bigger dogs might take badly to the pup so she made me give it back the next day, only its previous owners didn't want it and abandoned it. I never forgave myself for not being able to save it somehow. I can't imagine having to give a dog up after keeping it as long as you must have done! :-(

  6. I've had two similar experiences and I still wake at night and wonder if I could have chosen differently. But at those times, no.

    One happened in South East Asia when I had a lot to deal with and couldn't take on one more obligation--the other when I had no home to offer.

    It's always such a heartbreak to make a decision for another living thing that we'd rather not, yet we can only do what we can do.

    Here's to what you did to help in the best way you could.

  7. What a bitter-sweet story. Giving her up was the right thing to do at the time, or you wouldn't have done it. Great photo! You must be glad to have it.

  8. Aw, that is bittersweet, indeed. Decisions we have to make when we're younger which we regret later. I'm glad you got the picture though.

  9. I can tell you really were connected to her. Separation from a pet is never easy.

  10. Bish,
    Hope you are enjoying the summer.... what remains of it. Now I'm sad again. You are the 2nd post this morning that I've read where someone had to give up their dog. That breaks my heart. Glad you have the picture. Yes, you look so young and beautiful and your long hair is lovely. How are we going to keep pictures years from now? Hand someone a computer?

  11. Yes, bittersweet. I bet Atta was very thankful for the safe, loving time you spent together.


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