The singer-songwriter tells
how, while searching the N.C. woods for items to make furniture, he found
himself a friend.
BY ANDERS PARKER
You Can Call Her Oly
Fall 1999: I had
moved to Raleigh, NC in the summer of that year. I found a job
as a carpenter. The guy who I worked for had shop out in Fuquay-Varina, NC,
which was real country… lots of
tobacco and cotton farms. Anyway, the shop had a little wood mill and I
volunteered to run the mill. There was so much construction going on at the
time that builders were cutting down great old trees and chipping them. Whenever
we could we would haul take the trees out to the shop and I would mill them. There
was lots of red and white oak as well as some cherry and cedar and pine.
One day I was working at the mill and Odell, a guy who
sometimes helped out around the shop, came by with this cute little pup walking
behind him. She was probably three months old at the time. I could see right
away that she was missing an eye, but she seemed none the worse for wear. She
was perky and funny and full of energy. A happy dog. Odell said that the pup
had just showed up a couple of days before and that she was living under his
trailer but that he didn’t want her. So, I told him it was okay to leave her at
the shop until I figured out what to do with her.
When Odell left the shop that day the pup tried to follow
her. Odell turned around and yelled at her, telling her to go home and tried to
kick her. She would cower for a few seconds and then her tail would go right
back up and she would start to follow him again, happy as can be. So, I grabbed
her and she stayed at the shop for a couple of days. I bought her some food and
I would play with her on breaks and after work. After a couple of days another
local character came by (overalls, chewing tobacco, 70s Ford truck) and offered
to shoot her, “seeing as she’s a bitch and half-blind and all.”
The next day the pup came home with me. Named her Olympia, but you can call
The vet thought that she was born with a defective eye, but
he wasn’t sure. The vet took out the eye and tear duct and sewed the eye up. She
does just fine. Occasionally she’ll bang into something on her blind side, but
she’s a good and happy dog. She loves people. In fact, she has absolutely no
filter for people… she loves everyone.
It’s kind of embarrassing. She’s a terrible watch dog, despite the fact that
she does look kind of tough with her missing eye…. One day I was walking
through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY
with her and a kid called out to me, “Hey, mister! Does that dog guard a
Well, Oly got real sick this past winter. After taking her
to a number of different veterinarians in the area (Burlington, VT)
she was diagnosed with an advanced case of Lyme Disease. During the illness one
of her back legs went out. She’s gotten better, but she’s still fairly lame, so
we don’t go out on the long walks we used to do every day.
She’s well enough now that she looks forward to the walks,
but we’re reluctant to take her out for too long. Our vet is optimistic that
she’ll recover fully, but in the meantime she’s on a reduced exercise schedule.
The squirrels will have to wait.
Anders Parker’s new
double-album Skyscraper Crow is out
now on Bladen County Records. Check him out at his
[Photo Credit: Jessica Anderson]