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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2005
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MY LIFE
Stephanie Gilliam

Official town dog: Good PR move for a great girl

Have you seen my dog? She's light yellow, about 30 pounds. She's a mutt, but she looks kind of like a miniature yellow lab. She has a few faint freckles on her ears and face, and one of her ears sticks up while the other flops. Her name is Daisy because she reminds me of Dagwood's dog in the comic strip.

Ok, so she's not technically my dog — she's not technically anybody's dog. She's kind of the town hound, running around downtown Decatur like a dog in some quaint little town that you read about in paperback novels. She's been sighted at AmSouth, the Decatur-Morgan County Farmers Market, Curry's, the Enrichment Center, City Hall and at my office. I've seen her covered in red dirt from the Gordon-Bibb construction site, and I've seen her running with a Nerf football that she picked up Lord only knows where. I don't think she has a real home, but Daisy must eat everywhere she goes.

She looks well-nourished — I've seen her turn her nose up at biscuits, Ritz crackers, and even Beggin' Strips, which lends skepticism to the commercial's claim, "Dogs don't know they're not bacon!"

It must be a pretty good life to do whatever you want, go wherever you want, and have otherwise sensible grown-ups acting crazy over you.

One of my friends who works at City Hall told me about the ladies who put out water for Daisy. I must admit — I once stole lunchmeat out of the office refrigerator to feed her. My friend pointed out to me that Daisy, who probably goes by at least eight names, seems to be taking care of herself.

No one seems to know where she came from or where she sleeps at night — she sprang out of nowhere fully grown, like Athena, and can seemingly disappear at will. I don't know why I worry about her so much. She seems to have plenty of street smarts and has consistently outwited myself and other adults who have tried to catch her out of concern for her safety.

She's the stuff of which minor legends are made — like cats who live in libraries or the fish named Leroy Brown. In fact, Daisy is probably better known than a lot of local officials and enjoys face recognition that most politicians would envy. How many people who know Daisy couldn't pick United States Senator Jeff Sessions out of a crowd?

Because of her popularity, her intrinsic charm, and the happiness that she brings to so many people, I suggest Daisy be named Decatur's official town dog. She already fills the role in an unofficial capacity. She could live at City Hall and make appearances at special events. It would be a great public relations move for the city. Decatur would probably get all kinds of press about our town dog, and she would be a local celebrity.

I don't really expect city officials to act on my suggestion. Nobody that I know acted on my suggestion to bring a Krispy Kreme to Decatur (though several people offered to start a petition).

Anyway, if you do see my dog, maybe you could give the mayor a call — tell him that you want her to be your dog too.

Stephanie Gilliam, 24, is a Decatur resident who works at Hospice of the Valley.

Stephanie Gilliam Stephanie Gilliam

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