Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama  Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   

Dear Chuck Hagel

Photo of Will Rahn
Will Rahn
Senior Editor

Dear Chuck Hagel,

My dog Rusty and I have been together for eight years now. He’s the best dog a gal could ask for and I can’t imagine life going on without him. I also just got the job opportunity of a lifetime, which will take me halfway across the country. Money is tight, but luckily I have a cousin who’s agreed to take me in while I get myself back on my feet. She loves Rusty, but unfortunately her husband is deathly allergic, which means I’m going to have to abandon my best friend — possibly at a shelter — if I decide to take the job. Is it crazy to turn down an opportunity like that for a dog, or should I stick with Rusty until another opportunity comes along?

- Gotta Love Dogs

Dear GLD,

Bessie Mae was the first Negro woman I ever knew. She sang at the only jazz club in Lincoln and had a voice that put Billie Holiday to shame. I was just a kid at the time, no older than 17, but I loved that giant woman like the day is long. After she would finish her show each night, we’d drive out to a cornfield at the edge of town. She made me a man in a rusted-out farmhouse, and although she was some 30 years my senior, we made plans to marry.

But Bessie Mae had another lover in her life: heroin. She overdosed in the backseat of a red Oldsmobile one month before I graduated high school. It was then I realized there was nothing left for me in Nebraska. Within the year, I had joined my brother in Vietnam.

Cowards abandon dogs. Cowards like Ted Cruz. You stick with that animal and you love him like I loved Bessie Mae.

- Chuck Hagel

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