Dear Chuck Hagel

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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