Look At Your Card Book


Bonnie M. Wells

This story is part of the "Dreams Panned-Out Series"

and can be found in Pure Coincidence book # 4 - The Guardian Angel:

The Business Card Collectors

I had been a collector of business cards for many years, but until my brother Mike Martin died in November of 1986, I had no idea that he too had collected business cards.

Mike's death was such a shock to the family that when our mother gave his card collection to me, I paid absolutely no attention to the cards, but simply wrapped a rubber band around the bundle and stuck it inside a business card file that I'd had for several years. Someday, I'd sit down and look at the cards and slip each one into one of the little plastic covers. Someday.

Two Magnificent Dogs

I stood in the doorway and watched the beautiful solid black German Shepherd Dogs trotting across the back yard. One day soon I would have to make a decision. One of the "boys" would have to go. But which one? They were both magnificent. Both bred for show and work. Both representing six solid generations of my own breeding on one or more lines, although their mother was shipped to me from California. The breeding had combined some of the top bloodlines from the east coast with the top lines from the west coast, and yet held on to those old German lines that I'd loved for so long. They produced dogs that were a pleasure to have around.

Granvilles' Pony Express had been selected as part of my breeding plan while his brother Granvilles' Wells Fargo was intended as a gift for my brother.

Mike intended to return to the Coolville (Ohio) area where he'd lived for several years before he and his wife divorced. He intended to come back in the spring of 1987 and buy another farm and purchase some more sheep. He loved his sheep, and I just happened to raise "sheep herding dogs," so it was only natural that he'd want one of my Shepherds to help him on the farm. I hadn't told him of my plan. I'd wanted it to be a surprise.

His November death turned our world upside down.

And now, I had two male dogs that were maturing out. Someday they would challenge one another over the females in my kennel. I had to do something..... but what? I couldn't bear the thought of selling Mike's dog to a stranger. I wanted the dog to be special .... to accomplish something ... to be something in Mike's memory .... but ....

Police Dog Needed

The Wood County Sheriff's Department phoned me. They were looking for a dog to use in police work. Here was something that either one of my boys could excel at, and I knew it. The dogs were from a long line of working dogs. They could do search and rescue work, drug detection, bomb detection, herding, tracking, patrol....theses boys could do almost anything a person asked of them. I invited the officer down to see the dogs but he declined. My price of $500.00 was too much for the department so there was no sense in looking at the dog. I was disappointed.

Weeks passed and I continued to watch the Shepherds grow and mature. And then, as has so often happened in my life, the Lord looked down upon this lowly creature and sent the answer in a dream.

Look At Your Card Book

"Look at your card book" ...."Look at your card book." The words were repeated twice. I saw no one in the dream, and yet, I knew it was a man's voice that I heard.

Still half asleep, I stumbled from the bedroom with the words ringing in my mind...."Look at your card book." But, I had a problem ... what was a card book? I didn't know.

I lit a cigarette and began contemplating what a card book was. I'm not sure how much time passed before I walked into the bedroom and spotted the business card file lying on the stand. "That could be considered a card book," I mumbled to myself. It was sort of a book, and it did contain cards. I picked it up and out tumbled the bundle of cards that had belonged to Mike. It was too early in the morning for such memories. I scooped the bundle from the floor and felt the grief and depression come washing over me again as I slipped the rubber band from the cards and began looking at them for the first time since mom had given them to me.

Mike had a neat collection of business cards. I wish I'd known he collected them ..... I wish he'd known I collected them. I would have had him get me some of the out of town ones that he had! He traveled a lot more than I did. He worked on the B&O Railroad and was a Union Representative so he was always on the go.

My hand trembled as I read the card that had been buried about half way through the stack. Charles Johnson.....Investigator, Wood County Sheriff's Department.....it said. I flipped it over and noticed the officer's home phone number on the back of the card.

Could it be? It had to be ..... it had to be the same cop that had called me about a dog. There wouldn't be two cops with the same name in the same department, would there? I reached for the phone.

He Was My Brother

When Charlie Johnson came on the line I asked him if he was still interested in Fargo and he told me he'd give his eye teeth for that dog, but the department just would not appropriate the money so he could not get him. It was then that I told him he might not need any money after all, and I asked him if he knew Mike Martin.

Charlie replied that he knew a Mike Martin but he didn't think it was the same one I knew because the one he knew had passed away a couple of months earlier.

"Did you know he was my brother, Charlie?" I asked.

"I had no idea Bonnie." Johnson replied after a long pause.

To make a long story short ... I told the officer that I wanted to donate the dog in my brother's name and that I only had a couple of requests. He told me to name my requests....and I did.

I wanted a wooden plaque printed up that said..... Granville's Wells Fargo ....Donated to the Wood County Sheriff's Department by Granville Kennels .... in memory of Richard Michael Martin. And I wanted this plaque to hang at the Wood County Sheriff's Department.

It didn't seem like too much to request. Officer Johnson didn't think it was too much either and he readily agreed. He said he couldn't come and get Fargo right then though because he was going out of town for a few days on an undercover case. I understood and just told him to call me when he got back to town and was ready to pick Fargo up.

February 9th, 1987.

It should have been Mike's 35th birthday.

God how I missed him.

Charlie brought his wife with him when he came after Fargo. We had a nice visit and he explained how he knew Mike. His father worked on the railroad and Charlie said Mike had won him a large settlement with the company just before his death. He said he sometimes thought his father liked Mike better than he liked him. I smiled and told him I doubted that, and yet, I thought back to Mike's funeral. I'd never seen so many people in my life. For five solid days the phone never stopped ringing, people never stopped knocking on the door, and every train that rolled into Parkersburg, West Virginia stayed a little longer than normal because all the guys on the train went to the funeral home to pay their respect. Even then, I'd thought to myself....that's how it is with an Aquarian.....you either love 'em or hate 'em.....either way, they make one hell of an impression and are not easily forgotten.

Charlie promised me that Fargo would live in the house with him and his wife, would be trained for police work with the department, and even said he'd let me know where and when the training was going to be done and I could come and watch my boy in action. He said he'd already ordered the plaque.....it was to be bronze over walnut and would say exactly what I'd requested and would hang in the sheriff's department for all time.

The tears streamed down my face as Fargo eagerly jumped into the car with the Johnson's and then looked back to see if I was coming too. No, I wasn't coming along this time but I'd see him soon because Charlie had promised to keep in touch and bring Fargo to visit once in a while.

"Happy birthday Mike,"

I whispered as the car pulled from my driveway.

Dog Gone

It is now [February of 2007]. It has been more than twenty years since Fargo left my home with officer Johnson.

I never saw Fargo again: I was never informed of anything about him, including his death: No plaque was ever made ... ever hung in the sheriff's department: Fargo was never trained, never worked with the department: Charlie Johnson refused all phone calls from me:

Charlie Johnson is no longer an investigator with the Wood County Sheriff's Department. Over the years he has received several promotions. I see him on tv every once in a while. But now, the only thing that comes to my mind when I see him are his words of so long ago....

"Sometimes, I think my father liked Mike Martin better than he liked me."

No Substitutes

For honesty, integrity and character there are no substitutes. No uniform, no gun, no title, no amount of money or education can take the place of, or conceal the lack of these traits.

I am no longer producing German Shepherd Dogs; haven't produced a litter in more than a dozen years now. Sometimes I think about "getting back into the business," and every time I do, I get out my sales book in which all records were kept. The names of each and every puppy, along with their parents are registered within the book. The names and addresses of each and every person who received one of my dogs is also listed, along with comments that I made concerning the dogs and the people.

I sit quietly and read through the old, time worn book, and always, without fail, shed a few tears.

Over the course of nearly 25 years in the "dog business" I met some great people, and corresponded with dozens of others whom I'll never have the pleasure of meeting. And I met a few people, who were not so nice, not so honest. I dealt honestly and fairly with each one. And there were a few ... so very few, that I refused to deal with, refused to sell a puppy to at any price, because "price" was never my interest. Some of those people were far better educated than I, made ten times more money than I will ever make, were people with titles, and yet there was one thing in this old world they could not buy with all their titles and money, and that my friends was a Granville bred German Shepherd Dog!

The prices of my puppies were based upon the bloodlines and abilities of the parents, but I always tried to keep the prices in the range that the average, working class person could afford. And if the price was too high for someone who really wanted a pup, then I'd work out a payment plan for them. The price on Granvilles' Wells Fargo should have been in the $1,500.00 range at the time that he was donated to the Wood County Sheriff's Department. He was worth more than $500.00 the day he was born! But, as explained in the story above, he was given to Officer Johnson because he had been my brother's friend. Still, for the sheriff's department to refuse to spend $500.00 on this dog, was a direct insult ..... not only to me but to every American breeder.

Although I'm not certain the Parkersburg police have spent several thousand dollars for K-9 dogs, I've seen hundreds of other departments that have. I have seen police departments, the Washington County Sheriff's Department included, spend anywhere from $5,000.00 to $30,000.00 for German imported dogs, and each time I've wondered if they know what they are doing.

Now it doesn't matter to me anymore, because I have no intentions of raising anymore dogs ..... and if I ever do, I already have a waiting list of people wanting my dogs that would require at least three litters to fill ... so it doesn't matter to me.

But this is something that has bothered me for many years, and I believe now is the time to speak out.

When a person buys an imported dog, they know nothing of the "history" of that dog, and must rely on a foreigner to provide details of family history. This means the dog that is given to an unsuspecting police officer .... a police officer who is probably familiar with German Shepherds {or whatever breed is purchased} within this country.... and expects this dog to be the same, may be taking a deadly weapon into the home of his family. Here they can go to the breeder. They can see the parents, grandparents, etc. With an import this is impossible. Sometimes the temperament of these imported dogs is impossible to predict, especially as they mature. In some foreign countries dogs are bred for police and military work, and although that sounds great, one must stop and ask themselves if our military and our police forces operate in the same manner as those in the country from which the dog is purchased.

If the behavior and response of a dog cannot be predicted, then that animal is not safe to be used as a family pet, for police work or anything else. These dogs can be deadly, and believe it or not, there are some foreign breeders who produce animals that they know for a fact are dangerous.

But beyond these concerns, there is yet another problem. When a police department {or anyone} buys an imported dog, who knows what the money {and it's always a large amount of money too, not a mere few hundred} is being spent for? For all we know that money may go toward building war equipment that someday will be used to kill Americans! It wouldn't be the first time. Read your history books. Why do you think the German Shepherd Dog was the most hated dog on earth after World War II? Our soldiers saw first hand what ill-tempered, highly trained killing machines could do on a battlefield.

Thousands of people worked very hard to turn the breeds reputation around, and once again make the German Shepherd an animal of pride and dependability. I'm proud to have been a part of that process, and extremely proud of the fact that my dogs were as dependable and predictable as any that were ever produced.

Not only could this money be used for war purposes, but think of all the drugs that could be purchased and then filtered back into the United States with our own money!

In my opinion, American money should be kept at home, and should buy dogs produced within our own country.

Now don't misunderstand me. I've seen many beautiful imports, even bred my own females to some of them. But I always tried to make certain the dogs had been in this country for several years and were not only "working dogs" but were also conformation show dogs. There are strict guidelines in the conformation show ring, and that's where the "temperament" of any dog is made or broke.

I've also seen many American bred dogs that I wouldn't have had on my property. But the fact is, I could see the animal, could see how it had been raised, what it had been taught....both by its parents and by mankind. This is not possible when imported dogs are brought into our nation by "importers" who will tell a person whatever they have to say in order to move their dogs .... at tremendous prices ..... sometimes at prices no American should ever have to pay.

Although I recommended a "solution" to these problems many years ago, I think it was seen by some as a way for me to "make money," and was therefore rejected. However, I said it then, and I'm saying it now. I was never interested in the money. My interest and concern has always been for the dogs and the people who must live and work with them.

There is absolutely no reason that a "police dog breeding program" cannot be set up within this nation. Use that imported stock that has proven to be stable and reliable. Reject those animals that are questionable, or that have personality or temperament faults. Breed to the best females you can buy, and make sure their temperament, intelligence, train-ability and structure is correct.

Within this nation, there are dozens of excellent dogs that would provide a solid foundation for such a breeding program, and there is no reason on earth that this should not be done.

Personally, I want no part of it, so don't get in a huff and think I'm scheming to get my foot in a door where I'm not wanted. You couldn't pay me enough to get involved, much less donate my time and expertise ...... and of course that's what it would be .... donated ..... no credit, no thanks, no mention of me or my name. Been there, done that .... thanks just the same!

Bonnie M. Wells

Starlight Inner-Prizes / Homepage

Dreams Panned-Out Series Homepage

Pure Coincidence Book Series / Homepage

The Symbolic Case Series / Homepage

The Without A Trace Series / Homepage

The Lookin' For A Killer Series / Homepage

Chi & Boo at five months of age:

Chi at about 10 months

Midi = Me, You And A Dog Named Boo:

In loving memory of Granvilles' Midnight Taboo and her sister Granvilles' Ebony Chi-Chanazza:

Both proudly produced by me, and Taboo lovingly owned and called "Boo" by Jerry Bibbee:

Page updated: February 6th, 2003 / April 27, 2004 / February 12, 2006 / Feb. 1-07 / July -07 // BMW