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Dog Reunites with Family after Six Years

(AP) ST. LOUIS Cujo was a frisky 7-year-old when he sneaked out of his owners’ south St. Louis yard in July 2000. Now, thinner and grayer and with a tale that would be fascinating if only he could tell it, the golden retriever is back with the Barczewski family.

“It’s a miracle,” Noreen Barczewski, 41, said at Friday’s reunion. “We found him!”

Six years and a side trip to Columbia can do a lot to a dog, but it was unmistakably Cujo. There was the heart-shaped patch of white on his forehead, the white fur on his toes, his manner of greeting people by rubbing against them cat-style.

Cujo’s homecoming was orchestrated by Dirk’s Fund, a golden retriever rescue group that has found homes for more than 900 dogs in the past decade.

After slipping away from home, Cujo somehow ended up 120 miles in Columbia in the home of an elderly woman. When the woman entered a nursing home, the dog was sent to the Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia.

Bob Tillay, president of Dirk’s Fund, spotted the dog _ by then renamed Willy _ on an adoption Web site and arranged to have him brought to St. Louis.

“Sweet old man! He knows how to sit and shake,” the Web site cooed.

The dog’s ears were so infected he couldn’t hear. His coat was so matted he had to be shaved. And Dirk’s Fund paid to have some cysts removed.

The group eventually took Cujo/Willy to a nursing home in Clayton, to serve as a pet for residents. But things didn’t work out _ the dog needed a yard where he could run off the leash _ and his picture went up on the Dirk’s Fund Web site.

A week ago, Noreen Barczewski’s brother-in-law, Michael Barczewski, went to the Web site on a fluke. He’d been looking for a dog to adopt and saw the picture of the old dog with the white heart mark and white feet. Michael and his wife, Gail, had been the original breeders of Cujo. He recognized the dog immediately, and the reunion followed within days.

Now 13, Cujo had never been forgotten by the his original family _ especially Kayla, who was just 4 when the dog disappeared. Kayla insisted on hanging the retriever’s red felt Christmas stocking each year, confident he’d someday come home.

“I had something in my heart,” the fourth-grader said Friday, patting her pet’s soft golden coat, “and I knew he wasn’t gone.”

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

Now I’m wondering whether this is publishing, broadcasting, rewriting or redistributing…or some form of all. Well, I consider it giving kudos to the AP for a wonderful story. If they don’t want me to do thhat, they can just let me know.

Still dabbing a tear from my eye…

A Right-this-Minute List of Ten Movies I’d take to a Desert Island

The Hudsucker Proxy on IMDB

1. The Hudsucker Proxy: Source of one of my favorite movie quotes, “You know, for kids!” as uttered by the Mr. Deeds of the film, Tim Robbins, the quintessential starry-eyed idealist, sucker and proxy. The Coen Brothers in one of their best, most inspired moments.

Out of Africa on IMDB

2. Out of Africa: For the sheer, raw beauty of the film and the soundtrack. For the poignancy of the lives it reveals. For the beauty of the land, in a time when much of the world’s land was still quite pristine. And, ahhh, the Mozart!

When my son was six, I decided I really wanted to watch Out of Africa on a given evening. I seem to recall with fair clarity that I as premenstrual at the time. As I bawled my eyes out watching them as they flew over the countryside or as the lions rested by the grave on a hill, my son asked me, plaintively, “If it makes you so sad, why do you watch it, Mommy?”

I’d take this movie for that memory alone.

The Princess Bride on IMDB3. The Princess Bride: I might as well since I have most of the movie memorized by now. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” I think it’s a fabulously witty spoof, cleverly cast and executed perfectly. There’s just the right amount of camp.

Want to know which Princess Bride character you are? Take the quiz. I am:


Miracle Max


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

The Lord of the Rings4. The Lord of the Rings movies…counted as one choice, of course. Having by now read all four books (including The Hobbit) over twenty times, I’ve made myself sit through every pathetic cinematic attempt at bringing the book to life.

A particularly dismal example was a movie in the 1980’s which tried to blend animation and live action. Rent this someday if you have a burning desire to torture yourself. I commend them for their inventiveness in being the first to combine the two genres but the movie they produced in their effort sucked!

My first (real) car was named Gandalf!

Star Wars5. The Star Wars movies…all six of them…counted as one choice, of course. I love them all, to varying degrees, though I was seriously tested by the woodenness of both Hayden Christiensen and Natalie Portman. (I’m afraid Ms. Portman is becoming another Sean Young!) The story so transcends the mediocrity of the films that I must watch.

Besides, Mike and I would have Star Wars Film Festivals when he was young…all day long, episodes IV, V and VI in a row, popcorn and blankets and good junk food to nibble on. Yes, they have to go with.

Mad Max, the Movies6. Mad Max, The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I will try to rein in my greed after this one. The first of the trilogy for its spectacular, artistic vision of a post-apocalyptic Australia. A wonderful Kennedy-Miller collaboration. And Tina Turner’s thundering legs!

The Road Warrior

Mad Max II: The Road Warrior is my favorite, though I like the original quite a bit. Thunderdome is my least favorite…except for those gams!

Nina Takes a Lover on IMDB

7. Nina Takes a Lover would be stranded with me to help me retain a little sense of sensuality as I slowly broil to death. Great movie, if you’ve never heard of it.

Enchanted April on IMDB8. Howard’s End, Enchanted April, Sense and Sensibility or Jane Eyre (Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine), something Merchant-Ivory-ish. One of them would go to remind me of propriety, decorum, elegance and grace…none of which is a quality I have yet to cultivate. Something to evoke a period of great literature, great chivalry, great restraint, great love, great reserve and great rewards.

I think I’d probably prefer something magical, like Enchanted April.

The Last Emperor on IMDB9. Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. Or maybe Lawrence of Arabia. Something epic and splendorous. I might have to opt for the former, as it is so much lavish than the latter. Besides, I’m turned on by just about every actor or actress in that movie. The scene with Joan Chen beneath the sheets with the Emperor and Empress. Oh my. The Last Emperor it is.

(Interesting side note: Lawrence of Arabia was the first movie I ever saw. In 1962, my parents took us to the drive-in where we all watched a movie about a pedophile. Interesting, huh?)

Only one more?

The Ice Storm on IMDB10. Update: I had the Indiana Jones trilogy here originally but realized I’d made a glaring omission. The Ice Storm has got to make the island trip. Before American Beauty tore us all apart, Ang Lee had already dissected the suburban American dream in all its gritty glory. It’s one of the most poignant and disturbing films I’ve seen.

Interestingly, when my son was 16, I took him and his half-sister to see this film, having no idea it was about marital infidelity, drugs, sex and untimely death. I hid behind my hand for most of the film. I bet Mike wanted to crawl beneath the seat!  Interesting, huh?

I’ll have to make sure Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade makes the next cut.

Could one not adore River Phoenix as the Young Indy?

I miss you, River!

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these or do in the future.


(Last word: I stumbled upon the most amazing site while “researching” this post. The Celebration of Women Writers is an online collection of the writings of women authors from the University of Pennsylvania. Look at this lineup…there are hundreds of authors here and all the “books” are available to read online. What a treasure chest!)

Before that she bitched about: