The first rule of being a dog is to honor your owner, protect them from all evil, comfort them, love them and be their companion for all the days of a dog’s life. But in very rare instances our owners become so evil that a dog has to turn on their owners for the good of all mankind.
This brings me to Virgil. He belonged to the family of teenaged Ethan Couch who was arrested for drunk driving, and killing four people. The judge in Texas gave Ethan probation because his lawyer argued when Virgil’s affluent parents raised him they neglected to teach him right from wrong because their wealthy lifestyle runs counter to our traditional values like not getting drunk and killing people. The media termed it the “Affluenza” defense in a groundbreaking use of language. It was the first time since 1974 that the media did not label a scandal by sticking the word gate at the end of it and moving on.
When Ethan came home Virgil stuck by him as all dogs do. Sure, Ethan was a selfish, ungrateful, dangerous doofus but he was Virgil’s selfish, ungrateful, dangerous doofus. When Virgil heard that Ethan was planning to break his probation by drinking again Virgil, the closest life form to a parent he had, tried to stop him by holding his leg, then lying down behind the car. He narrowly escaped being backed over.
Virgil was right to try and protect Ethan from his bad impulses. Thanks to social media the court learned that Ethan had been drinking and was ready to send Ethan to jail. Ethan’s Mom told him that they had to flee and Virgil, still a loyal dog, went with them, even though he was worried if they went to Mexico a wall would be constructed during their time in country and he would never get home.
Ethan’s bad behavior continued at a resort in Mexico. That is when Virgil realized that sometimes protecting your best friend means going against his wishes. He put out prayers to the Angels and we did our best to get Ethan found and protected from himself. At first our efforts were futile. Sean Penn was busy and Johnny Depp had his own dog problem. But then we got into the computers at Ethan’s probation office and left a trail of evidence pointing to where he was. Soon he was discovered.
But so far Ethan has fought returning home. And, having done all he could Virgil has left his family and is on his own in Mexico. Hopefully a kind family has taken him in ,is treating him well. and he has not become another one of his affluent best friend’s victims.
So say a prayer for Virgil tonight and all of Ethan’s victims.