The latest dog to grace the cover of Garden & Gun, for our feature on Charleston, wasn’t always viewed as model material. Just four years ago, he was an abandoned pup, living in a pound in Jesup, Georgia.
Alex Melesco first saw photos of George on Facebook and just couldn’t stand the idea of leaving the sad hound on his own. “They told me to be there at four o’clock, or he was going to be on death row,” Melesco recalls. She spontaneously took a day off from work, hopped in the car, made the three-hour-plus drive from her home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and adopted both George, then known as Cooter, and his “cellmate,” Rosco.
Thus began their pound-to-pampered story.
The dogs’ original names nodded, of course, to The Dukes of Hazzard characters, but Melesco says the pups needed something a bit more suitable. “He immediately was so curious, so we said Curious George,” Melesco says. “Then he was so vocal and talkative, so we said George Costanza from Seinfeld. He’s wild and crazy and free-spirited like George of the Jungle. Plus, he’s from Georgia, so George just sounded fitting.” Rosco, in the meantime, became Watson.
Melesco believes George, who is about five years old, is an English Coonhound or a hound mix. “But he’s definitely a hound, through and through.”
He’s the first hound, in fact, to make a G&G cover, following Labradors, retrievers, spaniels, setters, pointers, and a Dalmation. The hound world noticed: Shortly after the February/March issue came out, an email arrived from Lucy the beagle (care of her humans, Matt Filter and Catherine Clement of Durham, North Carolina) to praise George’s appearance. “Our sniffers are the best and our ears the softest, so thanks for putting a little hound in your heart,” Lucy wrote.
Melesco, who appears on the cover with George, says her pooch is taking his new fame in stride. He still spends mornings sleeping under the covers and sniffing the perimeter of the yard, and many afternoons at the beach; Melesco says she takes him almost every day for an off-leash sprinting session and a splash in the ocean.
“He’ll paddleboard with me, but he really likes to surf the waves, like body surfing,” Melesco says. “It’s really funny. He’s barking and howling the whole time, chasing the seagulls while he’s doing it.”
It’s a long way from the pound in Jesup.