BCSP Report – Week 21

Bollinger County Stray Project Report May 22-27

The Bollinger County Stray Project has been given the rights to use a musical CD as a fundraiser. The CD features the soul saxophone music of Michael Neville, my husband, with John Bury a child prodigy pianist from Minneapolis Minnesota.

The CD features classic standard songs from the 30’s like Over the Rainbow and I’ll Be Seeing You, popular war time songs, to The Days of Wine and Roses first released in 1962, made famous by Andy Williams.

You might think these tunes are for the older generation, Think again. They have been hits by artists through the years, many have been used in popular movies, and artists today like Lady Gaga still sing the standards with the talented Tony Bennett.

Michael and three musicians plus special sound effects make the music updated and at times it seems there are 6 or more musicians. The CD has a very professional sound, not “ tin can” sounding like many small scale CD productions I have heard.

I had a strict rule when Michael said he wanted to make a CD and that was, “If it does not sound first class and professional don’t waste your money and time… Demand that the producer do it right and be willing to spend the money to prove the gift you have.”

And so he and I can say we are proud of the finished product. Now he has donated his music CD to the Stray Project as a fund raiser.

Michael, who has almost all his life also had a dog as his best friend, has an interesting history connected to music.

His mother played a silver sax in band. She grew up in Puxico as Adella Damron. Her father was a wealthy lumberman who lost everything when the Puxico bank went belly up. A family friend was Burt Allen, a man with a wooden leg who had played tuba in the Barnum Bailey Circus. Burt knew Tiny Tim.

Adella went to SEMO College and met Michael’s father, married and they lived in Cape until 6th grade. They had dogs: Tippy and Tex who ran the streets. Tex was killed when someone fed him glass. This memory is one of Michael’s most painful as a child.

Adella had a beautiful voice and sang at women’s clubs. A favorite song Michael plays “Fish got to swim, birds got to fly, I’ve gotta love one man till I die. Can’t help lovin’ dat man of mine. Sung by Ava Gardner in Show Boat, these are some of the words of a song that can bring tears to Michael’s eyes by imagining his mother rehearsing this soulful song.

In 4th grade his family moved to St. Louis and took tuba player Burt Allen with them. Caring for the elderly, friends or family, was just something you did and Burt had been an important part of Adella’s life. Burt would later die in their home.

In the summer before 7th grade his family moved to Chattanooga Tennessee. Michael joined band and learned several notes a week. In those days the band only had trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, and trombones. By the summer of tenth grade Michael at 115 pounds and almost his 6’1” adult height joined the football team: third string. He was also in track. The band played for the football games so the coach gave Michael a choice, play football or get an “F” in band.

He left band.

Michael was called a Yankee when they moved to Tennessee and was actually beaten up on several occasions. The string-bean-kid learned to run and fast to get away from the bullies. At that time he had a large brown mutt he called Duke. He recalls with dismay how one of the bullies owned a large Doberman male that they had attack his Duke. He was able to get the dog off and sprint with Duke to safety.

By 9th grade he met a big strapping kid, light heavyweight Leroy Duchene, who was the Golden Glove Southern Division Champion. Michael started to box and was runner up Southern Division Golden Glove at age 17, losing to a 23 year old guy from the Navy.

During1952-54, while young in high school he played his sax on the weekends at Joe’s Place in Hixson Tennessee. He played the standards of the time including Stardust and Tennessee Waltz. He remembers a “regular” who on Friday nights rode his mule to Joe’s. When too drunk to walk, patrons loaded the guy on his mule’s back and the mule took his owner home.

Michael was playing his music by ear, not by sheet music. Michael has relative pitch, which means he can tell what key a song is played by hearing two to three notes.

While still a teenager and playing in Tennessee clubs there was a lot of bootlegging going on in the area. The vehicle of choice was a black 1940 Ford Coupe, jacked up so when it was full of whisky they could still run at high speed to avoid the local law enforcement. The community of Soddy Daisy was full of people running stills to make moonshine. He had two high school buddies who drove moonshine deliveries. The reason illegal moonshine was so lucrative was to avoid paying the high taxes for legal liquor.

Michael lived in beautiful and rugged Lookout Mountain for a time with friends, hitch hiking to jobs, boxing matches, and school when his parents moved back to St. Louis with his younger sister Sally. He stayed behind to continue his boxing and love of music. He and his sax moved from one friend’s home to another while finishing high school and until he gave up boxing in pursuit of a better paying job and future with a stable and good income.

Even though he had a talent and loved music he could not depend on a good lifestyle by being a standard musician in small time bars. While living among the “wild lifers” he was thinking of his future because his parents had taught him about being responsible and wanting a good life for a secure future. He wanted to go to college but he could not afford it and his parents could not afford to pay his way.

Michael decided to join the 82nd Airborne, another exciting and daring adventure for a young man who was brave, determined and who had a wild hearted and adventurous spirit.

Deep inside this man was a love of soulful, emotional music. Even though he was tough as nails on the outside, inside he was a man with feelings which he would develop because of the challenges in his life as much as the people he hung out with and a famous musician whose music greatly influenced him.

Michael’s story continues in next week’s Stray Report.

There are two easy ways you can acquire the music on his CD.

  • IF you donate $20 or more by snail mail or request on our regular PayPal account that you want Michael’s CD we will mail you a hard copy CD, fancy colorful artwork with Karen Belcher’s Daughter Tara on the cover dancing in the sunset in Missouri. The CD is in a secure case. The donation will pay for the box to and postage to ship.

Mailing address is:


Marilyn Neville

HC 2 Box 179

Zalma, MO 63787

  • You can download all 13 songs or single tunes by going to our Music Fundraiser page.  We have 6 large dogs and one small breed dog we are about to treat for Heartworm. We really need your help to make this fundraiser successful to pay for those treatments and the daily and monthly supplies we need to care for the many pets we have taken in. It is easy to help and YOU get something back for helping! It is only pennies per song to help the pets!

Accepted strays and relinquished pets (Facebook FB)(3):

… Shih Tzu mix female pup: 14 weeks of age, 9 pounds, white- grey brindle patches, relinquish.

… Three kittens, about 2-3 weeks of age, mom never returned. One kitten did not make it.

Adoptions, return to owner or placed in other rescues ():

… Lab Pit mix female went to St. Louis to Humane Society of Missouri, stray in Zalma.

Cat calls:

… Brown tabby male and another male, black with white, age 1, neutered and shots completed, free to good homes. Owners are moving.

… Calico long coat female and another cat male black with white declawed in front are free to good homes. Child is allergic.

… Two grey and one black kitten, all long coats, age 8 weeks up for adoption.

… Most days we are receiving multiple calls about cats with litters. Please spay your cats.

… Several cats to give away. Call 573-722-3035

Dogs with Heartworm (HW), Ehrlichia, special needs, or that were euthanized:

… None.

Calls requesting assistance for dogs we did not admit (all these dogs posted on FB):

… FOUND 5/26/17:old female Beagle believed dumped by white newer model pickup nearTwin Bridges .

… Need home for a 7 yr old chocolate Lab female: call 573-722-3035

… FOUND 5/19/17, Co Rd 874 SW of Patton: Beagle or mix of small female

… 7-yr.-old purebred Chocolate Lab female needs a home.

… LOST last seen in Patton area: black male 10 yr old dog, 110 pounds, Great Dane Lab mix, white on chest and on beard. He has a very odd shaped skull and has seizures.

… LOST 4/8/17, Hwy 72 and Co Rd PP: elderly Aussie mix male, collar removed, mostly black.

Miscellaneous and contact info:

We had 50 dogs and pups at our home 5/27/17. If you have a stray camping out in the yard don’t wait, call us at 573-722-3035 or email photos at ace@clas. net.

We LOVE Buchheits! Donate a buck or more at the Jackson store for dog food and supplies when you shop. Also, Second Time Around in Marble Hill is taking donations for the Stray Project. Monetary donations are accepted at the Bollinger County Veterinary Service, Marble Hill Coop, Buchheits, and the MH Town and Country.

Stray Project monetary donations accepted at the Marble Hill Coop. We purchase de-wormer and other supplies at the Coop and donations are greatly appreciated.

Please be advised that the Bollinger County Stray Project is not the county or City of Marble Hill dog catcher. When you have a stray we try to help and can usually offer solutions. Patience is required of the caller towards our ability to find and implement a solution. I wish we had a magic wand but we don’t and can’t always help the callers in a manner they may demand of us. Remember, we are volunteers and help as time and space allows.

Offer a stray water on day one and food day two or three. Call if missing a dog or if you have a stray. We don’t always have room but we may have a solution to help you and the stray.

Dumping dogs is a form of abuse and against the law. Please report animal abuse or neglect.

Please do the following when your pets are expecting or caring for a litter: offer any pregnant dog small-breed-puppy-food the final 1-2 weeks before delivery and while the pups are nursing. Give those mothers all the food they want: bowls full all day and lots of fresh water available all day. Cats need kitten food. Free feed the higher calorie food during the nursing stage to help mom make milk and maintain her own body mass. Babies need to be de-wormed as young as 1-2 weeks, then every 7-10 days until age 10-weeks or older if in a confined environment with re-infestation concerns.

Thank you to the County Residents who have continued to support the Bollinger County Stray Project. 

Check out our available pets at Petfinder.  Call 573-722-3035 about our adoptable pets.

If you suspect an animal is being neglected or abused, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline, 314-647-4400 or 800-383-9835 or you can make a confidential report on line at Humane Society of Missouri.

To understand when an animal is being abused or neglected in the state of Missouri read the following link:http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/cruelty/mo_cruel.htm