Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Must Love Dogs

Today's post is provided by my good friend, Mary.  I hope you enjoy her contribution!

A little over twelve years ago, my life as I knew it changed. Drastically. My husband and partner of fifteen years, wanted out. As soon as I fully recognized that, I took my dog, Stella, and my cat, Posey, and we moved out. During the course of the divorce, getting settled in a new place and confiding in my parents more than I had in 15 years, my mom said something to me that startled me. She said something to the effect of my love for the animals, my love for the dogs.

While married, I lived on a working cattle ranch, which was a new experience for me (and that is another story); and as soon as I married, I inherited Holly and Jiggs. Holly was a black Lab and Jiggs was a mutt of a Lassie Dog. They were good dogs, had great manners; although not typical “cattle” dogs, they were of great help to Bill. They went to irrigate, fix fence, guard the hay bales as he put them on the sled and fed from it. They also would tag-team when killing a rattle snake. After ranch chores were done, Jiggs was my walking buddy.

As I said, my mom’s words and affirmation of my love for the dogs, surprised me. I had grown up with a “poodle-mutt” named Angie. We had gotten her when I was about five. She was black with curly hair.  My siblings and I wanted to name her “Jackie,” after our Aunt Jackie, who also had black hair. My mom said no, and so with my dad’s influence, we named her “Angie,” after the actress, Angie Dickenson. 

Angie would run the room when my brother would have his racing car track out. She would run to the window and bark at the mailman. She would show humiliation when her hair was cut too short, and hide in the closet for a couple days. She let my sister put ribbons in her “ears” and bundle her in a blanket. We loved Angie. She was a loyal companion to us.

And as we aged, so did Angie. For most of her life, she was our only pet. 

So when I married, I inherited these dogs, and adopted a cat, for mouse control. As I said, Jiggs would be a walking companion, and in the hills of Montana, where one could be scooped up and not heard from again, he was a blessing. When, he was finally old and put down by the vet, I went in search of another dog to be my walking partner.

The first prospect would be a beagle puppy I came across in Cheyenne with two little children named Ben and Amy. The beagle puppy didn’t make it home with any of us, and just as well. They like to run. Weeks later, my mom and dad would bring me a Corgi puppy! She was so small that she literally “jumped” over the blade of grass, and we all giggled. Her name was Abbey, originally after “Westminster Abbey” though I often referred to her as “Abba Dabba Doo.” She taught me what an alpha dog was like, and that she was far smarter than I would ever be.

A sorrowful accident with Abbey sent me to contacting Corgi breeders and I found Stella!...online. With the encouragement of a friend, I had her flown from Oklahoma to Denver. There she arrived in a little cardboard dog carrier, and everyone treated us like she was a new-born child. She was a bit of a mess, and as delightful as could be. She was petite, and wiggled her bottom like a belly-dancer. She was sweet, easy, fun, and obtained adoration wherever she went. Ten years and they were the best. Her passing, though traumatic, was still a blessing – I got to be with her. 

A month later, Ruby (another Corgi) would come into my life. She was looking for her “fur-ever” home, and I fell in love. She is similar though different from Stella. Fourteen months later, ten-year-old Roscoe, a dachshund mix, would need a new home. Together, these two dogs have filled my life with laughter, quirky humor and new lessons learned. They’ve taught me to be a “mom” again, with daily walks. Roscoe tells on his sister when she takes all the bones. I know they aren’t people, though they aren’t replaceable. 

I guess, I must love dogs.

Guest Blog:
by Mary McDougall, “Tail of Two Corgis.”
February 14, 2016

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