Good dog.

January 9, 2016 § 5 Comments

Moo in the meadow.We knew what we were looking for.

Another Australian Cattle dog like Moo.

Moo was the dog brought home by our daughter, Josie, who volunteered at the animal shelter.

Moo put her paws on Josie’s shoulders, stared into her eyes and said, “Get me out of here.”Maybe no one else heard it, but Josie did.

And we needed a dog, not at our house where we had a resident dachshund who owned the place, but for my dad who lived alone six months out of the year in New Jersey between winters spent across the street from us here in Tallahassee.

A phone call during those long summer months was answered by a voice rusty with disuse. The man needed a dog!

After Moo, my dad did a lot of talking, and when he went anywhere the silhouettes in the front seat included not just the square bald head of the car’s Scandinavian driver but the pointed ears of his loyal cattle dog.

When my father died we grieved, and Moo grieved with us. She had an incredible memory for the places they had been together. I remember going to the annual family gathering at a lake cottage and watching her return again and again to the room they had shared to stare into the emptiness.

Moo was a one man dog, and over time my husband Ray took my father’s place. Moo and I were great friends, but Ray was her guy.

The sad thing about dogs is that they have puny lifespans. Why did God waste a long lifespan on parrots? I hate to question the almighty, but parrots, really?

When Moo died we faced the vast loneliness of no dog—and the freedom. For a year and a half we didn’t have to seek out a dog-friendly hotel, or shop in under two minutes because the car would get hot.

But we both liked having a dog, and Ray’s hankering for a dog began to build. He looked at the cattle dog rescue sites but the dogs were always pit bulls (maybe a cattle dog had once walked past them).

Then someone told us about a feed store that had an adoption day every Sunday.

IMG_0298When we got there only one dog was up for adoption. “He’s right here behind the counter. He’s sweet, great in the car and he’s about 90% house-broken.”

I stared at that counter, knowing that whatever dog was back there would be going home with us, Ray just had to be put out of his misery.

Rudy was the dog behind the counter. He came with a name, half a steer pelvis to gnaw on, and a Christmas collar. He was all the things the woman who had been fostering him claimed and much more.

Rudy would give any Zen master a run for his money in the be-here-now department. He is alert and aware moment to moment. When excited he rises up on his back legs and hops.

And can that boy run! We take him to the dog park where he is the rabbit in the race. He is the fastest and most maneuverable dog in the park, and if he tires he slides under one of the picnic tables, protected by the legs of sitting dog owners.

But he can be calm too. He stretches out on my stomach when I am exercising. I think this is called weight training.

Our daughter says he has a grouchy old man face and that if he could talk he’d say, “Hey kid, get off my lawn!” And he kind of does, but no one is responsible for the face issued to them.

Rudy again.We are still getting to know Rudy, still missing Moo. And we will miss Rudy when he fails to live as long as a parrot but a good dog is worth the heartache.

It is said that just because your dog thinks you’re the best doesn’t make you a good person.

True, but if you want to be thoroughly approved of and unconditionally loved, nothing beats a dog.

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