Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Love Affair From the Beginning

Many of you know Mattie, one of the two remaining dogs that seems to tether Cap'n Steve and myself to home. Now she doesn't do that by any conscious effort on her part, we seem to make that decision on our own. But she is THE dog... She is MY dog.. She is THE Mattie.. an 11 yo Australian Shepherd that is huge, at least as female Aussies go. She is the apple of my eye, the "chosen child", the bossiest dog, the loyal companion, my love. She is fodder for the camera and my eternal practice of depth of field..since I have no small children to practice with, she suffices and is willing to do so, thanks in no small part to several obedience classes! She is smart, and unfortunate for her, and me, she was the first dog I ever really trained. We did obedience and agility and she was a quick study at both. She loved the frisbee and tennis ball and still does, but a torn ACL 2 years ago has put an end to those days. When I first laid eyes on the cabin, my first thought was not of our desires for a home out of the city, but how great this would be for the dogs (4 at the time, 2 corgis, Lass the BC, and Mattie). She spent the first several years in the river. She could not be outside playing without taking a dip or two. She was 2 when we purchased the cabin, and they seemed meant for each other. She chased rabbits, geese and turkeys, made peace with ducks and squirrels..She barks at passers by on HER river, letting them know that she sees them and they are on "her turf". Her days now are pretty content to hang around the groomed areas (4.5 acres), even staying loyally by my side as I do my chores. She loves summer as it brings the wild blackberries that she pulls from the thorny vines with ease. She relishes fall because it brings wild cherries which she gorges on until we make her come in, as we try to avoid the inevitable regurgitation of 10 too many cherries. She is showing the signs of aging. Her stiffness in the cool damp mornings has me feeling sorry for her. As I reach for Ibuprofen for myself, I check to see if she is in need of Ascriptin or Rimadyl. Rimadyl, now there is the drug of choice in our home.. When Tucker (numero Uno Corgi) began using it 6 or so years ago for his arthritis, and I got my dog back, so to speak.. I have been buying in bulk ever since.. Bogey (numero dos Corgi) was on it for 3 years, and Lass has been on a daily regime for the last year. I pop Mattie a Rimadyl on the really cold evenings/mornings, but as summer approaches and the weather warms, she will be fine without - at least for this season.. I fully expect within a year or so for her to be on the daily regime of this miracle drug. She will be the last to go of the dogs, and probably in the not too distant future. I can't imagine this place without her, but hopefully for me I won't have to for awhile.

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