Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Dog Jessie

I'm a sucker for animals, I have cradled more orphan pigs and lambs than I can even count.  I loved trying to nurse them back to health and watching them thrive.  Later, during my married life I wanted to save other critters looking for a home.  We have had geese, a goat here and there, runt pigs, dogs, cats and even lovebirds.  It didn't help that I worked for a veterinarian for a few years.  My children still call me today to see if I will take a cat looking for a home, or just because I live in the country, could I adopt this dog because someone found it or it's a dog they can't keep.  I won't get on my soapbox about people getting cute little critters and not thinking of them as grown animals, then try to "get rid of them". 

Anyway, when I worked for a local veterinarian there would be people bringing a stray in for shots or neutering.  Many would be looking for homes for these animals.  That is how I acquired Jessie.  She was a beautiful, sweet face, soft eyed, mostly Lab dog.  She had come to this person as a stray in the middle of winter and then proceeded to have a litter of puppies.  She was barely a year old herself.  The person bringing her to the vet was having her spayed and taking her to the Humane Society and they were going to find her a home.  Well, she didn't get that far, I fell in love and took her home with me in the car that evening.  I remember her sitting quietly in the passenger seat beside me, she looked at me with those soulful eyes and we fell in love.

Then next day the anesthesia wore completely off and I had an overgrown puppy romping through my flowers, following me around like I was her mother and running everywhere.  She knew no boundaries.  All my other dogs stayed in the yard or horse pasture, they knew their limits, they had learned them as little puppies.  Jessie had no clue! 

I remember watching her hunt in the horse pasture, she instinctively knew how to point a bird!  I'd never seen anything like her attraction to birds, she would get real still, pick up that front foot and her tail was up and she would stand at perfect point attention.  It was awesome to watch.  Later she and my little Yorkie/cross dog would hunt mice together in the field.  Jessie would smell them out and Gabby would make the kill.  Hours later they would come in soaked from the morning dew on the grass and being exhausted they would sleep the rest of the day away. 

Now Jessie has the rare privilege to be a house dog.  I don't really like her in the house, I like having barn dogs too.  She is just big and hairy and sheds year round.  The little dogs in the house are another story and they don't shed.  It is a constant effort in cleaning and you all know how I feel about that!

One Christmas Eve the dogs went out at chore time with us to feed the horses.  When it came time to come in, Jessie was nowhere to be found.  I called and called.  We walked the road in front of our house in the dark, looking to see if she'd been hit.  Calling and calling.........  Nothing.  Finally we gave up and went to bed, it would be morning Christmas morning before long. 

Hitching a ride is easier than running anymore.....
Next morning we got up and low and behold, Jessie was waiting at the back door, anxious to be inside from the cold.  We welcomed her joyfully.  A couple days later our neighbor came over and sat down to visit.  It was then we found out the rest of the story about Jessie's dissapearance.  Jessie had gone to our neighbors to eat the cat food in his garage.  He'd run her out before and never told us about it.  Christmas Eve she got locked in when he closed the garage door, he hadn't seen her sneak in.  Our neighbor lives a quarter mile away, but on a cold clear night, I am sure Jessie heard me calling.  She proceeded to tear all the insulation off the bottom part of the garage door, as high as she could jump.  She was trying to come home.  Sometime during her confinement she jumped up and hit the garage door opener, door opened and she came home.  Our neighbor, thought he'd been robbed in the night, with his garage wide open the next morning.  He knew when he saw the mess, who had done it.  It did solve the mystery about our stray dog and her ability to "find" food.

She was obsessed with food, she'd eat anything, she'd get into trash, clean the ground under horse feed buckets and eat an entire loaf of bread off the counter.  She was constantly getting into trouble.  When she ate food off the picnic table one day because no one was watching, it was almost the last straw.  She had never learned her puppy lessons about people food and dog food.  We had to put up a low electric wire around the yard to keep her home, it worked and she did become a respectable dog.  Oh, she still has this thing in her brain that keeps her from starving, but she stopped stealing from the neighbors cats and she doesn't take from the tables anymore.  Maybe it has to do with age, she is almost 12 now.  She still has that beautiful face and those sweet eyes, it is speckled with gray now.  She loves her people and she still lives in the house, not the barn. 

Well, she is this moment trying to take down the back door because we are inside and she is outside and I need to sweep the floor of dog hair again..........

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