“Among you, you have taught me more of true loyalty and patience and courtesy and divine forgiveness and solid sanity and fun and a hundred other worth-while lessons, than all the masters I have studied under.”
~Albert Payson Terhune
Writing is one of those things I have a compulsion to do. When I tried not doing it, I was miserable.
Dogs, are my passion. When I did not have them in my life, I was somewhere far beyond miserable, a period which lasted from High School through College. Because, you know, the teen and young adult years aren’t angsty enough, right?
As a child, my father raised Labradors, and my mom always had some sort of crossbred mop, like Muffin, the cock-a-peek-a-poo.
As far back as I can recall, I wanted a Collie. Part of that is due to Albert Payson Terhune’s books about Lad and the other Sunnybank dogs. The first dog I got was Tippy, who I was told was part collie. I was okay with that. Part of a collie was better than none at all. Looking back, I’m hard pressed to say what part of her might have actually been collie.
Yes, that’s me as a kid with Tippy on my left and… well, I don’t remember the dachshund. I’m certain it was one of my sister’s. I’m unclear of the circumstances, but I remember having Tippy very long. Something about her owners wanting her back??? I don’t exactly recall.
In Tippy’s stead, came Beau. My first Heart Dog.
He was, in theory, a Border Collie/Collie cross. I had him from puppyhood and we were inseparable. Right up until High School when we moved to a townhouse that didn’t allow pets, that is. Beau went to live with my sister up north, and I went into my teen years missing a part of my soul. It was eight torturous years before I would get another dog.
I came across Australian Shepherds at the stable I rode at, and immediately lost my heart to them. I recall sitting amidst a litter of pups when a little blue merle shoved through his littermates, climbed into my lap, and fixed me with a stare that claimed, “You are mine.”
And so I was.
Named Flynne, after Erroll Flynn (my favorite swashbuckler), he introduced me to a world I found inviting, challenging, and fulfilling, and brought into my life people I never would have met. He is the dog that, for a time, every other dog was measured against. My first Aussie, Flynne taught me much and was the beginning of a love affair with the breed that’s lasted thirty years.
Now, I realize there are people who don’t understand the place dogs hold in my life, or anyone’s life. I’m actually related to some of them. That’s okay. We all have our thing. I don’t understand the place golf holds in some people’s lives. I’m related to some of them. For me, however, I can’t imagine a time when I won’t have a dog by my side. Been there, done that, not going back.
If you’re interested in reading more about my current dogs and all our adventures, I invite you to wander over to my Shadowdance Farm blog and take a peek.