Happy Birthday Dutchie Doo...

Last night I was sitting in my recliner, and as usual, a black and white fluffy dog slowly walked up to my chair and wanted up.  Years ago, this same dog would leap from nearly five feet away and land in the middle of my lap and turn over to scratch her back, wiggling from side to side and almost burning a hole in my pants. She would turn circles with her body, finding the right angle and land with a plop.  Today, I reached down and gently placed her feet on the side of the chair, grabbing behind her front legs and pulled her up.  Dutchess was now in her spot.

On December 19, 2005, Dutchess was born on a farm in southwest Kentucky near the Tennessee border, and last night, as she looked at me with her head upside down, I went back to the day she was born and to the day she came to the farm.  Dutchess came from a litter of four girls and five boys, and honestly, you could find her littermates from the police reports and trouble runs that have been filed over the years by her brothers and sisters but make no mistake, she is the ringleader.  To say she was mischevious is a vast understatement, no malice, just having fun, and will always be known as the original Party Girl here at the farm.

In her younger days, she had no boundaries when it came to fun and food, and the competition was equal; she wanted it all, all the time, and she usually got it.  She could multi-task with the best of them, no, she could multi-task better than any dog I have ever seen.  Dutchess came to the farm when we were in a breeding program with Clancy and Molly and Dutchess wasn't spayed. One of my favorite stories is when she came into season; she bred with Clancy. 

Not being very experienced dog owners, Dutchess was in heat.  Elaine and I were playing Frisbee with the dogs, and all the dogs were running and playing and having a grand time.  All of a sudden, we looked over at Dutchess, and Clancy was... well, you know!  We left them alone, and while it takes about 15 minutes, we moved away from them and Dutchess seeing this pulled Clancy to get a Frisbee and come with us.  When she went into labor, it started when she was playing Frisbee, and as she squatted oddly and low and behold, she had her first pup.  I guess its name should have been Frisbee.

Dutchess was always active in everything she did; she would run through any barrier and thicket on the barm.  She had a habit of running right to you, and when three or four feet away, she would turn around, stand on her back legs against your legs, and lick your face.  I once saw her do to a man with his family who came to visit.  She knocked him down because he wasn't prepared, and I rolled my eye and apologized.  I did mention that she was trying to kiss him, and he thought it was an odd way to do that.

Dutchess has always been a Superdog at the farm.  Loving, sweet, active, and would rather play than do anything else in the world.  Now her life has changed, and she will only walk at a quick pace, and when some of the dogs play, she will just sit and watch the others.  It's been a pleasure to and honor to be invited into her life, and hopefully, we will have many more days, but time will tell.

As I sit with her and she sleeps and dreams in my lap, she is comfortable.  She has lumps and bumps all over her, and her eyes are clouded.  I hope she will live forever, but as we know, death is always in the shadow of a dog.  As of now, I will rub and stroke her face, soothing her as she chased rabbits in my lap, but one day, it will stop.  I only hope that when she catches that rabbit and her final breath were taken, she is where her second home was, in Daddy's lap.  Happy birthday, Dutchess, have a great week.

Not Again...

Elaine has spent the weekend with her side of the family, and that means I can do anything I want, eat anything I want because I am king of the hill, sort of.  While I am in charge, that means I am also responsible too, but of course, I am never wrong in Elaine's eyes... HAHAHAHA Just the opposite...

After doing a load of laundry and straightening up the house, I was headed to the store to pick up a few things Elaine had on the list.  I like a list, and if something is on it, I buy it, and if not, I don't, makes it easier for me because I'm not an impulse buyer, Elaine is!

Elaine picking up bread and milk
Me using the list
Saturday was a sunny day, and as usual, we went for our morning walk, and while most of the dogs would run through the woods, Dutchess held back close to me, and we walked together, and it was very peaceful.  At one time, she was our most active dog and would outplay, out swim and out jump any other dog on the farm.  She is a wonder dog in more ways than one with me wondering what she will do next.

Putting my shoes on, getting my wallet, I grabbed the list and put the dogs in the kennel.  Each one always goes to their door and wait's their turn, but something is wrong, very wrong.  I am missing a dog.  I always count, but I'm one short, and it was Dutchess.  She must be outside the kennel.  "Dutchess, where you?"  She was nowhere to be found, which is concerning because she associates the kennel with a place to get food.  She has never, and I mean never misses a meal.  She must be in the house. 

I went back to the house and called her name, "Dutchess, where you?"  I walked to the upstairs, nothing, middle floor, nothing, and the 1st floor, nothing.  This is a little concerning.  The thing about Dutchess is if she can't find you, she will bark at the back door wanting in, no matter what.    Back to the porch, I go and walk all the way around it, no Dutchess.  I go back inside and go into each room and check every nook and cranny from the top of the house to the bottom, nothing.  I check the garage and mudroom, nothing.  Dutchess is never late or unresponsive.  After my third trip scouring the house, now I'm worried.

Knowing she is not in the house and rechecking the kennel, Dutchess is gone.  She has to be here, but where and as I change to my boots to walk the muddy trails in the woods, I think the worse.  Several things pop into my mind, and none of them are good.  Is she hurt? Did she take a nap, or has she lay down and pass away somewhere in the woods?  My mind is going in a thousand directions.  Elaine is not home, and she always finds stuff even if I need to call her, she knows, but this time, I'm on my own.  Just two days ago, Shepp's grave marker was delivered and placed, and will I need to get another? 

As I head out with my work boots on, I dread the sight I may find, and all of the emotions of the last few months are coming up with the losses I have had.  The thought in my head are bouncing like ping balls falling on a concrete floor.  I head into the woods to look for her, but before I make that final turn.

I'm right here
Dutchess is snacking on an appetizer of deer poop on a small patch of grass where the deer sometimes graze.  "Dutchess," I say "DUTCHESS" and nothing, she is busy feasting on her favorite food.  I go up and touch her, and she responds with a wagging tail and happy eyes.  In her old age, she has lost some of her hearing and can't hear everything.  Getting old sucks, even for dogs.  Happily, we trot to the kennel where she gets the main course.  No dog kisses tonight...