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.