Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lee Pitts - The day your dog dies

She was the only dog in my life I actually paid money for and yet she was about the most useless. I can remember the day we got her like it was yesterday. I only wish it was, maybe then I could have prevented her death.

To the Working Kelpie Council of Australia her name was Ballydine Patriece but we just called her Aussie. We picked her out when she was just a seed in a womb roaming the paddocks of Ballydine Kelpie Stud, Uralla, New South Wales, Australia. I suppose I always resented the fact that Aussie visited Hawaii before I did but that’s where she spent her quarantine period. Aussie came to America as a reluctant guest. When she arrived in San Francisco she took one step out of the wire cage, took a look around that weird city and immediately tried to get back into her cage.

Aussie had some real famous parents you never heard of and I had visions of becoming a famous dog trainer. We tried to get her bred and make a lot of money off her ovaries but Aussie refused to conceive.

She was supposed to be a working dog, but I think she came from a non-working strain. In fact, as I look back now Aussie had several bad habits. She refused to ride in the back of the truck preferring instead the comfort of the cab. When we worked cattle we had to lock her in the house and when we worked sheep there were times we unexpectedly ate mutton for dinner. Aussie caused us several sleepless nights, usually by barking at intruders that existed only in her canine mind. And boy did she cost us money. Her football knee operation alone was $225.

But if Aussie was not the perfect dog neither were we perfect pet parents. We never gave her a birthday present or sent her to obedience school. My wife never knitted her a sweater or made her homemade doggie biscuits. And I suppose there were rare occasions when we argued in front of her. But that was only natural because Aussie was our one and only child.

Aussie was a member of our family. If you’ll pardon the parental pride I could brag that Aussie was loyal, good looking and funny. She was the source of several stories and I never had to pay her royalties. She kept my wife company when I was on the road and my wife insists she was much better company. A better listener for sure. Aussie hardly ever got sick and had no really disgusting habits. She had a strong eye, a big heart and was always glad to see us.

That’s why I cried the day Aussie died.

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