When I was growing up and devouring dog books, my favorites were those written by Albert Peyson Terhune. Terhune was a real-life owner of prize-winning collies and he wrote lots of books about them, some based on true events, some fictional stories. He wrote them for adults, but surprisingly found a large audience of children too. I longed to have my own collie and the closest I ever had was after Walt and I were married and had two kids when my cousin Peach, who at that time raised shelties, gave me Jeff, a wonderful dog who was afraid of his shadow for most of his life, but who looked like a collie and I loved him.
I loved reading about Terhune's Lad a Dog. I don't know if Lad was his first collie, but he was the first that he wrote about. I loved hearing about how Lad spent all of his time lying at "the master's" feet under his desk, or how he spent so much time grooming his paws.
Lizzie wasn't a collie, but she was my self-appointed guardian. Most of the time she was as unobtrusive as a Secret Service agent, but wherever I was, she was eventually there, not making a big deal of it, just being here with me. This included spending many hours in the bed I fixed for her in my newly decorated office, which was as close as she could get to being at my feet.
If I got up from the desk and moved to the family room, within five minutes, Lizzie would casually saunter into the family room and climb up on the couch.
Lizzie's "working hours" seemed to be about 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. At night she slept on a chair in the living room across from the couch where I sleep. If I got up at 3 and moved to the recliner in the family room, she didn't move, but around 5, I'd hear her sauntering into the family room and climbing onto the couch. If it was 11 p.m. and I still wasn't getting up to go into the living room, she'd sigh, get off the couch, and retire to the living room.
After moving back to the family room at 3, I usually fall asleep in the recliner, and often wake up around 6, but I stay cuddled under my quilt for an hour or so, pretending to be asleep. Lizzie's eyes never left me. She either raised her head, or kept them on her paws, but her eyes were always opened and when she either figured out that I was awake or decided she wanted me to get up, she would get off the couch and come over to wake me up.
I missed her last night. I missed seeing the white blob that was her body on the chair across from me in the living room, and I missed looking over at the couch when I woke up and not seeing her staring at me.
When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is feed the dogs. I pick up Lizzie's bowl and then Polly's, I fill them both and add cottage cheese, then I put Lizzie's down and then Polly's. This morning I started to go toward Lizzie's, but stopped myself and went to get Polly's. I filled Polly's bowl and started to put it where Lizzie's food, stopping myself after a few steps. Old habits need to be broken.
Lizzie was like Lad in that she spent most of her waking time cleaning her paws. Unlike Lad, you'd never know it to look at her feet, which always seemed to be dirty, but she left puddles of drool wherever she was because of the licking. I won't miss those puddles.
Two nights before she died, she curled up on family room couch and put her head on the pillow there, like it was a real bed. She was so cute I wanted to take her picture but I knew that if I got up to get my cell phone, she would move, so I didn't. I figured I'd take the picture the next time she did it. I didn't realize that would be the last time.
When we got home from the vet's yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to take Lizzie's collar off. I called the office, but the people who cremate the animals had already picked her up. The vet gave me their phone number and I called. The nice lady told me that when they go through all the stuff they collect after the cremations, they would try to find Lizzie's collar. Today she called and said they found it and will deliver it to the vet's office tomorrow, so we will at least have that bit of Lizzie back, since we chose not to have her ashes returned to us.
Ned has started a new project around here.
We've been talking about putting in a ceiling light. Right now the only light in the kitchen is over the sink and the light on the stove. Walt has had some misgivings about the project which Ned waved away. He's finally tired of hearing about us "going" to put in a new light so he decided he would take matters into his own hand.
Today he spent the whole day draping the room and washing the ceiling. Tomorrow he will paint and the next day he will get the light in. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to think of not having to cook in the dark any more!