I’m not going to introduce myself; talking about myself is not one of my favorite pastimes, and I suppose if I keep this up long enough, you’ll catch hints here and there about where I’m from and the experiences I’ve had.
Instead, I’m going to introduce the four-legged creatures in my life. In reality, they are the ones who make me who I am; they are basically an extension of my personality. They’re also the most important things in my life. I suppose my family and friends should be, but in the same manner that one’s children become the most important things in their lives, my dogs and cats are mine. I am solely responsible for their well-being, their happiness, and therefore it is their priority that molds the course of my day to day. And I’m completely okay with that; this life isn’t for everyone, but it’s for me. Plus, getting me to talk about much else is a feat in itself.
The first on our list is Rugby. He’s the first on every one of my lists, and may always be. The ridiculously irritating emotional side of me will come out just writing this; this dog is the best friend I have ever had. He is my “heart dog”. When I was seventeen years old, my first Aussie, Digger, was hit by a car and killed. I don’t know if I’ll ever not blame myself for this, and I know I will never forget the feeling when I came home that night from work with the dog bed I had just spent my paycheck on, asking where he was. I cried for days. That summer I went to live for a bit with my father in Oregon. My dad (I’ll try to act like an adult and refrain from calling him “Daddy” for the purposes of this blog) is the one who introduced me to Aussies way back when. I was holding up okay as far as being dog-less went, but one say after hiking we stopped to buy cherries from a roadside stand, and I saw a little head pop up over a low wall. I knew that face; it was an Aussie puppy. I could have very well pup-napped the little thing, but instead I just cuddled it and held back the urge to cry. That night I started looking for puppies in the area. I found two breeders, and set my mind on one in Gearhart. I wanted a blue merle, and I wanted an eight week old. Digger had been a red tricolor, and I got him at six months old, so I wanted something different. There was one other breeder about an hour away, but they only had a four month old red tricolor. I immediately decided against that puppy and started making arrangements with the Gearhart breeder. However, one day we decided to go hiking at Saddle Mountain, which happened to be right by the “other” breeder. My dad convinced me we should stop by and just check them out – what could it hurt? We had time to kill anyways.
Rugby was being housed alone in a stall. All of his siblings had been purchased long ago when they were little and squishy. Rugby was goofy, lanky already, with a silly face. They let him out of the stall and I knelt down to say hello. His paws went to my shoulders, and he tucked his muzzle up under my chin and just stood there, hugging me. It was all I could do to not cry in front of the whole barn of people. Needless to say, I had my puppy. We brought him home the next week, and I took him everywhere with me until it was time to fly back to South Carolina. He actually had to stay behind for another two weeks until my stepmother flew out, because my plane wasn’t outfitted for live cargo.
Since then, Rugby has been my constant companion. He is the world’s most amazing dog, and I promise I’m not biased. He’s beautiful, funny, talkative, athletic, friendly, cuddly, naughty, short-tempered, stubborn, adventurous, and too smart for his own good. Remember how I said dogs are an extension of their people? See, you’re getting to know me already. He adores all people, especially my family and friends. I take him to restaurants and bars, and my friends are happier to see him then they are me, I think. He does this terribly obnoxious squealing thing when he’s excited to see someone, and jumps up, spins his body around and falls into their arms, because he knows he’s notallowed to put his paws on people. He despises puppies and takes other dogs’ actions way too seriously. He won’t start a fight, but good luck getting him to quit one. He fights dirty, too, because he knows that the other dog will bite his neck, which happens to be protected by a massive mane, so while they do that he grabs a leg and thrashes. It’s quite ugly.
He tolerates my boyfriends, but essentially uses them for attention and play, until he’s ready to cuddle with mom. Then he steps on their faces while he jumps to see me. He is protective in what I call the “Lassie” way, as opposed to the “Cujo” way. I don’t know that he would ever bite a person, no matter what they were doing to me or him, but he will sink his teeth into my shirt and drag me across a room to remove me from a situation. He hates livestock, dirt bikes, and trampolines. He loves hiking and camping.
Rugby will be seven years old in a week. I see the white hairs coming in on his face and it fills me with sadness. I need him to live forever. Where will I ever find another friend like him?
I realize now how long this has gotten. I’ve got to go; there’s a temporary foster coming in from Fayetteville shortly. I’ll write about the girls later. I promise I won’t just write about the dogs – but I will write mostly about them, so be prepared.