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Kimba, Our First
by Rebecca Hayes
(Newtown Square, PA, USA)
Kimba came to us by airplane from South Carolina to New Jersey. Our Mixed Sheltie, Nuffin, had died at 17 years old and we were suffering empty nest syndrome. When a workshop leader came to our school and showed us a picture of an Aussie pup he had for sale, it looked so much like our black-tri Nuffin, that I knew I had to buy her. The price was right and the leader/breeder agreed to send her by plane, if we would agree to buy the flight kennel.
We met our Aussie's flight and had to wait 1-1/2 hours to have her unloaded. Meanwhile, as only an anxious mother would, I frequented the airline desk, asking, "Is the puppy warm enough? Does she have enough water? Are you sure she's alright? Would you check on her for me?" etc. With each positive answer, I returned to my car, praying the pup would survive the ordeal of a trip.
Finally the attendant brought out the kennel. We were going to take the puppy home in the kennel, but when I opened the door and she climbed into my arms, I knew that was where she would stay for the rest of the trip home.
We named the puppy, Kimba. She was a loveable, black-tri member of our family who was an instant success at everything except obedience training. She graded 35 out of 100 in training because she never wanted to leave our side. As long as there was a family member present, she was content.
Indeed, she went everywhere with us and was as attached to our grown children as she was to me and my husband. She knew she belonged as much as they did. She lived with my daughter while we traveled to Arizona to find a home in retirement. Her first experience flying must have stayed with her because when we went back to NJ to take her to Arizona several months later, Kimba went into her kennel willingly, without fanfare, and greeted us joyfully as we picked her up from the claim area. We flew back and forth twice more during her lifetime. At one time we experienced a flight delay and gate change in Chicago. I refused to board our flight until I saw Kimba's kennel safely boarded onto our transferred plane. All the passengers wanted to see the dog that aroused such loyalty in her owner. I can only say, I was returning the loyalty she had given to us over the years.
When Kimba died, we knew we would never have anything but another Aussie. Kimba convinced us that Australian Shepherds would always be our best friends.
And that will be my next story.