by Kym C
(Colorado Springs, CO)
Aussies are good for the soul. I wanted one since I was a kid. My mom was into Shelties back then, although, we had one of everything pretty much over the years. We had a Great Dane, a Collie or two, a Wolf hybrid, you name it we had it. She wasn't real partial when it came to a good dog though.
Mom was never real impressed with the Aussies, she thought they were kind of goofy (and I mean not very smart, not as in funny). She saw them alot at dog shows (which we both participated) obedience mostly. They didn't have agility and stuff back then really. Never conformation though, she thought it was always too political.
Anyway, I decided when I was old enough and on my own that's what I was gonna have. A blue merle (my favorite) male of my very own.
When I was 19 and got my own place, things weren't 'perfect' like all 19 year olds think. I was having LOTS of problems. I NEEDED A DOG! They had always been my sanity, my security, my stability. I suffer from bipolar disease and can be very unstable at times. Well, then fate stepped in. A call from some friends on the side of a mountain (I live in Colorado) about an aggressive dog that was attacking everyone. I raced up the mountain, pulled into the area, opened my door and low and behold a blue merle Aussie jumps into my car, and gives me tons of kisses! It was love at first sight!
After getting my new friend home, I knew the right thing to do under 'normal' circumstances is to find the rightful owner and return the dog, right? Well, not necessarily. Don't get me wrong, I am THE best person to call when your pet is missing. I will do EVERYTHING possible to return or find your pet. BUT, this poor dog was in the WORST condition ever! He was about 8 months old, about 20 pounds underweight, terrified of men, bicycles, motorcycles, AND when I took him in for a vet visit, he was FULL of BB's and buckshot!
I never did find his rightful owners, and I did look, although NOT to return him, (I really think he was dumped there anyway). We all know how loyal Aussies are, and he seemed like he was waiting for someone, never wanting to leave the area, not something a stray would do. It was meant to be. I just knew it. I needed him and he needed me.
We were inseparable. He went to work with me (at a horse barn) he slept with me, he protected me. He gained weight, and confidence with time, love, food, and LOTS of exercise! He was my show dog in both agility and obedience, my herding dog, my protector, my clown, my 'shrink', and my saviour.
He had come to my rescue more than once. Too many to actually count. There were MANY close encounters and he was there ready to protect me every time. He had saved me from everything to being kicked by horses, being chased by cows and bulls, snakes, strangers coming to my house, and weirdos who needed rides at gas stations. Even when I would have liked to give that 'nice person' a ride he would have no part of it. Over his dead body he would tell me. He was always right.
I had a baby years later. My friends told me I should get rid of him before the baby came. They said he was 'unpredictable' and 'aggressive' but they didn't know the 'real' Awesome. Not like I did. First of all he LOVED children, babies, humans, kittens, puppies, it didn't matter. He just didn't trust adults. They had once betrayed him and he would never forget.
He LOVED the baby! She was his pride and joy. He couldn't wait for me to hold her so he could nuzzle her and lick her. He would get up on his back legs when she was crying or fussing and come running to find me and tell me something was wrong. He looked after her playing in the yard as she got older. No one was going to come close to her! Getting older still, she needed her 'alone time' and would go off walking. I would insist she take Awesome to keep her safe, and he always did.
Once my kids started school, I had to go back to work and get a job unfortunately where he could not come with me. We were both not happy about the situation, but I had to do it. He had no problems showing me just how unhappy he was. The first day I left he was sitting in my window, with the most disappointed look on his face. When I got home, he was still in the same place as when I left but he obviously did not STAY there. I had walked into the house to find he had eaten half of my new couch! The second day, the same thing, sitting in the window, before and after I had left. This time the other half of my couch! He had also taken the laces out of all of my shoes, and taken all the clothes out of my dresser drawers and made a bed IN my bed with them! All I could do was do what we would all do, I dropped my jaw in shock, and shake my head. How could I blame him? He missed me and I missed him. He did eventually come to terms with the arrangement though.
A few years later, I adopted a female tri aussie from a foster home. He had saved her from the humane society. She too had had a tough life. She had originally come from a puppy mill, then from an abusive home. I was told she was spayed. To my surprise, she was not, and I had my first and ONLY litter of Aussies. A litter of 3. I had kept one, and sold the other 2 to great homes. He was a great father.
After 17 years of loyalty, companionship, and friendship, and I knew the time was coming near. The time we all dread. The time to say goodbye. As much as I tried to come to terms with this necessary part of dog companionship, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. This had always been my mothers job. I had never had to do this before at least for my own dog, but I tried to prepare. We all know no matter how long we 'prepare' we are never prepared, but I knew he would let me know when it was time and I would honor that. That would be the least I could do for my dear friend.
He was doing well for an old man, very active, still his noble self and then one day it happened. He had a stroke. There was nothing left for me to do for him. No cures, no medications, this was it. BUT, I did the right thing, I let him go. My heart was broken, it could not be healed.
I continued to 'step over' him, where he used to lay in my hallway for a long time after that. Getting used to him being gone was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I still miss him everyday, although, it has been several years since he has been gone.
His daughter is beautiful and so much like him, I am thankful for her presence. She has made it a little easier to deal with his absence. She too is a clown, smarter than her own good, loyal, and beautiful. Maybe she was meant to be after all.
I continue to own Aussies and I always will. They have a special place in my heart, and make me a better person.
Thank you for giving me a place to share my experience, and my stories about an incredible breed and an amazing dog.
My heart is still with you Awesome. I love you. 'Til we meet again my friend.