Last night I didn’t write at all. I was hot on a new trail and it kept me going until 4. Two ideas converged in one and I had a small brainstorm.
On our walk last night, as we turned to head back, papillons dancing like sled dogs, M asked if all this spaniel talk was a compromise, if I really still wanted a collie, but because he is too big, I thought I should compromise. Let the record show that in previous documentation, the same thought had surfaced on these pages.
The good DR D.S. who moved from WA to Wi and that CRR suggested I contact, plainly voiced concern about the active feet of the young English cocker--large, strong active feet --and that she would worry about injury to the papillons. If you were to get an older, calmer dog, you could avoid that boisterousness. She said.
¸Take them one at a time. #1
I planted myself and stood in the echoey grooming hall behind the Lochlaren crew as they groomed collies. Three enormously coated collies on tables, lined up, facing where I stood so that the backs of the groomers were to me, thus allowing me an unabashed stare. I stood and just waited to feel something. My mind elbowed its way to the front of my consciousness, knocking my mid chakra on its keister, and said things like “Cheesh, that ‘a lot of hair on a really big dog.” And that’s just a dog, not a Greek god.”
When I pivoted to the left and walked towards where I was to meet an EC breeder, I felt as if I had divested myself of a spell. I was more interested in the weight and silk of the little spaniel whose tail was like a wind up toy with an endless loop for a spring. I wanted the heavy thick jowls, the enormous eyelashes and big dark eyes; the fat black feet at the end of those well boned legs. I thought I was free, having placed the descendants of Sunnybank back into the pages of a book I could push onto the shelf. And in a way I was. There was another book, a whole new world to visit.
What if the 4th dog were not so heavy and boisterous as a baby spaniel, but was a smaller version of the icon that lingers on the spine of that book. “The look of eagles” Was it possible that the reserved little Shetland sheepdog could make a therapy career? How much easier on the mind and the conscience and the access between rooms and dogs that would be. Why, they were like big papillons who looked like small collies...could this be an overlooked corner of shiny perfection? Or an idealogical compromise? There were, after all, a hefty handful of Shelties I have seen who were quite shiny themselves. Not dull and hidden, or frantic. Some I’ve seen in pictures. One I remember meeting a long time ago in W.Mass, at Kassank Kennels, when I had NO dog and wanted a sheltie. (I have wanted a sheltie on and off my entire dog wanting career. And every time I start to want one, it comes as a kind of revelation. One such time is so vivid, every time I hear the Rolling Stones Ruby Tuesday, I materialize in the back room on Cotswold Road, a scratchy 45 on the player, the door to the veranda half open, all my cousins away. I stood at the window and looked down at the corner where the enormous houses with there even bigger and more ancient trees hulked in the grey evening and thought...a sheltie. I want a sheltie. How could they possibly object to such a perfect dog...?)
These 2 thoughts converged and became one in which I shifted down and looked for an older puppy, a sheltie or an EC...and then I would divert the worry. As far as the FS goes, I would need her to grow out a little, make herself clear, declare herself in terms of size and vigor, while A fidgets wanting to be sure each baby has a secure future wrapped up. So I had to write that letter and send it off. And try not to think that I will disappoint her, or that she will feel I have mis represented myself. I simply did not evaluate the idea of an older outed dog as highly as I might have. I had a kind of puppy fever...and who wouldn’t. Just look at those faces.
And there is the arc, the banner that waves above it all, which suggests a breath of faith that the right dog at the right time will appear.