Saturday, August 18, 2007

What I Know So Far

The days rise and fall, folding into each other and flying away like leaves off my car on the highway.*

(*It’s kind of funny actually…you can tell we don’t have a garage because my car looks like Pigpen from Peanuts …trailing great swaths of dead leaves as they dry and blow off at 60 mph)

The benefit of keeping up with a journal---or a blog—is that it somehow defines time enough to hold to. What WERE those first months with Maud like? What stories do I want to keep? Which ones will become fascinating little clues to who she is; which will show me how she has changed and grown?

This is what I know so far:

She came to us with impeccable manners, sitting to greet people, sitting to have her lead put on, walking very calmly right at our sides when we go out. On the grooming table she is a dream. She lies down to eat. She thoroughly enjoys the library of beds she has to lie on; she prefers stuffed toys or plastic bottles to play with; she doesn’t much like vegetables. She is a happy girl. She is, indeed, verbally gifted and will run outside just to bark her serious big bark. She paces when she is bored, and she paces on walks because we can’t go fast enough to keep her at a trot. When she lies down she heaves a great leonine sigh, like an old lady or an enormous male lion. She floats on her feet.

Sometimes when I’m getting ready for bed, the lights are off and everyone else is asleep, she’ll get up onto the couch in the living room just to see herself up there. Like trying on a hat.

It was quite easy to turn her opinion of the car around. At first it made her queasy and uncomfortable, but I took Flynnie, a handful of chicken and Maudie out into the driveway to sit in it for a few days in a row. And on the third day we drove to Burgerville and shared a burger and ever since…well...she loves the car. She rides quietly in the back in her crate and looks forward to our next adventure.

She is easy to take places, calm, unflappable, confident, and nice. She’s truly a nice person….friendly to MOST everyone. (It’s funny, if she meets someone I’m ambivalent about, she will often ignore them utterly.) She works the room and doesn’t get attached anywhere, although she has her favorites.

Thus, her loyalty is very touching to me. When she comes back to find me and check in, she is coming back to check on her partner. Yesterday, when we were visiting some smoothie cousins, at one point she lay down between H and me and laid her head on my sneaker. It was a gesture of ownership in the finest sense of the word….in the sense of belonging.

She is lots of fun to train, being very very bright and willing, forgiving and up beat. Best of all she has a sense of humor and I get her jokes. More and more we become a team, the lines of communication opening up wider. On our walks, she will sometimes put herself into heel position, like she’s asking me to dance.

One area of some consternation is that although she has the gentlest of souls, she is a bit clumsy and she seems not to understand the difference between her 60lbs and the papillons 8… indeed I think she thinks she might BE a papillon.* It requires some vigilance on our parts: we would never leave them all alone in the house, and when we go into the backyard, the papillons go first and get to arrange themselves before she goes barreling through the door.
(* think The Ugly Dachshund)

Another is my own adoration of her name. Maudie. I say it far too often in far too many situations so that she has begun to tune it out. (Like that cartoon….”blah blah blah blah Maudie blah blah blah”) It’s just that I LIKE it so.
But I need to work on that.

And so. Six months after her arrival we are preparing to go on our first interview at Dove Lewis to assess her temperament and our suitability as a team to do therapy work. I have high hopes…yes I allow myself to have them…as well as faith, that more useful and cogent of psychic states….that we will do well and start a new life together making the world a little calmer, a little more optimistic, a little more beautiful. She is a collie after all…she goes trailing beauty after her….

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