My name for this puppy was not an original name for I named her after a TV collie star named Lassie. After all she was part border collie and the name seemed to fit.
We were constant companions as both of us grew up. Where I went, she went. At the end of the school day as I got off of the school bus, there she would be at the end of the driveway waiting for me wiggling with joy at my return home. After kisses on my face both of us would turn and trudge together up the long driveway to the house comfortable in each other's companionship.
Where I walked, she walked with me. Where I ran, she ran with me. When I swam in the lake she would wait on the shore for me patiently. She did not like the water and did not swim voluntarily. However when it came to being on the water in a boat, it was a whole different experience and she loved being with me when I took the family boat out on the lake. The minute she saw me gather together the life vests and oars, she would run to the boat and wait for me. As the boat would putter across the lake with the 5HP Evinrude engine she would stand at the bow with the wind blowing her ears and fur with her nose on full active mode. She loved our “adventures” out on the water whether I was fishing; or, simply taking a nap in the bottom of the boat on a warm Indian summer afternoon.
She was a finicky eater much to the dismay of my parents….and to me. However, her love and trust of me were so complete that even when she would not eat…if I were to take little pieces of her food, I could feed them to her one at a time by hand and she would eat.
When I was sick, she would go into despair. One year when I was 13, I came down with an illness that had me out of school and in bed for six weeks. Her despair reached such a depth that my parents feared for her well being. You see, she would go to the end of the driveway each day to wait for the school bus and for me. She knew the time I would be there. However, since I was sick and in bed the school bus would go flying by without stopping. She would sit there quietly at the end of the driveway for awhile before turning around and walking back to her dog house with her tail between her legs. She would not emerge again until the next day at the school bus time and it would happen all over again. She stopped eating entirely and lost weight. My parents already worried about my health became frantic with the deterioration of her health.
Although my parents did not allow pets in the house, their fear for her health overrode that restriction and one day they let her into the house and into my room. When she saw me in my bed she exploded with joy jumping all over me and all over the bed. We could not get enough of our hugs and kisses (doggy kisses too). From that day forward, we spent every afternoon together in my sickroom. She got better and gained back her weight; and, interestingly I turned the corner on the sickness I had and I too began to get better. The two of us healed together…a dog and her human…lifetime companions.
The years passed and eventually came the year when I went off to college and left behind my Lassie along with my Mom and my Dad. It was funny how she loved both of my parents yet when I was home, no one else existed. There were many joyous reunions during those years when I went home for weekends or for Christmas and/or Easter breaks.
Eventually I graduated from college and continued on with my life doing the things the young must do…jobs, friends, marriage. Yet she remained my constant loving companion for each time I arrived home our love for each other was communicated in walks together, “talks” together, loving petting, scratching that good spot behind her ears…all those things that good friends do together.
Then there came a weekend many years later and I realized…we all realized…she was getting old and her health was failing. I remember sitting on the front steps of the house with her sitting alongside me. My arm was around her and her head was pressed against my chest and she made these moans I’d never heard before. Yet, even though these sounds were new to me I also knew what she was telling me. She was telling me she was tired and sad. I also truly believe she was telling me good-bye.
Later that week on a warm and sunny afternoon in the shade of the beech tree in the front yard, her spirit left us. That afternoon a part of my heart left with her.
Over the years since then I’ve had other pets…cats…that I have loved dearly yet she was the only dog I have ever had.
Somehow I know she is at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for me and I can’t wait for the reunion. It will be a joyous moment when we can run through the fields together once again.