My Old Dog

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My Old Dog
We found her on the internet. She was in an animal shelter. Her previous owners had moved to a condo in Texas and could not bring her. We bought a kennel for $350, so that she wouldn’t escape.
The next morning, she sat on the front step, tail wagging. It hadn’t taken her long to figure out how to dig her way under the kennel. She had never tried this at the animal shelter.

Living on a farm, we had had many dogs. Most of them were purebreds and high strung. Our last dog, Bruno, was euthanized due to cancer at the time our last child, Erland left for college. Since all our children now lived away, we knew we would do a fair amount of traveling and decided not to have any more dogs. But then, the deer moved in. They ate all my roses and sharpened their antlers against the young trees. We no longer could have a vegetable garden and our pond became a deer drinking spot. So, it was a simple decision, really.

We decided on a mutt and Anne is a black dog, a perfect companion for us. In fact, Anne and I are really close. When I am outside, I don’t have to worry about talking to myself, because I always preface every sentence with “Anne”. And she understands she really does. When I walk out of the house in nice clothes with a purse, she walks with me to the garage, wagging her tail sadly. But when I come out of the house with jeans and a sweatshirt, she jumps for joy and races down the drive way.

At first, when we had her, she had the habit of jumping into the car of visitors if they left their car door open too long. I would admonish her and tell her that nice girls don’t go into cars with men they don’t know. At this, she would look at me with sad eyes and put her tail between her legs. Then, she had a thing for my gardening gloves. If I left them lying around, she would quickly grab them and bury them. It took me a while to figure out what happened to my gloves. But after finding moldy, partially disintegrated gloves in the soil while weeding, I tried to be more vigilant about where I put them when I was done gardening for the day.

Anne is indeed my gardening dog. She wore a path around our grove, marking her territory. Once; she chased a wood chuck up a tree. In fact, I have seen her wrestle a huge groundhog, killing it and carrying it in her mouth to be buried far out in the field. Not all her killings have been similarly popular with me. Once, on the first day of my summer vacation, she put a headless rabbit in front of the door; her effort to help me celebrate. Another time, I woke up to her desperate barking outside. Thinking she was in great danger, I screamed to Grant to get the gun and we dashed outside to find Anne barking furiously at a terrified chipmunk who had escaped up a tree.
Because it is cruel to a dog to have her inside and then leave her outside for extended periods while we are gone, we decided right away that Anne has to be an exclusively outside dog. That is, we have a dog-door in our gardening shed, where there is an igloo dog house and automatic feeders. Here, she hangs out only in inclement weather and she escapes here when she hears thunder. When we are gone, our good friends Luther Pederson and Tom Anderson come to check on Anne daily. She is glad to see them, but when we come home she cannot restrain herself for joy!

Anne and I both are getting older. Our walks are not as brisk or as long as they used to be. We are both turning grey around the muzzles. We will take naps in the afternoon and enjoy just sitting looking at the sunset together. And I hope against hope that I will have her for many more years. She is a true friend.

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