Yesterday, was one of those days when responsibility comes to roost, wagging its nasty head and mocking.
There she hid in her nest under a pile of criss-crossed Douglas fir, Hemlock and Cedar trees that recently we had taken down. Skinny and afraid, she would not come near us. The food we put out was gobbled down as soon as we walked a good 50 paces away. My son wanted to keep her. I remember thinking, we are feeding her and she is living in her little den under the logs, hasn’t she already moved in? Within a week she would let my son, then 9 or 10, pet her. But, I was not allowed that privilege and it was a month or two before she came up to me. One day she allowed a short scratch behind the ears but then I raise my hand to scratch me nose and she bolted away. Someone had beaten this dog, and beaten her bad. Gentleness and slow moves were required.
She became great friends with my son and where he was she would also be either watching or entering into his imaginary adventures. She traipsed along the local creek while he fished his favorite holes and often scampered into the shallows chasing a water skipper or some other moving target. On his paper route she followed him running along as he rode his bike from house to house. Customers would not only tip my son but several had doggie treats for Goldie when it came time to collect. When he went on his 5-15 mile runs she plodded along with him finding a gait that ate up the miles.
The afraid side of her kept her constantly on high alert and filled with anxiety. For fourteen years she never completely relaxed around a grown male. A common reaction of me calling her to come was she would turn and go hide in the Salal. Once I had her on leash and went to walk her into the garage. She would have none of that and put up a fight which I let her win. For her to eat her food it was placed in the open where she could see if anyone or anything approached while she ate. She would not come into the house unless a storm was blowing and limbs were falling or thunder and lightning were terrorizing her world.
Many moons have passed since that spring day when she came to find her new home. Her shyness has haunted her and she has always preferred being outside sleeping in the Salal ignoring her dog house.
The past year has been hard on Goldie, her eye sight mostly gone, her hearing greatly diminished. Days would go by and her food would go untouched. Other issues that need not be mentioned – in short old age caught up to the old girl and yesterday a trip to the vet resulted in her now being planted under a tree on a hill where she preferred resting her weary bones in hopes of picking up a few filtered sun rays from the morning sun.
She was a good dog and we will miss her.