I am blessed with an old dog by the name of Fiona. This year she officially became an old dog. When it's time to take off and do something on the little farm, she's very game about going out. Then we walk around and I gather my tools together. Sometimes I also take the red wagon and by the time I'm ready to set out she says, "Okay! I pooped! Can I go back in now?"
This seems to be harder for me then for her. Not that long ago, it seems, she would have been game for the day. She would have chased the deer and the rabbits. She would have laid in the creek in order to drink, because that is her preferred method. She would have just ranged around me for the day. Circling and circling... an obvious herding ability that was never fulfilled.
Fiona has always had this great move. We always called it the "Did Grampa fall into the culvert again, Lassie" move. She starts out, tense and on the alert, head up. She looks at what's drawing her attention, then hops and runs a few feet. Then she stares back at me. She repeats the move until someone comes with her. Her move is used to fill the food or water dish... to be let outdoors... to take me to a stick and once, she showed me a box turtle that she found. Cool move. But now she just looks at me then looks toward the woods, then she turns to the door of the house as if to say, "The old man's done for this time".
For years now, this blue heeler/ border collie cross has been my shadow. She has been the most obedient, the most protective dog I have ever had. My compatriot, my partner in crime.
Yesterday, as I was headed back to a wooded corner of the property to check out a fence line, I called out to her. "Are you coming with?" A sentence that she knows. She ran ten feet and stopped. She stared at me in that intent Border Collie way that she has. Then she looked over her shoulder at the house. I answered, "Alright then, but I won't be back up for awhile." She took off for the house. I knew she would find her spot , laying in the shade of the hosta garden.
It's hard to see her aging away, but she is still a good dog. A good, old dog because she was such a good dog when she was young. My heroic dog.