Boot stompin' with my girl

By Kris Ferrazza | Mar 08, 2019

As the old saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

So let’s just say this mama wasn’t happy last month. We had spent the holidays without a dog for the first time in a long time. I only can describe it as “melancollie.” It’s a word I invented to describe the melancholy one feels when one has lost their collie.

I couldn’t shake it and there is only one cure, so this mama was on a mission to find another dog. Not just any dog. A collie dog. A collie who needed us as much as we needed it. A collie that could restore joy to our dogless kingdom.

I knew it was a tall order.

But as fate would have it, the clouds parted and revealed to me a beautiful girl collie in need of a home. Not too old, not too young. Not too expensive, not too far away. In a word, she was perfect.

“Oh, she will be mine,” I said, laughing maniacally into my iPhone.

Next came the art of the deal. I showed her picture to my husband and tried to be casual. He wasn’t taking the bait. So I tried the direct route. Why couldn’t we get this dog? Bad timing, he said. That’s usually his answer for everything. I grumbled my old standby,

“Well, there’s no time like the present.” No reply. So I threatened to just go and pick up my new dog. Nothing. Didn’t even flinch. Man, he’s good.

He knew I was bluffing. Sadly, I already had proclaimed months earlier that we all had to be in agreement before getting our next dog. It had been a moment of weakness, a time when I wanted to pretend my husband was the real boss of the house. What had I been thinking?

Days passed. I secretly fumed, sneaking peeks at my dog’s photo and putting pet supplies into my shopping cart on Amazon. I texted the dog’s owner and she texted me back. She wanted a collie-experienced home. Hello? That is us. I told her I was working on the old man. She understood and told me to take my time. This dog wasn’t going to just any old home.

After a few days passed with no movement in my negotiations with Dr. No, I texted the woman and told her I was getting nowhere fast. She understood. It’s a big decision. Everyone needs to be on board, blah blah blah. Yeah, I know. I get it.

Then, when I had all but given up hope, it happened. I was sulking and pouring coffee one Sunday morning when I heard a voice say, “So, what’s the deal with that dog?” Well, well, well. Dr. No was interested after all. My tail started to wag. We were getting this dog!

Cut to our very own “gotcha day.” We picked up Bella and never looked back. She’s ours. We’re hers. It’s a full-on lovefest times four. Joy has been restored to the kingdom.

Since her arrival, she has had to learn a few things. Jumping on people is not OK. Dogs don’t eat potato chips. Tissues need to stay in the trash. Couches are for humans. Dogs sleep on dog beds.

She wants to please us, which is a good sign. And I don’t mean to brag, but she is a genius. It took her just two weeks to learn to ring the jingle bells that hang on the front door. When she needs to go out, she will fast-foot it over to the door, hit the doorknob with her collie nose, and the bells ring. Brilliant!

Bella has reminded me of all that had been missing from my life: mostly dog hair. Lots of dog hair. It’s on my black work clothes, on my rugs, in my car, and in the corners of the bathroom. Tumbleweeds of collie fur roll around anytime there is a draft. I love it.

Our little farm dog loves to do chores. As soon as I don my barn coat and boots, she’s ready to go. We lug buckets of water to the barn together, rake and shovel, shake out bales of hay and talk to Teddy the pony. Teddy is dying to get his nose into that collie coat, but Bella is keeping her distance for now. She isn’t sure about that 600-pound dog that lives in the huge wooden crate in the barn, so that will take time.

Having my helper by my side gives me someone to talk to besides myself when I’m home alone.

“Let’s go, Bellie,” I tell her. “Time to do chores.”

She hops up quick, bright-eyed and ready to go. Yesterday I jammed my feet into my boots and felt a sharp bite on one toe. Yanking my foot out of the boot, I immediately thought of an incident that happened to my little sister when we were children. She was trying to get her boots on and my parents were saying, “Stomp your foot! Stomp!” as they tried to jam her foot into a tiny boot. She stomped, but kept wincing and finally started to cry. They pulled her foot out and found blood on her sock. My dad yanked the sock off, but her bare foot was fine. Then he reached into the boot. She had been stomping on a mouse. Eww.

Fearful there was something live -- and dangerous -- in my boot, I took it to the front porch with my faithful dog at my side.

“Bella,” I said dramatically. “Behold the brown recluse…”

With a flourish, I tipped my boot over and banged the bottom of the sole with my free hand. But instead of a lethal Maine spider falling out, three prickly pieces of golden hay wafted to the ground. She watched it fall, then looked at me, her head cocked to one side in full collie tilt.

“Oh,” mama laughed. “Never mind. The kingdom is secure.”

And the beat goes on.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 08, 2019 14:50

I love dogs!!! Good read!!!!

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