Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Few Minutes With A Good Dog

I've had Georgie since 1999, when she wandered onto the horse farm where I worked.  I saw her sitting underneath a tree at the end of the drive.  She was a pathetic sight: a starving, dingy little grey mutt with every rib and vertebrae showing through her thin, straggly hair.  As I approached, I saw she was eating grasshoppers to stay alive, but she clearly wasn't making it.  The dog started to trot away, as strays will, and I said No, no, little dog.  You can stay.  She immediately trotted over to me, sat down, and let me stroke her black head.

From that moment, Georgie never let me out of her sight.  As I rode horses in the summer heat, she would watch from the shade underneath the horse trailer.  If I went into the barn, she'd camp out at the end of the aisle, in the doorway.  Little by little, she allowed me to get closer until I could pet her at will. 

I named her Georgie, after one of my favorite artists, Georgia O'Keeffe.  Almost immediately, I also started calling her JoJo.  She has been my constant companion: at my side through cross-country moves, through breakups and job changes, through new love and marriage, through deaths and births.  JoJo and I are a team.

JoJo was Beep's third word- right after Mama and Dada.  Beep knows who's important on Cabbage Ranch.

JoJo is about 13 years old now, and her joints ache.  She no longer runs alongside my car at 30 miles per hour.  She can't hear me calling to her from the back door, and I had to stop taking her with me on runs.  But she's still my girl.

Last night JoJo and I went on a little tour of Cabbage Ranch.

We checked on the mares, and called them up to enjoy the mister hanging from the tree limb.

In her old age, Georgie no longer wants to chase the horses.  The mares approve. 

That's Goldie on the left, and Cedar on the right.  Cedar is Junior's mother.

Next, we noticed that even the birds' nests around Cabbage Ranch have horsehair.  It's a theme.

Then Georgie and I took a look at a pretty prickly pear.

Live oaks framed our view of the sky as the sinking sun lengthened the shadows on the ground. 

All this exploring (in 104 degree heat) made Georgie tired.  She settled down for a rest, in a central location, so she could still keep an eye on everything.

This looks like a good spot.  She's figuring out the best way to ease down.

Getting closer...

And she's down...and pulling a sticker out of her paw. 

All in a day's work, for a good dog.

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