MAID

This has been one of the hardest posts I have ever written. It’s been just over three weeks ago, Feb 21, 2015. I lost my beloved partner. My best friend, the love of my life…my dear Maid. She filled the huge hole in my heart left by Tess’s death and I enjoyed trialing again. We had the special connection on the field and on one run she got a 96 out of 100 and that run felt so sweet….we just felt in the vibe on that run. Yes, other runs she was pushy but she ran her heart out for me and we really were a team.

Maid came to me over 3.5 years ago and together we built a very tight bond. She knew what needed to be done in the ways of chores. I would point to a new ewe and lambs and tell her to bring her to the barn and she would carefully work her to the nursery stall. Or put the chickens away at night. I would open the door and she would race around the herd the clueless hens in and then swim in the pond to get the ducks. Once the geese got out, and she never worked them before so I told her to bring them. The male gander pecked her once then a second time, which she grabbed his beak and held on and then he collapsed, then she let him go. After that she had the geese in total control. When the goats tried to butt her, she would look at me as if to say, “Really?” then give them a good head grip. She could work anything. She loved to please me.

 

 

But she was much more than a working dog. She was my snuggle bunny on the couch and would put her head on the keyboard as I would try to type. When I had the very bad reaction due to the chemo and crying in pain, she would straddle me like a mom dog and lick my face and paw at me to get up. And when I was done with crying, she would snuggle tightly to my side and lick my face. She never left my side during the bad days and I knew when I would have a good day, when she would grab her bunny to play with. She was a good mom, although she never had pups here but she raised bottle lambs for me in the house. And she was a she-wolf to protect them. She wouldn’t let the other dogs near her lambs. She would keep them clean and sleep with them. She loved her lambs. Maid had a great sense of humor. She had a goofy smile and her slightly crossed eyes made her even more endearing. She was loyal as they could come. Once she figured out she was a queen house dog, she loved to be the official greeter. Then she discovered my mom and Aunt Kimiko. They brought all sorts of treasures in the bags they had in their hand. She pilfered two croissants and ever since then would meet them at the front door, then stick her nose in the bags. Of course, after they got here, she got tons of treats and some Japanese food as well. I pretended not to see. She would shadow my mom and my mom would speak to her in Japanese. Maid understood. Mom loved Maid.

Maid was also the greeter at the door, making sure everyone petted her and acknowledged her. If she felt like you were an easy mark, she would follow you and as a result got treats. She also let me know if someone was at the door that she didn’t recognized…..like the UPS man. But if my mom was coming up, she would bark in a high pitch, spin around, squeal and jump up and down. Kinda like me when I was a kid on Christmas morning when I saw my presents.

Maid and Rain were jealous of each other but worked it out. Once Maid saw she was the top trial dog and Rain was a pet, she settled in. They loved to play with each other. Maid had a favorite toy that was a stuffed lamb. It was the only toy she loved and Rain would steal it form her…..so they would play chase, grab the lamb and the other one would grab another toy and then they would trade toys. Then Maid would decide she had enough and lay on her bed with her lamb secure under her paws. Sometimes she would bring lambie to bed with her. If the lamb was not on her bed when she came into the house, she would hunt for it. I have never seen a dog so attached to a toy.
Aside from being my cancer comfort dog, chore dog, house pet, she was my top Open dog. We would go to the post and she would give me a sly glance then point her nose to the sheep. I would send her and she would bust out, kicking clods of dirt in her wake. Tremendous outrun and a no nonsense lift and straight fetch. And if we had to so a dog leg fetch, she would nail it. Our last year, she was running like a champ and we just connected on the field. Still pushy on the drive but we sorted that out. In the shed ring, we would glance at each other and smile. Her teeth bright white and grin so huge and she would fly in with a tiniest hole and march the ewes off. At the pen, I was the gate keeper and she did her cutting moves to work them in and I was honored to shut the gate.

 

 

In the first year, we did battle on what was right as she was a hot dog and had a temper but she toned her temper down. She still would grip is a ewe tried to charge her or was wayward (deserved) but kept her temper in check. She tried to do right and didn’t have a mean bone in her body. Ironically, I decided one day to give her a lot more freedom and then she gave me control of her. I trusted her and she trusted me. Even though on the field I did give her a bad command, she would do it, and look at me but didn’t question it. I apologized profusely for those commands and she accepted the apology with a treat.

With Tess’s death, I never thought the hole in my heart would heal. It was huge, raw and gaping and I had thought about quitting trialing for a bit. But Maid gave me a huge piece of her heart to fix the hole and soon I was healed. She saw I was grieving and did anything to make me happy, even being goofy with her lamb to get me to laugh. I never thought the hole would heal but by her love, it did heal and I began my life again with the love of a dog.

Then the cancer struck and I was so sick so she took on the role of nurse dog and took care of me. I still was trying and she softened a lot on the field as I had no energy and gave her me all. She could have run over me and do as she pleased but she began very soft and pliable. Unless a ewe tried to butt her at one trial, so she gripped her then looked over at me as if to say. “She needed it” and I just told her to carry on. In the shed ring, my energy would be gone so I would whisper and point and she would shed. I would stumble to the pen and open the door and she did the work. Usually she would get perfect points for those elements.
She loved to sleep next to me with her head on my pillow and my arms around her. She would sometimes move to my feet if I trashed too much due to chemo but if I was having a nightmare, she would wake me up. She was my snuggle dog and could read my mind.
I miss Maid and still dream of her. I loved that girl so much and it still brings tears to my eyes when I see her photo or talk about her. I grieve for a long time and still will. She was one of a kind and had a huge heart that not only healed my heart but gave me the passion back for trialing. She was one of a kind and one day we will be together.