Today, we're celebrating Lucy's 6th birthday. Actually, we don't know exactly when Lucy's birthday is, just that it's some time in the first week in June. Lucy came into our lives as an 11 week old puppy from one of the rescue organizations where we lived in the US. Ethel was 7 1/2, and we wanted a playmate for her. When we brought Lucy home, Ethel watched carefully for 3 days from her usual perch on the couch (nothing has changed in our house, just the geographical location of a couch) while Lucy ran around on the floor and generally played Excited Young Puppy. At the end of the third day, Ethel slithered down off the couch onto the floor and rolled over on her back. Lucy instantly "attacked"--and the rest, as they say, is history. It seemed as if they only stopped playing together to eat. We always say that we did very little with Lucy as a puppy--Ethel raised her.
Lucy is a German shepherd/border collie mix with the height and coloring of her German shepherd daddy and the conformation of her border collie mom. When she went through her growth spurt, her legs were so long in proportion to her body that when she sat down, it was as if she had too many legs and didn't know what to do with them all. She was the gawkiest puppy I've ever seen.
But she developed into a beautiful, graceful dog who leaps effortlessly, like a gazelle, over downed logs and other obstacles. When we used to walk in the woods, she would take off, accelerating at a tremendous pace, and soar over a downed tree just for the sheer joy of it. She and Fred play Chase a lot, and while Fred is very fast (but ungainly-looking), Lucy runs like a race horse, always elegant.
Last year, before we had our fence (and one of the reasons for the fence), we were plagued by unwelcome visits from strolling horses. True to her heritage, Lucy would try to herd them off the property. At first, they ran--she makes a considerable noise barking. but soon they figured out it was all noise and no real action. So she and I used to chase them off together, me throwing small rocks at them (no one and nothing is ever in any danger from me--I can't hit a barn at 20 paces) and Lucy racing along at their heels, barking and nipping.
Once, however, she got too close and annoyed one of the horses too much. I saw her startle back, but then she resumed the chase until they were well away. When she returned, I saw blood pouring out of a gash just above her eye where the horse had kicked her. It was a very superficial cut; those things usually are. I cleaned it up and within a week, her fur was growing back.
When Fred came on the scene, Lucy, who was used to being the baby, suddenly had to share the spotlight. This was NOT to her liking. We had thought that she, like Ethel, would immediately start playing with the new puppy. No way. It took her weeks, actually, before she grudgingly admitted that there might be some benefit to having this interloper around. Now they play constantly.
At night, she tries her best to become a second skin, snuggled up next to me (and in between Fred and me) when I'm in bed reading. It's her special time. Often she'll roll over on her back and fall asleep, which means that the top of my book is crowned with the sight of long, skinny dog legs.
So, this morning they had their special birthday meal, a glorious mess of cooked pork and beef bones (on top of their regular dog food--we don't miss nutrition here) with a small piece of beef thrown in for Lucy. Later, I'll try to get pictures of the Birthday Girl.
Meanwhile, it's time for our morning walk.