When I married my husband almost fourteen years ago there was this cute little puppy on my in-laws ranch. The runt of his litter, Dude was the smallest Blue Healer I’d ever seen. The little bugger couldn’t keep up with the men or the other dogs, but that didn’t stop him from trying. When the men would go out to change water, he would get stuck in the furrows, even when the alfalfa was cut short. He’d yelp and whine until somebody would pick him up and carry him to the next water line. This went on for months.
He wasn’t much of a cow dog either at first. Those things were big and scary, not that I blamed him. I quite agree, they are big and scary. Eventually, he became as fearless and crazy as the other dogs when they moved cows.
One trait made him stand out above the other dogs. He loved to play fetch. Most of the dogs on the ranch will put up with an occasional pet, but Dude would play for hours, chasing whatever someone threw, which is probably why my children liked him so much.
This past week my father-in-law had to put him down. The years of hard work coupled with the arthritis attacking his legs had finally taken its toll. The poor old boy could no longer stand on his bowed, quivering legs. After days and days of not eating or moving, my father-in-law knew the time had finally come.
Even though he hadn’t played very hard in well over a year, he will be missed. And I have never claimed to be much of an animal person.