Stones I painted for Scrubby's grave when my friend Leeann was here.
The sign on our farm which takes you on a shortcut past Scrubby's grave.
I never thought I would love another dog like I loved Scrubs. And to be honest, I don't think I do. Scrubby occupies a very special corner of my heart and was with me during an era in my life. John once said that Scrubs sort of defined a "season" of our life. He was there to lead us into parenthood and raising young children. He was there during our military years. He got us to where we needed to be and left us when his job was done.
But now I have two new dogs, and I have found they occupy a new part of my heart. Ritter is our "big lug." He truly wants only one thing in life and that is to be pet and loved and scratched and get his belly rubbed. He never barks at anyone. He simply runs up to them and rolls over. I love watching him as people walk by him. He looks at them and starts to roll over. It's as if he is saying, "I'd like to roll over onto my back, but before I do, I'd like you to make it clear you plan to stop what you are doing and pet me."
The other day, when the kids first moved upstairs after sleeping in our room for three months, they were a little scared. I told Abigail not to fear. Arabelle was outside with her pups, but I was going to leave Ritter at the bottom of the stairs to guard everyone. Abigail scrunched up her nose and said, "Mom, that's a terrible idea. He's the worst guard dog in the history of the universe. He wouldn't bark at a bad guy."
Touché little lady.
Ritter is Sidge's dog. Ritter doesn't have a "person" but Sidge has a dog. Ritter brings him so much joy, and is simply a big pile of love. He is not a good farm dog. He listens when he wants to and if you aren't watching, he'd eat any animal I let him eat. He will walk with me around the farm, but I have to watch him like a hawk. He is a house dog through and through. If he is outside, and I don't have time to give him full attention, he has to be on leash because we just don't trust him. Not only could he go after an animal, but he'd jog off with anyone who promised him a lifetime of belly rubs.
And then there is Arabelle. Arabelle is one of those dogs you hear about but don't believe exists. She is Lassie. She is absolutely and utterly sold out to me. She follows me, watches me, and truly believes it is her job to go everywhere with me. She seems to know we are doing the animal chores. She appears to speak English. She will sit and wait for me. She will watch me in the rain until I am done. A rabbit will cross her path, and I'll say "leave it" and she'll stop mid-stride. She can be across the farm, and if I call her name, she will come and sit at my side. She listens without exception and nearly perfectly. Not as good with others as with me, but she is simply breathtaking. I have never even met a dog like her. She has the full run of the farm, and we trust her absolutely and completely. She barks at strangers and keeps her distance but never gets aggressive. I am hoping to train her to run "errands" to Grampa and Grama's house (bringing things we need back and forth wearing a little dog backpack.) I really think she can do it.
And then there is Arabelle as a mom. WOW. Just WOW. We have decided we will do another litter next year as she is so wonderful at this and it has been so fun for us. She's amazing.
Since I have trained all my dogs the same, it is completely apparent that the dog's personality is a huge part of how well they do. They are like kids. You try really hard, but who they are is a huge part of how they do!
I am so blessed to have had three wonderful dogs in my life. I loved them all in such different and wonderful ways. Every time I walk by Scrubs' grave I tell him, "Good boy Scrubby. You are a good boy." He really wasn't a good boy. He was a piece of work and always giving us a run for our money. But I loved him something huge. And I'm so glad I listened to a lot of good advice and decided to love another dog after him.