IN WHICH AN AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD PUPPY SHOWS UP
AND TAKES OVER
It all started long ago and far away, when in the wilds of Knoxville, Tennessee in 1994, a blue merle Aussie named Pelli landed in my life and then proceeded to stick around for nearly 18 years. He died last July at the over-ripe age of 20 years and 4 months, and though his story is remarkable, this site is chiefly about his successor, Christopher.
There’s a reason I need introduce Pelli, though: in the last year or so of his life, my heretofore perfect dog decided that standard rules of canine etiquette (read: rules in general) no longer applied to him. At age 18 and not a bit senile, he started getting into trash, barking incessantly at the door, and, most notably, making collections. Left alone at home, Pelli (who by then was not precisely spry) would laboriously accumulate random items in his bed and hang out with them (or, if the spirit so moved, eat them).
A few examples:
-- Four dog food cans and one cat food can filched one-by-one from the recycling bin, sheet of bubble wrap, frozen dinner carton, box of colored frosting tubes, paper phone message
-- Target gift card, aluminum foil meticulously freed of brownies, walking map of Victoria, B.C., unopened Southwest Airlines peanut package
-- Plastic-wrapped mattress cover, rawhide chews box, rainbow catnip toy, two empty spray bottles
Never had a dog that did that before.
Christopher arrived mid-January. The first day I took him (then 6 weeks old) with me to the hospital, I closed him in an office for the day. When I came back to pick him up, he was asleep amid 7 different leashes, his food bowl, a coffee pot lid, a stuffed fuzzy toy, a rawhide chew, and two individually wrapped sponge mop heads. It was more than a little eerie, but I wrote it off at the time as a coincidental and isolated incident.
Yeah…. Not so much.