Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Right Puppy

In 1997 the farmer did not live in the country. The farmer lived in a duplex in Ballard, which has since become a hipster neighborhood in Seattle. At the time there were very few hipsters there. There were a lot of old Scandinavian fishermen. You could actually buy lutefisk in Ballard, real lutefisk, not ironic lutefisk. Bill Clinton was President of the United States.

But even then there was a hint of something in the air. An ominous hint of impending prosperity.

At that time - it is embarrassing to think about now - the farmer drove around in a vintage black Jaguar, having just gotten a job in what would later be known as the Internet bubble. Nobody knew it was a bubble then. So everyone bought vintage black Jaguars to drive around in.

But one day out of the blue, in spite of the vintage black Jaguar, the farmer drove to Tenino, a little bend in the road outside Olympia, to look at a litter of border collie puppies. "Just to look."

The puppies were all in a pen, and some children were 'playing' with them - poking them with a stick through the slats of the pen. Several of the puppies seemed to like this kind of fun, and they seethed around in a mass, following, on the inside, as the children ran around the outside of the pen. One very beautiful puppy did not follow the children; instead she observed them, watchfully, and moved neatly and efficiently in such a manner as to remain as far away from them as possible at all times.

The farmer bought this puppy, and named her Spenny.

Not long afterward, as the puppy looked with a pained expression at the farmer from the passenger seat of the black Jaguar, the farmer bought a thing they used to call a newspaper, and looked through it at these things they used to call classified ads, and found and bought a 1978 F-150, battered even then. The puppy was extremely pleased. This was the type of vehicle a border collie could be seen in in public.

Not long after that someone looked at the farmer and the puppy riding around in the truck and said, "well, you have a farm dog, and you have a farm truck, now all you need is a farm."

And so then the farmer bought a farm, and gradually became a sort of inept but oddly persistent farmer, and stayed on the farm when the Internet bubble burst, and bought a pair of LaManchas to eat some of the brush growing in the pastures, and then bought a little white Nigerian Dwarf goat named Baby Belle, driving in the F-150 to Eastern Washington to pick her up, with the border collie riding shotgun, watchful as ever, occasionally even standing up on the seat with her chin balanced on the dashboard and the tip of her nose against the windshield, the better to see every inch of the world passing by.

Time passed, many years, and the puppy grew old and frail. She began to fail badly, and was weaker every day. But she was watchful as ever, faithful as ever, keenly intelligent as ever, always looking to the farmer for a sign. The farmer would not, could not, let her go. Because it was spring, and turning to summer, the most beautiful time of the year. Because she might miss one more beautiful day. So Spenny watched and waited, as usual, for the farmer to figure out something Spenny already knew.

Would any day ever be beautiful enough to be Spenny's last day? Was there ever such a day? No. And so finally, yesterday, the farmer let her go.

It was a desperately beautiful, desperately sad day. And a desperately sad end to the story. But it was just the end of the story. It wasn't the heart of the story. The heart of the story was the fact - who knew? - that all of us, at any given time, are one border collie puppy away from a whole new life.

It just has to be the right puppy.



31 comments :

Amy L. said...

Oh, Spenny. Rest in peace. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

The people in this house understand what you are talking about, dear Farmer. We have Genna who arrived here on a cold December 21st fifteen years ago. The vet said had she been out one more night she would have been gone. Instead, I tell her, "not today, Gen...not today" after all these years. Better to have loved and lost...so sorry for your loss.

goatgirl said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry farmer. I do know how much you loved her.

Anonymous said...

Always eloquent, always heartfelt. You are in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

such a beautiful photo of Spenny

thank you

-pc

Tyche's Minder said...

So, so very sorry. But also glad that she led you here. I thank her for that.

Terry said...

Sometimes, who knows why, a very few of us are graced with a dog that changes our entire lives. I had one, too. She passed away 11 years ago and I still look around and think, "this is all because of Nimbus." So, your Spenny will be there, like that, in every fiber of your home, in decades to come, too.

christinalfrutiger said...

We were so so sorry and sad to hear about Spenny but I will be forever grateful to her for bringing my people and the Farmer together as steadfast friends these past 10 yrs. And she is the reason I am here too...if it wasn't for Spenny, there would of been no Herron Hill dairy and no me...I remember watching her fly through the air like an acrobat to catch her frisbee and running like the wind after thrown sticks. She was amazing!
Rest in peace dear girl. We will always miss you...

Love~Queen Quattra

The Morrissey said...

So sorry. It's amazing what one dog can do.

goatgirl said...

That was beautiful Terry. You said what I wanted to say. Spenny was a great dog that I had the privledge of riding shotgun with. She's wasn't very good at scooting over though. I'll miss you Spenny.

Diane Fish said...

So sorry. Your "Ode to Spenny" was a beautiful tribute to such an intelligent and thoughtful girl.

Lauren said...

<3

Karen C said...

Thank you for writing about Spenny, and I'm sorry you lost such an amazing dog. I am very glad you found each other.

Chris said...

I love this blog and hate this blog at the same time, sometimes. I love it because it lets me be a part of your life each time I read it but I hate it because it hurts my heart sometimes. I think God for giving you Spenny and Spenny you. What a wonderful friend you both had in each other and what a rich life. Thank you for letting us be part of that life, with each bit of it you share with us in these posts.

Kim said...

I have my own blog and just wrote about losing my sweet old puppy, Bear. Someone in the comments recommend I come and read your post. I know how sad you are feeling and how hard it is and I know how much you loved Spenny, because I loved my Bear just the same. Take care.

Willow Fen Farm Goats said...

Rest easy in the eternal beautiful day, Spenny.

Jessica said...

So sorry to hear this. What a sweet tribute to her.

Eliza said...

A faithful and loving tribute to a faithful and loving dog. RIP, Spenny. Good girl.

Goat Girls Rule! said...

Deepest condolences.

MichelleBeard said...

Your blog is literary awesomeness. You make me laugh and cry. Thank you for sharing your life with the masses.

Tina Young said...

{{{Hugs}}}

David Dowell said...

You have a gift.
Thank you for your posts.
My heart is with you.

christinalfrutiger said...

We miss hearing from all of you...please come back and tell us what's been going on around the farm...there must be some sort of mischief going on with all those new kids!!

Love~Queen Quattra

Ozarks Goat Girl said...

Dear Goat Farmer,
It is time.
75 days you have rested from this blog, 35 days and nights longer than Noah floated on the ocean.
It is time to write again.
Sincerely, Ozarks Goat Girl


Ozarks Goat Girl said...

Sigh....
So sad....
I have worn out my computer mouse checking for new posts...(sad shoulder shrug)...there have been none...regardless I shall carry on my endeavor to make Crumpet TMFGITW although I don't know if anyone else out there is still endeavoring the same.

(Will a pathetically depressed comment on this blog be noticed? Where are you HH fans? I know you're still out there. I hope your chins are not in the dirt as is mine. Come on--big depressed group hug. Yeah. That's no better but, yeah...)

Jessica said...

I miss the posts, too! I checked once a day, then once a week, now every so often.

Please keep posting, Farmer! I mean, only if you want to. I just miss these blog posts.

Chris said...

Ozarks Goat Girl, I'm still here helping to keep Crumpet TMFGITW. Oh Crumpet please give your farmer a good head butting for us. We miss her and Facebook posts just aren't enough to keep us in the loop with your farm news. I know she must still be sad about Spenny. That is a hurt that probably will never go away completely, but Spenny would not have wanted her to stop writing, would she?

Ozarks Goat Girl said...

Chris, Jessica, I am glad to know there are others out there pining for HH stories. Somehow there is comfort in communal sorrow. How terrrible is that sentence? See, the goatfarmer would never have written anything so ill put nor would she put 3 r's in terrrible. We need her to help combat bad writing in this world.

Ozarks Goat Girl said...

WAIT! I may know what's going on! It could be that the goatfarmer is working on writing a book like many of us have urged her to do. OR she might be putting together a YouTube dance video with her and all the goat girls. Or maybe recording an album. I don't know, but this long, long silence could mean something BIG in the end.

Chris said...

Maybe Crumpet TMFGITW, has gone on her world tour and she is planning on surprising us, by just showing up in our towns ... Could it be? Oh my gosh, I have to tell PG, he will be so excited!

Jill Mulvey said...

I am so, so sorry to read about Spenny. You love your animals so well. Spenny won the lottery the day you took her home. Big hug to you.