Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Muffy the Two

Muffy the First. With our eldest son, Mark
For over thirty years, our family raised Old English Sheepdogs.
We loved them.
They came as little, furry puppies.
And turned into big, furry dogs.
Gentle. Affectionate. Protective.
Have I mentioned that we loved them?
Several of our dogs stand out in my memory.
One is Muffy the Second.
Not to be confused with Muffy the First.
Okay, so imaginative, we weren't.
Muffy lived to eat. And receive affection.
But mostly to eat.
Our youngest son, Tristan had an ice cream cone.
And an audience.
Muffy was sitting nearby, keeping what she hoped was anunobtrusive eye on his actions.
I should point out that in our house, the dogs weren't allowed anywhere near the dining room.
Tristan was in the living room.
The rules were a bit more blurry there . . .
He had taken a couple of licks.
With the third lick, his little scoop of ice cream vacated the cone and headed for the floor.
It never landed.
In a blur of motion, Muffy was across the room. She had that ice cream downed before Tristan had even realized he had lost it.
Tears ensued.
Tristan, not Muffy.
Another scoop, and all was well.
After Muffy had also been banned from the living room.
Sigh. People, make up your minds . . .
Another time, rawhide bones had been issued to all three dogs currently residing in the house.
They retreated to favourite corners to chew.
Or so it seemed.
Muffy was again keeping an unobtrusive (she was getting good at it) eye on the other two.
Biding her time.
When one of them got distracted, she would sneak in and snatch their bone.
Whereupon (good word) the offended party would look around in confusion, sigh and close their eyes for a nap.
Have I mentioned that they weren't always the brightest bulb in the chandelier?
Finally, Muffy had cornered all of the bones. Happily, she cradled them between her front legs and proceeded to chew, first one, then another.
But that is where her bliss ended.
Oh, not because the other two figured it out.
No. Because the kids came home from school.
Now it was the usual scenario in the Tolley household, that the kids be met at the door by All. Three. Dogs.
They would jump around and make general nuisances of themselves in their excitement and enthusiasm.
The dogs, that is.
Ahem . . .
We heard the bus.
Panda and Chief headed for the door, wiggling happily. I should also mention that an Old English Sheepdog has no tail. Thus, when excited, they wag their entire rear end.
Just FYI . . .
There was much wiggling and snuffling and vying for attention as eight kids came through the door.
And Muffy was missing it.
She whined and cried and fidgeted as she stood over her ill gotten gains, not wanting to leave them for fear of losing them, but sad to be missing all of the excitement.
Finally, it was too much for her.
In a flurry of movement, she joined the others.
Whereupon (that word again) the other two left the melee and dashed over to the bones, each snatching one and heading to their respective corners to resume their interrupted afternoon chew.
Maybe that was their plot all along.
Muffy finished greeting the kids and ran back to her spot.
To find just one bone.
The price of enthusiasm.
We just said good-bye to our beloved Aldo. The last of the last.


May you romp and play happily in Heaven, our boy. We'll be along some time . . .

11 comments:

  1. So hard to lose a much loved pet. I hope there are dogs and cats in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wouldn't be Heaven without them, Delores!

      Delete
  2. Ohhh, I'm so sorry, Diane. It's hard to say good-bye ... our pets are family, too. And Aldo was a handsome fellow, with such a kind face. Hugs, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was the sweetest doggie! Our daughter used to take him with her when she was building sets, so he got very well known by all the theatre groups in our city. A very popular doggie. Never ran off (Co-workers would tie their dogs to him and he would babysit). Loved everyone. I often think I can hear his clickity-click toenails here in the house. I guess he hasn't left quite yet . . .

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, EC. This is the first I've even been able to mention it.

      Delete
  4. Their lives are too short and it is heartbreaking to lose them. My condolences in losing a most loved member of your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Arleen! We had him for 15 years, which is almost unheard of in OES circles! I guess the good Lord knew how much we loved him.

      Delete
  5. I am so sorry. We had Old English dogs too but for only 18 years! After our last one passed away my husband and I didn't know who was the boss and where to go! We had been herded and bossed around by those sweet furry faces for so long we were in a fog for a while.13 years ago we became cat owners with long hair of course because hair bunnies the size of bunnies is what we are used to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand the not knowing who was in charge. It was so funny watching those dogs herd our children. And love them. And protect them. Sigh. This is hard!

      Delete
  6. They sound like wonderful dogs Diane - I bet you spent a fair amount of time sweeping up dog hair though! Still, such love and gentleness is worth any extra work.

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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