"I see things differently..."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Farewell to Stewart, our Beloved Collie

Yesterday we had to say our sad good-byes to our Stewart.  She was 12 years old and has brightened our lives with her loving spirit since the moment we adopted her just before her 1st birthday.  Here is a true story I wrote about her from a year ago---offered as a small tribute to her.


Stewart, our 11-year old female collie, has slowed down quite a bit in the past few months. So a week ago we started her on a daily regimen, including ascription, glucosamine/chondroitin and fish oil. She has perked up considerably since then and has taken to re-asserting herself over Tinker , our 1 ½ year old collie) as the “alpha dog”.

A few days ago Stewart and Tinker traveled with Rick and me to the lake cabin of good friends. They kindly lent us the use of their cabin while I was in Door County teaching a painting workshop. We put up flags in the yard to remind the dogs of their running space (as we have done with the “invisible fence” in our yard at home). Tinker surprised us by being very cautious and circumspect about not crossing the boundary. Stewart seemed somewhat oblivious to the border and wandered in and out, though never too far.

Yesterday morning as Rick was loading the car, and I was inside finishing the packing and tidying, Stewart took off through the woods. It was extremely windy, and the waves crashing on the shore drowned out all but the nearest sounds, and, from a dog’s perspective, also scattered all scents to the wind.

Rick and I began a 2 ½ hour search for Stewart through the deep woods and along the roadside. We became acquainted with neighbors all up and down the line. Lovely, generous people, who stopped to help us search. Sightings were reported, eventually from both sides of our cottage location. Stewart, though a very friendly dog by nature, was afraid to approach the strangers with their offerings of food. Rick and I called, we whistled, offered “car ride!” with excited voices, promised fabulous treats. These were to no avail, but eventually through helpful reports, we were able to find her. In the end, we figure that she covered over 3 miles---this from the dog who typically has preferred a prone position! It was undoubtedly the biggest adventure of her life!

All I know is that I’m going to start taking what Stewart is taking. Perhaps you’ll spot me, a woman with silvering hair, running through the woods. Alongside the road in a car drively slowly with windows rolled down, Rick will be calling, “Come home, Gail….Come home!