Monday, August 15, 2005

A Grandma and an Ethan

*****A grandma and her sweet baby Ethan. This is my favorite photo, so far, of me and the little cutie.

Gypsy, the World's Cutest Dog

****In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I have the world's cutest dog as my daily companion.

Gypsy is an unusual mixture of Golden Retriever, Sheltie, and Long-Haired Dachshund. The result is a mid-sized beauty of a pooch with a sweet temperament, sharp intelligence, and the desire to herd everything in sight. She doesn't require a leash, because I am her herd and she needs to keep me in herding range... she won't leave my proximity no matter what.

In doggie years, she is now slightly older than me. Notice the gray hairs around her muzzle, just like the silver hairs appearing among my brown ones. She's not as athletic as she once was, until we take her out into the mountains to hike. Then she becomes a wild mountain dog, sniffing and chasing around the bushes and under the trees, always looping back around me before taking off on her next chase. It's a beautiful dance to watch: she races off up a path, then loops back behind me, then off down another path, then loops back around me, then does a few circles around a bush full of chipmunks, then loops back around me. It's the dance of a herder, keeping her charge in line. If Gary and I take separate paths around a hill, for example, she will loop a constant figure 8 between the two of us until our paths merge again.

She performs this service - making sure we are well and where we should be - all day and all night. As lightly as I sleep, I hear Gypsy get up and make the rounds of the house and back yard around four times nightly. The first of those rounds includes patrolling the cat food dish, to clean up whatever Puff the cat hasn't gotten to yet. It's all in a dog's line of duty.