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The Book of Maxine

She & I came together February 17th, 2009.

She was 6 weeks old exactly and for some strange reason – was the very last of her litter mates to be placed.

Hesitant as I was (had just gone through the death of my long time buddy Maxwell – only 5 days earlier) … I could tell she was not that enthused about me either.

But I had this hole, this enormous vacuum inside me… She reluctantly – sortta – accepted me as caretaker, at this time.

Am sure Max whispered to her even as she was born – about me… You can see in one of her baby pics – eyes barely open – she’s really trying to figure things out

At that age?

It was there though…

She was only a little playful – unusual – I thought – for a puppy her age and breed. Her preference seemed to be to remain aloof, but allow my occasional invasion of her personal space.

I didn’t push it – with this one I felt to let her develop with as little interference as possible on my part, was the route to maintain.

She loved the walks we took – always wanting to be on her own feet – ‘don’t carry me! Put me down!’ attitude.

There were times though, during our first winter, this pattern had to be broken due to snow & extreme cold, and an overzealous roadrunner who scented her baby-hood.

The roadrunner actually spotted us as we were returning to camp. Then scenting the lingering delicacy of ‘baby’ – followed us home – at a distance.

I carried her the last several hundred feet – she was tiring and didn’t object.

Both of us settled next to the tent in a patch of sunlight – then a few minutes later – there’s the roadrunner… Less than 5 feet away and cresting and looking not at me – but sleeping Maxine.

I had no idea until then – how prehistoric these birds really looked or were. A bony appearing crest when activated and a ripping, tearing beak. Geez.

Grabbing a large stick, I shooed it away through the make-shift branch barricade next to the tent. Settled back again – 15 or so minutes later – darned if it wasn’t back – attempting access at another point.

Maxine must’ve smelled particularly enticing.

This time I chased it off again – but got my .410 out and fired a couple of rounds off behind it as it was heading south

That must’ve done the trick. No more roadrunner sightings for a couple of years.

Little gurldawg slept through the entire thing – including the shotgun firing.

She finally took the carry times well, finally understanding I wasn’t going to ‘teach’ her to do something bizarre, but just help out a bit.

It was a matter of days after the roadrunner I put up fencing around our immediate area, to protect her better.

Spring came and she was finally thawing toward me as well. By then I was hopelessly enthralled with her and her way of being. She was not Max – but there was something beginning to show – emerge even though it wasn’t looked for – I couldn’t help but gasp at it.

She, by now could jump up into the truck and made the passenger seat her own

Back seat occasionally, not often.

Her favorite was to spot cattle near the roadway fences and I soon learned to slow way down so she could devour them visually. She was, after all, half Aussie and Border.

During that summer I gifted her with a partially deflated, small soccer ball. O boy! It was GAME ON! From that time forward. It was the exact energy outlet she needed and skill set honing.

We began pretty easy – my kicking & her chasing/retrieving. In no time – I couldn’t get it past her – she would expertly block everything – purposely taking hard hits to her face as she would grab the ball & dance a bit.

This became a regular & routine play for us. I never tired of trying to get one by, but she was too expert at reading my body language to let that happen. Truly amazing.

The hiking & walks became favs of hers as well – but nothing could beat soccer as her pass time. We have over 4 years accrued at least 12 thoroughly deflated balls. Toward the end of the third year she slowed down & was discovered to have hypothyroid condition.

We began the accepted regime of levothyroxine, knowing this was yet another long haul for now the most precious part of me.


And THIS is the face of it…

“Dinner, pleeze mom?”

(Much more to come)

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