Emily, age 14
I would like to let it be known quite a few facts about my wonderful canines. I own 7 of them, and though it may seem like too many, for me it is not. I own a wonderful Feist (Rat Terrier or Teddy Roosevelt Terrier), all of which is 12 inches high, 15 pounds. She was christened Coca Cola for the color of her coat. Her back is dark brown, almost black, while her head and the tops of her legs is a 'fizzy' color. Her neck is splashed with white as are her belly and legs. Her long tail has a white tip. She is already 6 years old and is starting to get a few gray hairs.
Being a terrier, she loves to hunt animals including cats and chickens-much to the dismay of my grandparents. C.C., as we call her, is agile and quick, making her an excellent ratter. She also is a great squirrel dog. Every now and then, she tries to run up the tree and actually gets halfway up. She has also been seen catching rabbits and moles which plagued our garden until she arrived. She even chases the small herd of deer that live on our farm.
Now for the other adult dog. Jodee is an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie/Red Heeler mix. She may sound like a Heinz 57 but she is actually very pretty and unusual. Her coat is red merle. It is like a very red brown with black specks and spots. Even her eyes have a red tint to them, not like C.C.'s dark brown ones. She is 22 inches tall and around 45-50 pounds. She is a mere 3 years old compared to the veteran, C.C. Compared to C.C., the outgoing, sometimes aggressive Feist, Jodee is quiet, shy, and conservative. When I first acquired her, she was about 8 or 9 months old. She was extremely frightened but I pulled her out of some of her shyness.
When she was younger, she had a lot of her herding instinct. Quite often I would catch her chasing the horses, trying her best to make them go where she wanted them. I did not have any smaller animals that she could be trained to control easier so she has not been trained to herd. C.C. decided that she would interfere with Jodee's herding abilities and my efforts by teaching her all about being a hunting dog. She taught her how to chase chickens, how to tree squirrels, how to chase deer, and how to dig up armadillos. Now, Jodee thinks that she is an overgrown Feist.
Though she still occasionally chases the horses, it is only because her instincts still have a strong spark in them. I did have another Feist, a male named Snoopy. He was C.C.'s mate and he also contributed to Jodee's training, except he helped me train her to work agility.
Jodee had 13 beautiful puppies, C.C. four. Jodee's puppies looked like hounds in their body style but they had the blue and red merle coloring of Jodee. We have given away all of them except four. C.C. had two tan puppies, a black one, and a brindle one. We gave each of them away too except for one. That is why I own 7 dogs.
"Yesterday was weird. I couldn't get myself out of bed. The guy I live with lifted me up. I tried to get my legs under me, but they wouldn't cooperate. He said, 'Don't worry, I gotcha buddy,' carried me downstairs, and out the front door. That was so nice of him. I needed to pee so badly, I just had to go right there where he put me down. Normally I wouldn't, but we both decided to make an exception to the rule.
I started walking down the parking lot toward that place where all the dogs like me go to poop. I felt my paws dragging on the ground. 'How strange,' I thought. Then suddenly, I just had to go, really badly. In the middle of the parking lot. Normally, I wouldn't do that. It's against the rules. My person cleaned up the mess. He's good at that. I felt embarrassed, looked at him, and he said, 'Want to keep walking, buddy?' I did, but it was surprisingly tough. By the time we reached the end of the parking lot, my head was spinning. I tried to climb the little hill, and nearly fell over. I couldn't figure out what was going on.
He reached down again, and ran his hands over me. That felt good. He picked me up, and carried me home. I was still confused, and my head was light, but I was glad not to have to walk all the way back. It suddenly seemed like an impossible distance. I was so glad to lay down on my bed. My person petted me, saying, 'I gotcha covered, buddy. I gotcha.' I love the way that makes me feel. I know he does. He makes everything better. He felt my paws, and pulled up my lip. He said, 'Oh buddy, are you cold?' I was. My face was cold, my paws were cold. He texted a few people, and came back to pet me.
A few minutes later, another person arrived. He's one of my favorites, and his name is Jay. He petted me, and said to my person, 'Do you want to get a blanket?' They put a blanket over me, and wow ... that felt good. I relaxed, and they both petted me, but they both started to choke back tears.
I never want them to cry, it breaks my heart. It's my job to make them feel better, and I was just a little tired, and cold. I drifted in and out of sleep, and they were always there, making sure I was okay, and chatting with each other.
Throughout the day, my person made some phone calls, and spent a lot of time with me. I heard him say, '9 a.m. tomorrow ... OK ... yes ... I'll tell you if anything changes. Thank you Dr. MacDonald.' He called someone else, and said, 'I'm sorry, I have to cancel tonight.' Then as I was drifting off to sleep, I think I heard him cry a little again.
In the evening, more of my favorite people came by. They were all so loving. I licked their tears away when they would get close enough to my face. They whispered sweet things in my ear, and told me I was a good boy. Later in the evening, I felt well enough to stand up and walk to the door to see who was coming in. It was more exhausting than I'd remembered it being, but I loved seeing them all. I heard my person say something like, 'That's the first time he's gotten up under his own power today.' Everyone seemed glad that I was out of bed. I was too, but wow... after the excitement wore off, it was so exhausting to move around.
After the last visitor left, my person took me outside to do what he called, 'my business.' We went back inside and when we reached the bottom of the stairs, they looked twice as steep and ten times as long as I remembered them being. I looked at my person, and he looked at me. He said, 'Don't worry, I gotcha buddy,' and carried me up.
Then it got even better! Instead of sleeping in my bed, he called me up to sleep on *his* bed. Let me repeat: *I got to sleep in the bed with my person!* We normally have our own beds, but last night we snuggled, and it felt so good to be that close to him. I thought, 'This is where I belong. I will never leave his side.' I didn't feel very well though, and it was hard to breathe sometimes.
It seems like it started a few months ago. We were playing fetch and I just blacked out. I don't know what happened, but I think I stopped breathing. I could hear my person calling my name. I couldn't move a muscle. He lifted my head, and looked into my eyes. I could see him right there, but couldn't lick his face.
He said, 'Benny, are you in there?' I couldn't respond. He looked at me, and said, 'Don't worry buddy, I gotcha. I gotcha covered.' I started to spin into darkness, but then my lungs took in a deep breath, and I could see again.
We went to see some doctors, and since then I've heard a lot of words like, 'cardiomyopathy,' 'cancer,' and, 'kidney failure.' All i know is that sometimes I feel okay, and sometimes ... you know ... I just don't. My person gives me pills.
This morning, I heard my person get up and take a shower. He came back in the room, and smelled so nice. He helped me get up, but this time, I could do it on my own. We got to the top of the stairs, and wow ... they looked long and steep again. He said, 'I gotcha buddy,' and carried me down.
I did my business, and we came back inside. He opened a can, a really, really delicious can of wet dog food. Oh man ... I love that stuff!
Jay showed up again. What a nice surprise! He and my person seemed concerned, but everyone was petting me. It seemed a little like a play, where all the actors were sad, but pretending to be happy. Pretty soon after that, another person showed up. She was wearing doctor pants, and I leaned on her.