Friday, August 25, 2006

I believe it was an event on this day at the Bonner County Fair that prompted my love affair with a young black-and-white lady named Kiwi. Her name wasn't Kiwi at the time, but I did meet her at the fair. She was hanging out with her siblings and her mom, Sam, the day I went to the outdoor arena to watch the sheepdog trials.

I sat for more than an hour watching Border Collies of all shapes, colors and sizes happily herding those sheep through the obstacle course. The more I watched, the more I wanted a Border Collie of my own. Later, I heard that Robin McNall had some pups at the fair, and the next day I had my own Border Collie, immediately naming her Kiwi.

Today Kiwi and I will go to the fair to celebrate our first anniversary together. It didn't take long for everyone in our family to experience their own love affair with this active little dog with the "sixth gear," as some people term it. Kiwi was accompanying us everywhere we went, even on a hike to Lookout Mountain the week after she joined us as a nine-week old pup. She trotted along the trail watching our every move and learning that she liked huckleberries.

Toward the end of that hike, she asked for a ride because her little legs had had enough. I'll never forget the whimpering we heard when we tried to keep her in her canvas doggie house in the back of the car. Kiwi wanted to be with us; we, however, were trying to be good parents who instilled discipline in their doggie; eventually Kiwi's whimpering won out.

We've worked on discipling Kiwi, but she still has a ways to go in the "down" or "off" department. She loves people so much that her natural inclination to jump up and try to plant a French kiss when they least suspect it just won't go away.

We'll keep working at convincing Kiwi that not everyone appreciates those French kisses and now that we've moved to this farm, we'll try to get her into a training regimen for sheep dogs. Maybe some day she'll get to herd something besides those Folgers coffee cans.

From what I heard yesterday, Kiwi may have a new friend in the neighborhood. We finally figured out the mystery of the mom and pups who showed up on my mother's deck a week ago. Seems there were eight pups all together and most had been given away. But Pita hadn't. Pita is speckled gray, black and white, and she's looking a lot like her Blue Heeler bloodlines.

Yesterday, she also became a permanent resident at the Tibbs Arabian ranch. So, a year after Kiwi brought joy to our lives, another little pup is bringing joy to my mother and sisters. It will be fun to introduce Kiwi to Pita; maybe she'll even give her a French kiss.

In the meantime, Kiwi and I will go to the fair. We'll meet with Rose Marie where we have a date with some other dogs---those would be of the German sausage variety---with a little sauerkraut and mustard please. And, if Kiwi's really good, I may just buy her one of those delicious cheese pretzels at the sausage man's booth. If the sheep dog trials are, indeed, today, we'll spend some time back there at the bleachers where we first met, and maybe some of the arena action will rub off on Kiwi.

Whatever happens today, we'll enjoy a nice anniversary at the fair and will look forward to many good days ahead as canine-human sidekicks.

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