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The Other Old Lady In My Life.

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More than 16 years ago in the coldest part of winter, a young dog appeared on our front porch. Somehow it had managed to get through our fence. We were in the habit of keeping our gates closed to prevent that very thing because we couldn't stand the thought of losing another dog.

Our home is in the country, but it's not far from a busy highway and despite our best efforts, our dogs would escape from the yard and die on the highway or sometimes just disappear. They would go under, through, or over the fence. Or failing that, they would sneak through when we had the gate open.

We've had quite a few dogs over the years, sometimes as many as three at a time. The first few dogs were 'store bought' and the rest were drop-offs by persons unknown. I have no kind thoughts for anyone who would dump a dog.

The young dog on our porch was friendly, female, and about a year old according to the vet. The dog was a mostly-white cattle-dog mix with thick, slightly curly hair. It had one frost-bit ear and a serious flinch when someone tried to pet it. It was rough and underfed, but not as underfed as some I've seen. For the reasons I discussed earlier, I didn't want it; Kathy did. Finally, I relented, and said, "If we're keeping her, we'll name her Zero because with our record, that's her chances of living another year."

That was 16 years ago, and Zero is 17 years old and counting. She was the first dog of ours that never left the yard even when the gate was left open overnight. Now she's deaf, about half blind, and the arthritis in her hindquarters give her a stiff and a little sideways walk. She is prone to sudden collapses. She has no reverse. Most of her time is spent near her doghouse on our north porch. She spent the summer in front of a squirrel-cage fan we bought for her. At the time, we discussed moving her indoors, but spending time indoors seemed to traumatize her. In the end, we decided it would be best to not change her environment at her age.
2012-05-24 037
She refused to look at the camera.
Each morning and evening I deliver dog food to a nearby bowl and make sure she has clean and plentiful water. The dogfood is the soft kind now, not the crunchy dry kind she ate for years. She still hobbles out to meet us when we drive up but there's no pretense of guarding the yard now. The rabbits she used to chase from the yard now graze at will.

17 dog-years old and counting. That qualifies her as an old lady.
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On November 16th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC), wendigomountain commented:
I had a dog as a kid named Scooter that looked a lot like your Zero. She was a very, very patient dog, what putting up with me as a toddler and then a young hellion. A mix between a husky and a collie, she hated coming indoors and was perfectly happy sleeping in a snowbank. She used to jump the fence at night and run with the coyotes. When she was 3, she and another dog were chasing cows, the local police demanded that my dad shoot her. They stood by, watching the field as he loaded up his rifle. My dad is a crack shot, but try as he might, he never could draw a bead on her. Missing every time, and not for lack of trying. She walked home and the policeman stomped off, telling my dad to keep her chained up. Different times, and place back then, I guess. She lived another 8 years. She jumped our 5' fence trying to kill a cat. This was a week before she died, stoved up with arthritis and cancer. A good dog.
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On November 16th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC), 7ony replied:
Sadly, Zero is gone now. I haven't blogged about it. I might one day, but not now.

Kids and dogs. That's always a great combination for fun.
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On November 17th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC), wendigomountain replied:
I'm sorry to hear that. I hope I didn't dredge up too many bad memories. The best things about old dogs is they never really leave us.
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