Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pete... It was our honor.

In one of those bizarre twists of life that blind side you and turn you inside out... we lost 2 pets in as many days. We're still reeling from the shock of it all and the quietness that our "children all grown, empty nest" lives have suddenly been struck with.

This is about Pete, a Border Collie of such impeccable standing, his presence would have been welcomed anywhere. He never met a stranger that he couldn't creep into their heart in the span of mere minutes. His ice breaker was to bring the new person that came into our yard a stick, lay it at their feet and give it the Border Collie stare at it until he willed them to toss it for him so that he could return it. It was his pleasure to give people this joy... people that he didn't even know, but I guarantee no one forgot Pete once they met him.

Pete came into my life in 1998 when Sally and the kids moved to Missouri and Sal and I started dating. The first time I met him was a repeat of the scene that I described above. He had made a couple of moves with Sal, but was still a young dog and so full of life... you just wanted him with you at all times so that you could watch him. The kids nickname for him was "Hockeydog" from the time that he was with them in MI, he'd be with them on frozen ponds and played Hockey with them for hours, until he decided that it was time to go home. He'd just pick up the puck and go to the house. Game over. Pete wins.

He loved to ride in the truck with me, but not in the back, he rode in the front seat, sitting up like a person watching the world go by him, hoping to see another dog in a yard or a rabbit make a hasty retreat out of the road, he had eyes like an eagle and reflexes fast as lightning.

His biggest joy, like most Border Collies was to be able to herd something... anything, it didn't matter to him. He'd move the sheep around, up at the farm he'd get around the cattle and put them where they needed to be. He'd herd the cats around the yard, we had chickens for several years and he'd herd those stupid chickens out of the barn and back in and back out, just to herd them. No other reason.

Once when I bought 3 new Angus bulls, it took Pete a solid week to "whip" one of them. A good Border Collie doesn't bite an animal it wants to herd unless they, as a last resort, need a nip. Pete in typical BC fashion would go into his crouch, his hunker... and lock eyes with the other animal until he would make them so uncomfortable with his stare, they'd do what he wanted. 2 of those bulls fell for his bluff right away and did his bidding, the third it was a battle. I have a picture that I can't locate of Pete, all 40 pounds of him, locked up nose to nose, literally touching, with an 1800 pound Angus bull, not the least bit fearful because he knew who the winner would be before he started. And after a week, he did win and bossed that bull wherever he wanted him to go.

Another time Pete went for a ride in my truck without me. I'd left it idling in the driveway to warm up, Pete had loaded up and was sitting in the passenger seat and didn't want to get out when I went back in the house to wait until it got warm. No sooner had I got back in the house than I looked out the window and there goes my truck, rolling backwards out the driveway, across the highway and into the gateway across the road where it hit the only thing that there was to hit for 40 acres, one lone osage orange fence post. I'll never forget the look on Pete's face through the windshield of the truck while he went for that ride. He looked rapidly side to side a few times then just sat and stared straight forward, until it crashed, with a disgusted "what the hell?" look on his face. Thinking about it right now gives me a smile.

This family has more smiles from that old dog than could ever be counted. You just smiled when you were with Petie.

The years were rough on him, he was an active dog. His hips were all but worn out from miles and miles of running... his teeth were broken and worn down like happens with farm dogs. His vision, once razor sharp was all but gone and the last few months he had a different look to him. His hearing was almost gone, only hearing the loudest of sounds... and he had cancer.

Pete went home to the Lord last night, I wrapped him in a quilt that Sally had done and buried him in the corner of the yard this morning.

Pete was a king among dogs... not just because he was ours, he was a king.

June 25 1995
January 25 2008

We'll see you later, boy.


Vicky said...

I'm so sorry that Pete is gone from you for now. He'll be waiting with a stick for you to throw when you meet up again. And you'll smile when you see him.

It's been a rough couple of days for you and Sally. (Hugs) for your hearts. ILY

lilsis said...

That really sucks. Not much else I can say that is "family-friendly" or Rated G.

Thank God for bringing such wonderful and faithful companions into your lives and hearts. And for the years you were blessed with enjoying them. This was a really wonderful tribute.

JudyL said...

Oh, Jace! I'm so sorry y'all lost two pets so close together. Sounds like Pete was a fantastic dog and lived a full and happy life. I'll bet it seems real empty around your farm right now.

Doodlebug Gail said...

I'm so sorry for both you and Sally - you've lost 2 precious 4-legged family members. What wonderful words you wrote about Pete. Hugs for you both.

Kim said...

I'm so sorry that you're missing Pete! Heck, I can't even think of a smart ass thing to say, so you gotta KNOW I feel bad, right?! Pets bring real joy to our lives; it's sad that their life spans are so much shorter than ours. I'm not sure why that is unless it's to teach us lessons about love and loss. You obviously have many wonderful memories of your time together, and Pete will always be with you.

Anonymous said...

It's sure gonna seem weird not seeing Pete waiting at the back door. And who are we gonna toss a stick to this 'bout you, Jace?

You kow we love you guys. Ginormously.

gracie and the chief

Jerry said...

Well, you know how I feel, Jace, so I won't belabor the point.

Give Sal a hug for us. And one for you, too, buddy.

Michael said...

Sorry for your loss. I have 6 pets.
Michael in AZ

Babs said...

Drank-I didn't think I could or would read this, but when I got to Pete driving the pickup-I just busted out laughing-I can just see it now. Pete you sure were a good 'ol boy!! Hugs, Babs

Mar said...

What a wonderful tribute to what must have been a such an awesome member of your family. I'm so sorry for your loss.

quit2quilt said...

You made me laugh and cry at the same time! Our 4-legged furry children sure do know how to grab onto your heart, don't they. Hugs to both you and Sally and give Mattie a pet and scratch too.

quit2quilt said...

Jace, I'm so sorry! I meant to say give ROXIE a pet and scratch.


Cowguy said...

Thank you all very much for all the nice things you've said.

And JoAnne, don't think a thing about it... I knew who you meant.

Thanks again,

Stacey said...

How sad. My BC, Todd, is 12 years old now and I wait in fear of his day coming. Border Collies are just the best dogs to ever have around and life is never the same when one of them leaves. Mine is a couch potato and only herds the children and cat. i hope that I can capture him as well as you have (for Pete) when Todd's time comes.