I love my dog.
I love my dog like I have never loved another dog before.
She’s brave and devoted and smart. She kills small predators in the night. She keeps mean dogs away. She barks at strangers with such ferocity that they fear to get out of their cars. She waits for us to come home. Each and every one of us, every night. She’s patient and gentle with babies. She helps herd chickens into the coop and cows into the barn. She’s my constant companion whenever I go outside.
No one could ask for a better puppy.
And yesterday, she fell through the ice on the pond.
Two days of 60° weather had softened it enough that, while it could hold a few ducks, it couldn’t support a 60lb dog. She tried so very hard to pull herself out, but every time, the ice crumbled away beneath her. She kept struggling toward shore, and I kept urging her on, but after a couple of minutes, it looked like she wasn’t going to make it, and I went for help. Davey grabbed a sled (the only thing available that might distribute his weight enough to keep him dry) and ran toward our dog, who had by now given up trying. By the time I got there, Davey was knee deep in the frigid water. (So much for the sled!) He reached out as far as he could and grabbed Roxie’s collar to haul her in. As soon as he touched her, Roxie found a little extra motivation and, together, they struggled onto dry land.
I think she had the best time of her life, afterward. She’s an Outside Dog, and has seldom been invited in, but she needed to be warmed and dried, and quickly. While Davey showered and took care of himself, Roxie got herself towel-dried and belly-rubbed in front of a blazing fire. I fed her treats. The kids loved on her. She explored the cave of her people. By evening chores, she was dry and happy and ready to go back to work.
What if I hadn’t been there to see and hear her? What if she’d gone out there on her own? We might never have known what had happened to her! She might have just slipped under the ice, never to be seen again, and that would have been terrible.
I’m always thankful for her presence in our lives, but today, I’m extra thankful. She’s a really, really good dog.