Is there any other creature whose soul is so readily visible than the dog? Right out there in front of everyone, nothing hidden, so vulnerable and open. They offer their whole selves to us, their entire being, and ask so little in return.
Dogs have been part of my life since I was very small, beginning with the old fashioned Collies on the farm where I grew up. They slept in the barn, watched over the place, keep me entertained. My grandmother raised Poodles and we even had one of those as a farm dog for a time. She seemed to love her life, she was always up for whatever trouble we kids could get into.
After picking the corn in the fall, the cornstalks were chopped into fodder for cattle bedding. This fodder was piled up in the upper level of the barn, huge piles that reached the upper rafters. My brother and I would climb up as high we could, jump onto the fodder pile, and somersault all the way to the bottom. Tammy the Poodle was right there with us, rolling and tumbling alongside, then scrambling back up to do it all again. She never tired of it.
This young Bearded Collie was photographed at a fun match in 2011. A fun match is a practice dog show where puppies learn how to be show dogs. But make no mistake, under that perfectly groomed coat is a spirit that would love to play in the corn fodder as long as you were there to play with him.
© 2011 Vicki DeGruy, all rights reserved.