Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

As the Tail Wags


It’s funny, how an animal can speak to you. Not in words, maybe not even in actions, yet it speaks. Something in its eyes draws you in, and you know it’s meant to come home with you.
After we lost Buster, the boychild’s lovely Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever to a brain tumor, we waited a bit then suggested to the boy that it was time to find another dog to love. Sure, we still had the girlchild’s dog Bubba, Buster’s son, but even Bubba was lonely. Though the boy didn’t believe that there could be another Buster, we decided to go to the pound, to see if any spoke to him. We prefer to save a homeless pooch that would likely be euthanized if not homed, so it was there, or the Humane Society for us.
The kidlets meandered the aisle, checking out the dogs all needing homes, but the boy struggled. He missed Buster. He was looking for another, happy go lucky dog that always wore the biggest, doggy smile. Not a single dog seemed at all like that. But then, these were mostly sad, confused dogs that had no idea what was going on, and why they were there. Though nothing called to him, there was one dog that, other than breed, reminded me of Buster, just a little. Something about her seemed special. She wasn’t happy and boisterous, no big doggy smile, and the saddest eyes looked up at us, yet there was something.
“Sweetie,” I beckoned the boychild over, “what about this one?”
He was unsure. The girlchild would’ve taken them all home, but the choice wasn’t hers. She still had the ever naughty, Bubba at home. We persuaded the boychild to give the dog a chance to get to show herself a bit better, and took her out into the enclosed, outdoor play area. Well wouldn’t you know it. That sad dog came to life. She wagged her tail with exuberance. She paid attention to both kidlets, yet mostly to him, as if she knew it was he, who she had to persuade. The thing that clinched it? She gave him the biggest, doggy smile. She had a smile as big as Buster’s, and the boychild smiled back. We took that pretty dog home with us, and she immediately became part of the family.
At times, she was as naughty as Buster had ever been. She was every bit as enthusiastic and busy, and she got along with Bubba, just as if they’d known each other forever. Within a day, she had a fierce loyalty and sense of protectiveness over all of us, and claimed all territory as hers.
Our property has a dirt road running along one side of it, and she claimed this as hers as well. Over all the years she lived here, I could never convince her that this wasn’t so. An Australian shepherd, she wanted to herd and nip at horse heels, we insisted otherwise. Her job was to protect and play with her family, not herd horses. She soon learned that she wasn’t allowed in corrals or pastures, though the restriction tormented her.
The boychild gave her the most perfect name, Mayhem. There couldn’t be a more perfectly suited name for a high energy dog, than that. For short, she was Hemi. Also a perfect name, as a Hemi engine has power to spare. Besides that, we’re not only horse lovers, but horsepower lovers as well.
As much as Hemi was the boychild’s dog, she was mine. Sure, she loved the kids, and the man as well, but I was the one she shadowed. She couldn’t be persuaded to stay with anyone, if I walked away.
As the years went by, this became worse, not better. Sweetpea and I would be unloading a trailer of hay, and Hemi would contentedly hang with us, just happily chilling. If I would leave to run up to the house without her noticing, the second she realized I was missing, she would go looking for me. It didn’t matter how much the girlchild sweet talked Hemi, she wouldn’t be dissuaded from her goal. She had to find me. I would come out of the house to find that happy dog smile waiting for me. Upon returning to help sweetpea, she would laughingly tell me all about how, Hemi had hurt her feelings. She would sweetly call her back, explain that I would soon be back, that she didn’t have to leave, yet it never made a bit of difference. Hemi would wag her tail most apologetically, and leave her anyway. That dog was my shadow, listened to my ramblings, and completely adored me. I used to tell my husband that I wanted him to look at me, like Hemi did. That he could take lessons from her. He only snorted and laughed. Ah well, at least I got to experience complete adulation, and for years upon years, too.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB