By Linda Riegger
Raindrops plopped heavily into driveway puddles and birds twittered behind the wet leaves of backyard trees as Allie Mae’s spirit meandered from her worn out collie body this afternoon, making its way from the patio she lay on into overcast skies, wafting toward the something-ness we all hope is there.
With the assistance of a veterinarian, my 13-year-old permanent MWCR foster, that sweet, stubborn, happy girl who has been part of my life for 3 1/2 years, was given relief from ailments she could no longer fight. Raised as an outdoor dog on a farm in southern Minnesota, Allie Mae came into rescue at almost 10 years of age due to family relocation. I will long cherish memories of “Mamsy”, the nickname I gave her because of her excessive chattiness on our dog park outings. She reminded me of a “Ma’am”, a busybody matron letting everybody know she was a force to be reckoned with. Allie Mae had a weak rear end from the time she came to live with me. But she displayed an outstanding herding capability
that burst forth frequently at the dog park, with nips to my posterior and to the butts of unsuspecting canine partiers being evidence of her zealousness. Bunny hopping her way across the park, this little lass didn’t let a lack of mobility deter her from trying to round up any and all stragglers. Her exuberance caused several lovely bruises during her reign, the imprints of her little crooked chompers testament to the lack of dental care she’d received over the years.
Allie Mae overcame a phobia about slick floors after much “laying out the carpet” maneuvers at the vet’s
office. It would take two small carpets, one laid in front of the other crossing the entire lobby and hallway, to get Allie Mae to move her feet forward enough to eventually enter her assigned exam room. If, however, this princess decided she wasn’t going to move from her chosen location, she knew how to plant her legs in a stance that a mule would envy.
Allie Mae never wanted to miss out on anything and she was determined to go on walks with her doggie housemates, even when that hind end didn’t have the strength to keep up. So we went on “little old lady” walks, she, Willie, Holly and I. Half a block down, half a block back. Then she would be content to lie in the back yard and wait until we returned from our trek. She was a busybody, always nosy about those she encountered on our strolls. If somebody should, perchance, be walking behind us, or across the street, Allie Mae made sure to keep a close eye on them, making sure they were aware of her presence. Bark-bark. Yes, Mamsy, they can walk down the same sidewalks you are walking on.
Almost psychic was Allie Mae’s ability to locate a pill hidden inside chicken, braunschweiger or cheese. Spitting out the offending tablet after maneuvering her tongue inside the wad of smashed meat was a talent displayed frequently.
I never heard Allie Mae complain. Though her joints no doubt ached throughout most of her stay with me, she never grumbled. Hoisting her into a vehicle became exceedingly more difficult for both of us, but she always tried to help by raising her paw onto the floorboard, knowing I’d boost her bottom up and in as best I could. Over the past month as her health continued to decline, Allie Mae’s spirit was always strong, she was always interested in life, always determined to be included in family doings.
Last evening, she rested in the driveway and I sat next to her, rubbing her ears. I could tell that finally, this brave little girl had had enough of trying to be strong, and I told her that it was okay to rest now, that she could let go. She definitely wanted to stay outside for the night, so I made her comfortable on the patio, blocking her in so she couldn’t wander, making sure she was sheltered from the rain. She laid there til it was time for her to leave the world as we know it, and passed gently as the raindrops surrounded her and the birds sang their farewells.