a work in progress
In Early May, 1987, she came to stay. She left for the Rainbow Bridge on November 7, 1998 after touching many lives and many hearts. Most especially, David's.
She came trembling and scared. She left quietly, laying tucked into David's chest and arms, taking her last soft breath, letting go of all of her pain.
In between, Lady made lots of noise. And she gave her love to everyone who would smile and give her a pat. While she and David were bonded to each other, she was not afraid to open up to anyone who cared. Sit on the couch and it wasn't long before she was on it beside you, with her head in your lap.
She lays at rest overlooking Spofford lake. The view from that spot where she used to sit with David and her other canine "brothers and sisters", looks back to the Green Mountains of Vermont. David and Lady would sit there for hours, if they could, just gazing, and leaning against each other. Lady is buried next to Nancy's beloved Skunk, who died a couple of years earlier. The two were buddies as Skunk often came to visit overnight for a few days.
She was a Velcro dog. She was Velcro'd to David's side. She learned that as he came back to the house and he walked to the office, or kitchen, or wherever, she could keep her head on David's thigh, perfectly in step, and David would rub the side of her head as she walked in unison with him. She slept on his bed until recently when it was too tough to jump up. But she sure did sleep next to his bed each and every night. Except if the air conditioner was making it perhaps just a little too cool.
She was almost always laying beside David in the living room or in his office. If she was in a different room, or on a different floor, her hearing proved incredible. Lady could be sound asleep upstairs on "her" bed when David lifted a glass top on a canister of shredded wheat snacks, and you could hear Lady's feet hit the floor on a dead run towards the office. She would appear in seconds with her eyes wide and her ears straight up in rap attention.
She met many people at greyhound events, and just walking around and meeting people on walks. Her seemingly mascara outlined big brown eyes could win over the least interested person. She seemed to know that she could do that. And it seemed she took joy to get that pat from any reluctant stranger she'd meet.
She vocalized a lot, but generally for only David and a special few. Her interest in howling was discovered when a PBS special on wolves perked her ears and her interest. As the show ended, David made an attempt at a soft wolf howl. Lady answered immediately with her own, and a furiously wagging tail. And so began their "discussions". David would start and she would join in. From quiet calls to singing howls, Lady joined the chorus with pleasure. Certain select human friends in the adoption group that met at her home became a select few she would "talk" with.
She was pretty strong minded for a creature that had started out as a frightened little girl. When dinner was not as soon as she wanted it, she would "talk" to David about it, starting as a quiet soft long closed-mouth howl and growing to a bark if he ignored her. When David returned she would often "roo" at him, scolding him for being so long away from her. And if one of her other human buddies showed up, her roo could become an incredible vocal scolding that wouldn't quit even when she got her obligatory strokes and ear rubs from her visitor. She let you know she was ticked off that you had been away so dang long. How dare you!
Lady loved to be with David. And to walk, or ride, or run with him nearby.
Early on she and David would walk the area around their Spofford, N.H. home. She never needed a leash because she wouldn't let David out of her sight. If they were sauntering down the back road as a car approached, Lady was quickly 20-30 feet up into the woods, to return when the car had passed. She just rejoined David at his side as if nothing had happened.
About a quarter of a mile down their dirt road was the Calef family homestead, at least in the summers. This old 1779 farmhouse was passed down through three generations, and was on the 150 or so acres on which David and Lady made their home, a hilltop with a spectacular view of Spofford Lake, back to Mount Snow, Haystack and Stratton in Vermont.
But that quarter mile stretch became a challenge for Lady. She knew the road, they walked it often. So when David would drive her down for a family gathering, she knew that her trip home would be something special of her own design. When David got into his SUV, she was generally was laying on the lawn ignoring his calls. Ya' Right! She knew every movement of David and had it choreographed like a ballet......
So, David would pull out of the driveway slowly and start back up the road to home. When he was about 100 feet down the road he could see this streak of tan flash out of the driveway and head towards him. The race was on.......
He gunned the vehicle and pushed it up to near 40 mph. He held briefly, but Lady was too quick. She passed him and led the way up the road and into their driveway, to be turned around waiting for him at the garage door, as if to say, "Hey, dude...... what took you so long?"
Within a couple years, David stopped Lady's antics along the dirt road for fear she would meet a car head on and not have time to dodge. It was fun, beautiful and thrilling. But her safety was far more important.
She did like to run the 900 foot driveway as he walked the round trip to the newspaper boxes at the end. And, she invented her own game of tag to keep it interesting. She would race ahead, spin around in a tight turn and head back to, or rather at, David. She aimed for his knees, and he had to time a side step with an accompanying holler to avoid her. It became a game that she loved. When playmate Abby, a sturdy, overweight Dobie/Shep joined their jaunt, Lady just re-invented the side-step as her own, as Abby waited tried to step into a collision with Lady.
Then there was the day that David was deep into a front page story on the trip back and forgot to do the sidestep. You never heard such noise...... from both of them. David crumpled to the ground, Lady rolled off to the front, both screaming in pain. But Lady quickly stopped her noise when she realized David was hurt, and raced to his side licking his face. He kept up his noise just to get the attention. And get it he did. She cherished David and was very, very concerned.
Her favorite race was right around the yard when she and David went outside. Either in the driveway, around the leach field, back up driveway into the parking lot and back around. Or, perhaps around the house looping at the same end on either side of the house at the garage She make the loop five to 10 times with David cheering and applauding like she was back at Hinsdale in front of hundreds. She learned the tight corners, leaning almost horizontal with paws barely touching down as she flew through the circuit she made.
David joined the Hinsdale management team 1993 after getting Lady, first part-time, then full-time, then back to part-time as an outside contractor. In 1999 he returned to Hinsdale management as Operations Director and Director of MIS. It would be a special treat for Lady to join him as he made his rounds through the office, across the grandstand, through the Lower Club and up into the dining room. She didn't need a leash. She walked at his side without training. Staying instep at a perfect heel. But that was her own training, not his.
She had a "moment" once in the dining room that David won't soon forget. She was standing with David as he talked to the hostess when a race started. Her ears went up as she heard the rabbit. She leaned forward as the dogs surged forward, she moved towards the open ("Oh my God") plate glass windows. David curled a finger into her collar from behind, lightly, but firmly, just in case. It would be a quick step through open window, across the roof of the lower club, and a short (not very) jump to the grass and dirt of the track below. Although she watched every inch of the race that day with ears up straight, she didn't fly out the window, and David breathed easier. But he remembered to pay attention to those windows.
to be continued..........