November 1, 2015

Farley on Halloween

Used to be, Farley would run full speed every time the doorbell rang. It'd take every ounce of training strength she had to “Sit” and “Stay” while we opened the door for guests, sales people, or trick or treaters.

Being a herder, she could easily work several children at once, keeping everyone grouped. God forbid one of our kids' playmates broke into a run during a ball game (invariably, she’d be sent inside to observe from a window).

I once watched her block a much longer-legged, 120 pound Weimaraner from entering our yard. He finally gave up and sat down on the sidewalk until she said OK. (He used to sneak out of his yard and bark at our front door for her to come outside. They loved each other.)

Every Halloween, to maintain sanity so we could concentrate on the tiny goblins and super heroes, I’d put her on a leash and loop the handle to a coffee table. She wasn’t happy, but she dealt.

We got Farley 12 ½ years ago from the Naperville Humane Society. They estimated she was 1 ½ to 2 years old. An active dog, she melted into the fabric of our 5 person household. Man, she could run laps around the yard so fast it was amazing. Once, when she caught a mouse inside the house, I opened the front door and excitedly motioned her to take it outside. She did so. And then she shot right back in, dropping it at my feet. Yes, she was right to show me her work, but that didn’t stop me from confusing the hell out of her, shouting, “No, no! Outside! Outside!”

For entire school years, she’d try to keep the kids from leaving in the morning. They’d always have to break free of the herd. She’d then watch them intently, giving out small barks of alarm until they disappeared from sight.

In spite of the steady rain yesterday, there were a surprising number of trick or treaters. Each time the doorbell rang, however, Farley stayed on the couch, comfortably curled at one end. Ears up, she still followed Lew with her eyes as he stood up and walked to the door. I know she could hear children shouting “Trick or Treat!”

And, I know she’s just an animal and old age comes to us all. I can't believe I miss her driving us nuts when the doorbell goes off, but I do.