I buried my daughter's childhood today. You might say, it's about time. After all, Ronda is 25 and a lovely self assured young bride with a home of her own. But on this bright fall day, in a corner of the yard where I have watched so many things change too quickly it seems, I talked for the last time to her best friend.
He needed to know how very special he was. Certainly not our first or our last sheltie, but Fella was the little dog that helped shape and form a growing child through years of learning just what life is all about. For all the giggles, all the tears. all the confusion -- he was always there, always tolerant, always adoring his child.
He did all we asked of him and much, much more with an unbelievable gentleness and grace. His excellence in Sheltie type, balance, soundness and attitude can only be learned by experiencing those things every day. I feel privileged to have had that in my life. Most breeders never will.
He needed to know that memories consume me today. Memories of the titles, and mounds of trophies and awards, wins at local and National Specialties, Best in Matches, and Best Jr. Handlers were all a part of Fella. But also are memories of 4-H and the state fair, the Demo team, square dancing, and obedience brace work with Isaac (ick). Memories of a special poem-from-the-heart written by his breeder, and the famous dandelion picture published in a calendar. Memories of walks in the orchard and of ice cream, and years of training classes. Memories of sibling rivalry at most every turn, countless miles traveled and dozens of friendships that will last a lifetime.
There will be memories to cherish always, of a most beautiful best friend with eyes full of complete trust and devotion...... and memories of a little girl growing up.