Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spinning: The Long Dog Days of Winter

Sammy was the first dog that was my very own. He was a Border Collie. When I moved out of my parents' home into my own place many years ago I bought him from a farmer just outside of London. He was a plump tubby butter ball of a puppy. And he was my very own dog.

Anyone that has owned Border Collies knows the saying, "On the seventh day, God created Border Collies."

Sammy was a wonderful, energetic and highly intelligent pet, my fur baby, my friend. He learned all the words related to the things that mattered to him. When we switched to spelling O-U-T, etc., the dog learned that too. Then we went to sign language and he learned that too. We gave up trying to outsmart him.

I discovered one day that he also was listening in to phone conversations to find out what was happening in the home. When I mentioned to someone that "Grandpa was coming over", the dog would go into a frenzy, rushing to the front door to wait for Grandpa.

He LOVED Grandpa who took him for walks along with his own dog Boots (picture - Sammy on the left and Boots on the right). Sammy quickly progressed to using the telephone. When Grandpa would call we'd put him on speaker phone and he'd tell Sammy himself that he was "Coming over". This would cause Sammy to bark like crazy into the telephone and then when we hung up he'd run to the door, wondering why Grandpa wasn't there instantaneously.

He was a great dog. He lived 16 1/2 years--a very long time for a dog.

Years ago I had read in the newspaper about sweaters knitted from a dog owner's fur combings. Intrigued, I started a bag saving Sammy's combings back when he was little. And I had saved his combings for most of those years.

He had long hair and he would shed like crazy in the spring so he contributed a lot. I knew that at some point I would have to ask someone to spin his fur. I was not a spinner yet, and would not be for many years but I saved his fur anyway.

This long and cold winter has truly been too cold for a dog to stay outside, let alone any other domestic animal. I keep myself busy indoors with my hobbies, spinning and knitting most lately.

On the weekend while ploughing through the back of the closet for something kniting related I came across the bag of Sammy's combings.

It looked the same as the day I combed it off him. I took it to the wheel and tried spinning it right away. The experience was very surreal. As I spun and felt his fibre slide through my fingers I remembered him, happy moments, ecstatic moments, extremely sad and unhappy moments. We had weathered through them together. He had remained a constant friend and I loved him very much.

I don't know what I will do with the fibre once spun. What I do know for sure is that I needed those moments to reconnect with Sammy, with our past together. I know he's in dog heaven right now and one day I'll cross that rainbow bridge and we'll meet again.

Read about the Rainbow Bridge:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

- Author unknown

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