There are lots of good dogs, but the really great ones are hard to find. Callie was one of the great ones….
During all my growing up years my family only had 2 dogs. My folks got their first dog Annie from the pound a year or so before I was born. She was an amazing and smart dog, but I was never very close to her. She was always the old dog to me (and I think she resented the fact that I came into the family and took her place) :).
When I was 11 or 12 my folks decided that my brothers and sisters and I (after lots of begging!) could get a puppy. My parents weren’t fans of having 2 dogs at once, but Annie was getting old and wasn’t much fun to play with. My sister and I scoured the newspaper for dog ads and found a litter of Gordon setter mix puppies. We didn’t know what the breed was, but we knew we wanted a dog right away. The puppies were cute, so we picked one out and named her Tootsie because she was colored like a Tootsie Roll.
Tootsie was a nice dog – she was always friendly and good for petting – but she wasn’t too smart (or it could have been the fact that 4 kids were trying to teach her tricks at the same time that she just gave up trying to learn). We all loved Tootsie though, and she lived until I was in my 20s.
After I finished college and got married I really wanted to get a dog of my own. Unfortunately the house we rented had a no pet policy. Thankfully, after a year we moved to a pet friendly house.
Like a kid again, I scoured the newspaper. I found a batch of border collie/Australian shepherd/blue heeler puppies some kids were selling in Calhan, Colorado. There were only 2 females left in the batch and my husband let me pick which one I wanted. One was marked like a border collie; the other was black with a white chest and white feet. I chose the mostly black one because she was cuter (the most important and scientific part of puppy picking).
We named the pup Callie (since we got her from Calhan). Callie was shy and often timid, but she was incredibly smart. We taught her dozens of tricks and I competed with her in agility competitions all around Eastern Colorado. She was known in our Colorado Springs neighborhood as the baseball dog. She loved catching baseballs when my husband batted them down the street.
Like my folks’ dog Annie, Callie wasn’t too excited when our firstborn daughter showed up. But over the years Callie warmed up to Shayla, and then her brother Garrett. Shayla showed Callie in 4-H (and won obedience competitions) and Callie was Garrett’s constant tractor-playing companion and protector when he was outside.
Callie was accustomed to moving too. She went on all of our state-to-state adventures and was everything from a country dog in Hays, to an apartment dog in Colorado Springs.
Last week, Callie unexpectedly died. She was just 11 years old, so we hoped we would have a few more good years with her. We didn’t realize just how attached we were to her until she was gone.
Like all of the owners of beloved dogs that have gone before her, I am counting on the fact that she is in heaven. I feel the way that theologian Beth Moore does. She says, “Dogs do go to heaven and I don’t want anyone to tell me any different.”
Billy Graham says, “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” Callie brought us a lot of happiness, so we are counting on playing ball with her there again.
As my kids take comfort in those thoughts, I am busy, once again, scouring the modern-day newspaper (Craigslist) for a puppy. Nothing cures a kids’ broken heart like a cute new dog.