MEET MISTY BLUE
Of course, I have the brightest, cutest and most beautiful puppy in all of puppydom!
I had almost forgotten just how much fun it is to raise a puppy. Her silly antics and intelligent curiosity constantly keep my husband and I amused. I had also forgotten just how much chaos and mayhem a little puppy can cause both inside our rather quiet home and outside in our crazy backyard. But, mostly, I had forgotten just how much love a ten pound bundle of fluff and energy can generate both in our lives and those of our family and friends. Since Misty has taken up residence with us, she has had a constant stream of visitors. Everyone leaves, somewhat reluctantly, but, with great big smiles on their faces and promises to return very soon. Puppies are great!
Misty encountered her first duck within minutes of coming home. What a welcome! She jumped back in alarm. So did, Matthew, the big black and white male muscovy duck who probably outweighed her by at least ten pounds. All Misty needed was to see that Matthew was just as afraid of her as she was of him and, in true collie puppy fashion, she half herded, half chased him and, as he hurriedly waddled away, she seemed to have a smile of complete and utter satisfaction on her tiny little spotted face. Within forty-eight hours, Misty's collie instincts kicked in and she herded three muscovy ducks into the bushes. It was absolutely astonishing to see an eight week old collie puppy herd so effortlessly. Of course, most of the time, she just runs around the ducks. It's also amazing to see that the ducks are really not that afraid of her. They seem to realize that she's just a mini-Gypsy who won't hurt them. They run away from her for a few feet and then stand still and everybody wins. Misty thinks she's done what she's been bred to do and, I can almost hear the ducks uttering a sigh of relief as she goes off looking for some other fun thing to do!
From my house, there is an approximately twenty foot slope towards the water. Therefore, I have lots of sets of little steps - from the brick terrace which is level with my house, to the multi-level deck, to the gardens and then another set of steps from the French doors in my kitchen to the driveway. Since my arm is in a cast it's a little hard for me to carry her, so, one of the first things I taught Misty to do was to climb up and then, the next day, down the stairs. She learned so quickly and she is so very proud of her smart little self. Now, all she wants to do is make the full circle of steps from the terrace to the deck, through the grass, to the driveway and back up to the house. She expects - and, of course, gets - quite a bit of praise for this accomplishment!
All spoiled princesses love to be pampered and Misty is no exception. She delights in all of our attention, leaving my husband and I to wonder "just who is in charge of our home?" Misty truly loves the luxury of having her "breakfast in bed". She lays down on her little rug, rearranging it just so and, then, pushes her baby bowls until there is enough room for her to lazily recline behind them. She then delicately nibbles at her food. Sometimes, "the little mist" has been known to fall soundly asleep, while dining, her little black nose resting on the rim of her puppy bowl.
Misty has developed a fondness for my sweet, ripe strawberries. For the past two summers, I have been engaged in a war with the crow family who live next door and apparently have the same fondness as Misty does for my beautiful strawberries. This year, I really thought that I had won! I transplanted my strawberries into the two large planters which hold my patio peach trees and then I moved the planters to my upper deck content that the crows won't generally come this close to my house. And, I was right. They didn't! I watched with delight as my strawberries matured and began to look juicy and red. Only one more day to go! I was outside bright and early the next morning - my mouth watering for the first sweet taste of my own berries ... until I saw Misty daintily nibbling away, to her heart's content, red juice dribbling down, enjoying everyone of my strawberries. Sometimes, I just can't win!!!
Along with her fondness for my strawberries, Misty has also developed a taste for my apples. And, as befits a little princess, these are no ordinary apples. Our apple tree is quite a conversation piece and is my husband's pride and joy. Six special varieties of apples are grafted onto one four foot tree which is then espaliered so that each branch has a different kind of apple. Yummy! All within Misty's little reach! And each day, a new treat, red, then yellow and today ... green! "What a delicious, juicy, ball to play with - so much better tasting those rubber balls mommy and daddy bought for me!"
Misty now has a strict morning routine. Every morning, she follows me upstairs, climbs on my white leather couch and waits for me to finish my morning chores. Then, it's playtime for her and me - with, of course, me doing all the petting and scratching, and, she just laying there, making her little yellow duck "quack", and enjoying every minute of my undivided attention.
Misty loves her little house. I have never seen anything quite like it. My other collies never spent a night in theirs. In fairness to them, though, they had cages rather than crates. But, I really don't think it would have mattered. They always cried and whined so pathetically that I always took them out and, of course, let them sleep with me. I loved the smell of their puppy breath and the feel of their warm little bodies next to mine.
Misty was just the opposite. Whenever I put her in my bed to snuggle, she made it very, very clear that she was most unhappy. She only wanted to sleep in her house. At first, I thought it was because I had furnished it so cozily with a special orthopedic mattress so that my little princess' back would be comfortable, with soft fluffy towels to cushion her little head and, with all sorts of stuffed duckies and parrots to remind her of her real friends. Misty has shown me the error of my ways! As any female does, she constantly redecorates her home. Out come the toys, out come the towels and, finally, out comes the orthopedic mattress! She spreads them all over my kitchen, sniffs them and rolls in them, drags them and tastes them and, when everything is just right, she begins the arduous task of decorating her home her way!!! After all this hard work, Misty then lays underneath her special orthopedic mattress, underneath her fluffy towels and underneath whichever toys she chooses for that particular day. Sometimes she is underneath so much stuff, I can't even find her!
Now, that Misty is a little older, she has decided that she likes to sleep on top of everything. She works very hard at arranging everything just so. Then she lays on her back with her feet straight up in the air! I'll never forget the first time that I found her in this very "comfortable" position, I was absolutely distraught, sure that I'd lost my precious puppy to some horrible malady and that an advanced case of rigor mortis had already set in!
One gray, rainy morning, I left my husband reading his newspaper and enjoying his second cup of coffee. Misty was keeping him company, quietly laying at his feet, on her sweet face an expression of complete innocence. When I returned, my husband was still in the same spot, still reading his paper, totally oblivious to the utter chaos that was going on around him. The kitchen floor was covered with money - dollar bills, fives, tens and twenties strewn everywhere! And, there was Misty Blue, happily chewing them, ripping them, tossing them into the air, laying on them, just having a ball! That's how we discovered that Misty is quite an accomplished pickpocket. She delights in stealing anything and everything my husband has in his pockets and she does it with such expertise that he never feels her tiny white front teeth nibbling away!
Totally against my wishes, Misty decided to see if my living room couch was as comfortable as the white leather couch in my bedroom. Fortunately, for the both of us, it wasn't!
Well, it's so very hard for me to believe, but, in a few more weeks on May 19th, my little Mist will have her first birthday! Where did the time go???
Misty loved Christmas! She was in awe of all of the decorations and lights and just loved all the visitors. As I hung the ornaments on the tree and wrapped my staircase in its Christmas greenery, I couldn't help but visualize all the havoc a seven month old puppy could wreak upon my treasures. But, collies, even puppies, are so "in tune" with their "mommy's" wishes and so willing to please that, with just a few exceptions, I didn't have to change anything. Misty loved "helping" me, especially when it came to decorating the staircase. She loved the bows and ran all around the living room with the ribbons streaming out of her mouth, helping me to fluff them up! She also took a liking to one little present. Every once in a while, she'd steal it from underneath the tree. She'd gently hold it between her teeny white front teeth, run around the house with it with me in hot pursuit and, then, she would place it back under the tree exactly where it belonged. Like a little lady, she never harmed the wrapping or the bow. Once all the presents were given out, Misty was finally able to reach the tree. I had, of course, puppy-proofed the tree, putting all the breakable ornaments out of her reach. I need not have bothered. She fell in love with little red apples, once again, just stealing them for the fun of it, not damaging them at all.
Misty still loves her house. In fact, every time my husband says it's time to get rid of it, she squeezes herself inside and luxuriates. How she fits into it is a mystery to both of us. However, Misty doesn't seem to mind her somewhat cramped quarters. She happily lays there with her head sticking out, watching the world go by and giving my husband a look which says, in no uncertain terms, "don't you dare even think about it"!
While I continually marvel at the way Misty's grown and how her lively little personality has become, in such a short time, an integral part of my life, I am also truly amazed at her extraordinary intelligence. In January, I underwent arthroscopic surgery on my left knee. As I hobbled into the house, I was worried about Misty's strong young body colliding with my weak old knee. Had Misty been older, this concern would never have crossed my mind since every one of my mature collies always had that special "sixth sense". But, a puppy, was a totally different story. Was I in for a wonderful surprise! Misty was as gentle as could be, no jumping, no playing, just a rather big "puppy" who stayed in my bedroom and watched me with those kind, knowing eyes. When she began being herself with me three weeks later, I didn't need my surgeon to tell me I had recovered! And for weeks, she went up and down the stairs, one at a time - just like me!!!
An excerpt from my column "From Fourth Neck"
Last Saturday, my sweet little girl Misty Blue left me
suddenly and very unexpectedly. Those of you, dear readers, who have lost a
furried or feathered “child” know how devastating such a loss can be, and mine
was made even more so because I did not have the chance to say goodbye.
MISBEHAVIN'S MISTY BLUE BELLE
And it was in the early Spring
~ "Honey" by Bobby Russell
Oh, it's been such a long, long time
Just the mention of your name
~ lyrics by Dorothy Moore
I ONLY WANTED YOU
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Copyright (c) 2000, (c) 2001, (c) 2002, (c) 2003, (c) 2004 by Maria's Duck