Little Bonnie Lass – Celebration of a Life

BonniejpgThough we know the end of her life is near, we share our love with her every single day. She has good days and bad days, but she is always the little trooper with an attitude who came to live with us fourteen years ago when she was just two years old.

Her hearing is gone, but she has adapted well to hand signals. She is my constant companion throughout each day. And, in the evening when my husband is at home, she is his devoted sidekick. She shares her affection equally between us, though secretly she loves him just a little bit better than she does me. But that’s okay, because she is who she is and came to us with attachments already formed with her former owners, an elderly couple who loved her, but couldn’t keep her.

Norm and Millie…I remember the day we met them and the little tyrant who would become part of our family.

“I named her Bonnie Lass…you know, like My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” Norm said. He was smiling from ear-to-ear, while the little pooch barked wildly and circled the room as fast as she could.

“Our neighbors won’t even talk to us anymore, because of all the barking.” Millie, his wife was not laughing.

“She’s a good girl,” Norm insisted. “But this cancer is getting the best of me and we have to find a good home for her.”

“We’ll give her a good home.” I said, against my better judgment…but she was so darned cute…the tiniest sable and white sheltie I’d ever seen. I couldn’t seem to stop myself, even though it was clear the little kid was going to be a handful.

“Does she sleep in a crate?” I asked.

“Oh. sure…sure…” Norm answered. And though I wanted to believe him, I was pretty sure he was fibbing. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to question him further.

I probably should have. The first night home, as expected, little Bonnie Lass whined in her crate. Everything was new to her, so we forgave her.

But, after two weeks with no change and the other two shelties were walking around the house with long faces and droopy eyes, I began to think I’d made a huge mistake. I was exhausted. And when my easy-going husband, began to sound like a man on the brink of exasperation, I knew what I had to do.

I called my friend Carol who’d just lost her fourteen-year-old dog and told her my dilemma…did she want Bonnie? No. But she had a friend, Mary, who already had a sheltie and might be interested.

So Mary, bless her sheltie-loving heart, came to our home, took one look, and smiled. Bonnie was on her way to her new home in minutes.

“What a relief!” Jim said, and I knew I’d done the right thing.

But two days later I called Mary to see how she and Bonnie were getting along.

“She’s a doll!” Mary said.

“What about nighttimes?” I asked.

“Oh, she sleeps like a log.”

“In a crate?”

“Oh no, on my bed…I think that’s what she’s been used to.”

Two more days went by and I just had to call again.

“How’s she doing?” I asked.

“Just great!” Mary said. “She’s a wonderful dog!”

Yes, I knew she was. But now she was gone. Jim and I were watching some silly episode of Dr. Phil when the tears started creeping out of my eyes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop them.

“You’re not crying about this show, are you?” Jim asked.

“No, of course not!” I couldn’t talk about it right then.

But next day, I called Mary again.

“How’s she doing?”

“Coralie,” Mary said, “I think we both know what needs to happen here.

“I’m so sorry, Mary.” I felt like a traitor.

“It’s okay. I totally understand. I’ll bring her by tomorrow.”

Mary walked in, unhooked Bonnie’s leash, and she was off and running…right across the living room and into Jim’s lap. Mary just laughed. “I guess we know who she really belongs to, don’t we?”

I didn’t care who Bonnie thought she belonged to! She was mine and she was home!

It didn’t take her long at all to train us. No crate; no problem. Simple as that.

We’re going to miss her terribly, when the time comes, but for now, she just keeps on barking and circling and keeping our home in a joyful state of laughter and love.

Lost Sheltie!

Tues evening is when it happened. I looked out in the backyard to let my sheltie “Carrie” into the house and discovered to my alarm that the gate was ajar and she was gone. We later learned that the meter person had been here while we were away and left the gate unlocked. A strong wind opened it.

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Turning Clocks Back An Hour – Dogs Not Impressed!

With the new time change we are experiencing this week, I’m trying to get the shelties to understand we’re doing things differently. But it’s not working! It may only be 3 a.m. but to Ginger, Carrie and Bonnie, it is 4 a.m. and time to get up! I keep telling them, they’re wrong…but they just bark a little (well, a lot) louder. Maybe I can get them trained by springtime when we turn our clocks one hour forward. You think?

Rescuing Bonnie – The Whole Story!


BonniejpgThis adventure started with an email from our friend Bob who had received an email from his friend Nancy who worked in a veterinary office. An elderly couple, both in ill health, was looking for a home for their tiny two year-old Shetland sheepdog. My friend wanted to know if I knew of anyone who wanted a very nice very small female sheltie.

Heart pounding, I wrote back immediately, “I want her!”

What was I thinking? Jim just shook his head. We already had two shelties. Two were a couple; three would be a crowd!

A few days later, we traveled an hour away to the elderly couple’s condo to “interview” the pup. Invited in, we were met with a frenzy of barking and circling. “She’s a real sweetheart,” the husband told us. “Our neighbors won’t even talk to us anymore, she makes so much noise,” his wife said, shaking her head.

Maybe that should have been a clue for us to leave, but we didn’t.

“Maybe she’ll sit with me, “ I said.

“Oh, she doesn’t like people,” the couple chimed in together.


“Well, let’s just see about that,” I said. “How about if you pick her up and set her over here next to me?” I sat down on the sofa. He picked up the terrorizer and placed her next to me. The sheltie settled down at once. “Well, well,” I said to her. “How about that?”

The dog had been purchased by their son who feared they were too lonely in their retirement and needed company. This little live wire was the last thing these folks needed; they could barely get a lease snapped onto the kid’s collar.

“What’s her name?” I asked.

“I named her Bonnie Lass,” the husband said. “You know, like ‘my bonnie lies over the ocean’!” It was obvious he loved the little kid a lot.

“We’ll give her a good home,” I promised.

We’d barely left the condo when little sable and white Bonnie Lass—predictably—became extremely anxious. Outside of a scary ride as a tiny pup in a plane from her breeder in Kansas to her condo home in Michigan, she had not been inside a vehicle. Here she was in a strange vehicle with two strange people. I tried to comfort her, holding her in my lap, but she just couldn’t be still. The hour-long ride felt like an all-day event. But, finally, we made it back home.

Our two shelties at home, Ginger and Carrie, were just happy to have us back. Another mouth to feed? No problem. They could see we’d brought in yet another crate for the new kid. They nosed her gently, sort of looked at each other and figured out she was no big threat to the pecking order. This little pooch was no Alpha Dog! (So they thought…)

We’d managed to eat up most of the day with our adventure, so it was TV time and then to bed for everyone. But what about Bonnie? They—the condo couple—told us she was used to a crate so sleeping should be no problem. Hmmm…one wouldn’t think elderly folks would fib, would they?

It was only a few hours after we’d all gone to bed that she started. I wouldn’t call it howling exactly. Whining maybe? No, more like barking. Yes, that was it! Barking. All night long!

We had purchased a nice big brand-new crate just for her and set it in the dining room where there seemed to be the most available open space. The other two shelties had their individual crates in the kitchen, but there just didn’t seem to be enough room for a third crate. On day two, however, when push came to shove, we pushed and shoved until we could finally add in a third crate. Surely now Bonnie would feel better being side by side with her new “siblings.” Wrong!

“I don’t know what you’re going to do,” Jim said, “but three dogs are just too many!” This, after a week of all-night hullabalooing from the kitchen.

Ginger and Carrie just looked at me with sad eyes and kind of slunk off to quiet corners where they could lie down in peace…get some rest. Forget trying to get any shut-eye once the sun went down and the night terrors began again!

Not only was my husband looking groggy, but so were the resident shelties, Ginger and Carrie. I wasn’t feeling too chipper myself. And, Bonnie? Well, Bonnie was happy as a lark…once morning came! Smiling! Sleeping! Settling in!

“What in the world am I going to do?” I agonized…not wanting to face the inevitable.

Not only was the whole family—except Bonnie—tired, they were also getting ornery. Not getting enough sleep will do that, we all quickly learned. Jim’s long face was nothing compared with the long-nosed stares I kept getting from the resident shelties, Ginger and Carrie.

I was beside myself. Finding a new home for Bonnie Lass started to creep into my thoughts. But even as the second week of all-night barking came to a close, I knew that I just couldn’t do that. I’d promised the condo couple I’d take good care of her, didn’t I? And, besides, she was only two years old…and so so sweet…during the day!

That’s when she bit me!

I’d discovered her on the sofa in the living room, shredding a piece of tissue she’s obviously “found” in the bathroom trash.

“No, you don’t!” I said, taking the tissue away from her.

Snap! Ouch! What?

We had a brief stare-down contest and, since she was winning, I decided to just forget the whole thing.

Rationalizing the situation, I told myself that Bonnie and I barely knew each. We could easily part, couldn’t we? If I found a good home for her, everyone would get back to normal. Everyone would be happier, wouldn’t they?

Against that inner voice that kept telling me not to, I called my friend Carol who had sadly lost her 14 year-old dog two weeks earlier.

“She’s a wonderful little dog,” I told my friend. “And you need a new pet around the house.” I was such a scammer. (Well Bonnie was a wonderful little dog and my friend did need a new pet. Still, I felt my nose growing long and fast as I left out the part about the all-night barking.)

But Carol wasn’t ready for a new dog. However, she had a friend—Mary from work—who already had an eight year-old sheltie, who might be willing to take Bonnie.

After a phone call to Carol’s friend Mary, I learned the following:
1) Mary already knew my daughter since her son and my daughter had been in a musical theater production together.
2) She’d even brought my daughter flowers on opening night!
3) Whew!
4) Mary was not some stranger off the street!
5) And, best of all, she knew shelties!
6) She would provide the perfect home for my little Bonnie.

When Mary arrived to pick up little Bonnie Lass, the little sheltie was delighted to see her. I must admit I felt a little jealous about that. But I had to remember that Bonnie would soon be Mary’s dog—not mine anymore. I’d picked the perfect home.

“Remember,” Mary said as she was leading little Bonnie to the door on her leash, “you can have her back, if you need her.”

“Oh, I don’t think that will happen,” I said, my heart starting to break just a little. “Everyone around here needs a good rest.” (I’d been a good person. I’d told the truth about the night barking and Mary wanted her anyway. She was a good woman!)

“Well, you never know,” Mary said. “I once gave a cat away and had to go back and get her a week later.”

“Thanks, Mary,” I said, sadly watching the two of them prance out my door. “I appreciate that.”

“You did the right thing,” Jim said.

“Sure…” I sat silently watching the news on TV. The local Stop and Go’s were being bought by some big grocery chain. A 3-car pile-up had occurred out on 94. A cat had been rescued from a tree by a fire-fighting team. An airport official reported another strike could raise costs even higher. The Humane Society was having a walkathon for people and their dogs.

My little dog was gone!

I kept telling myself it was for the best. She would be better off. We would be better off. Jim and the “big dogs” would get some rest. We would all get some sleep!

I crawled into bed and listened to the silence.

Bonnie was gone!

I didn’t sleep a wink all night.

Tired and sad the next day, I tried to keep busy, think of other things—anything but Bonnie Lass. But that was impossible. No matter how hard I tried, my thoughts kept going back again and again to the little pooch that so recently pranced into—and out of—my life.

The second day was the same. I couldn’t stand it any longer. I picked up the phone and called Mary.

“How’s Bonnie doing?” I asked.

“Oh, she doing fine,” Mary responded. “She’s a real sweetheart!”

What was I hoping to hear? Of course, I wanted to hear she was doing fine. Then, why did that bother me?

“Yes, she is,” I answered. “What about at night?” I asked. (That would tell the tale!)

“Oh she sleeps like a log,” Mary laughed. (What?)

“She doesn’t bark all night?” I was astonished.

“Well, no she doesn’t,” Mary answered. (What was going on here?)

“Does she sleep in her crate?” I asked. (The detective in me was getting close to the truth and I knew it!)

“Nope,” Mary announced. “She sleeps in bed with me.”

“Oh…” What else could I say? Bonnie belonged to Mary now. It wasn’t up to me where she slept. “Well, I’m glad everything’s okay,” I managed to get out.

“Coralie, are you missing her?” Mary asked suddenly.

“Oh, I guess I am, but I’ll get over it,” I answered, not so sure this was true.

“Well, just remember what I said. If you need her back, you just have to say so,” Mary offered.

“Thanks,” I hung up, knowing I had to stop this nonsense.

“Mary said we could have Bonnie back, if we need to,” I told Jim that evening.

“Well, I don’t think that’s a good idea, do you?” he answered. He was finally getting some rest!

“No, I suppose not,” I said glumly. No one cared if my dog was gone…no one, but me.!

I promised myself I would not call Mary again, at least for a while. But, after a few days, I just had to know how Bonnie Lass was doing.

“Hi Mary,” I said into the phone. “How’s she doing?”

“Oh, she’s just wonderful!” Mary answered. “She’s an absolute sweetheart.”

“How about at night?” I hated to ask, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Sleeps all night,” Mary answered.

“That’s good…sorry to keep bothering you,” I said lamely.

“Oh, it’s no bother at all!” Mary laughed. Sure, she was happy. Why wouldn’t she be happy! She had my dog!

My dog…

“Are you crying,” Jim asked. “You’re not crying about this are you?” We were watching some ridiculous Dr. Phil segment about what not to say and do on your first date.

“No, of course not!” That he would even ask such a silly question was way too funny, but I was in no mood for funny.

“Well, what, then?” he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“I miss Bonnie!” I wailed.

“You hardly know that dog,” he said.

“I know everything about her! And I miss her!” I couldn’t stop crying. “I can’t help it!”

Jim took a deep breath. “Well, maybe you’d better give Mary another call.”

“I can’t take her away from Mary!” I cried even harder.

I held off calling for two more days. Bonnie had been gone a whole week. Then, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to know how she was.

“How is she?” I asked sheepishly, knowing all too well I was being a pest.

“She’s fine, Coralie,” Mary answered. “But I think we both know what has to happen.”

“Oh, Mary…” I said, relief flooding in, “I’m sorry…”

“It’s okay. I’ll bring her by tomorrow evening,” Mary said.

They were barely in the door, when Bonnie bounded across the room, leaped into my lap and started licking my face. But before I could even get my arms around her, she was gone! She had bounced up into Jim’s lap and was burrowing her head under his arm with her snoot and rolling over while wagging her tail the whole time.

“I guess we know whose dog she really is.” Mary couldn’t help but laugh.

I didn’t care whose dog she thought she was! She was mine and she was home!

The End.

Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Paws!

Sometimes, I forget these TV couch potatoes of mine were actually bred for working. But, when they decide I’m the only thing around here that even remotely resembles a sheep, they remind me that they really are working dogs by going directly to work. It happens every day! When I try to get from one room to another, all three of my Shetland sheepdogs, Ginger, Carrie and Bonnie Lass, sit up, perk their ears and decide to herd me along the way.

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The Trouble with Tootsie

Tootsie was a very very small honey-colored dog. She was the tiniest Shetland Sheepdog that her family had ever adopted. She was so small that her family often could not even find her. But the trouble with Tootsie wasn’t so much that she was so small. No, the trouble with Tootsie was that she liked to hide! And, when Tootsie was hiding, her family would have to search for her all through the house. They would look under newspapers, blankets, and towels. They would look behind the big green fern near the antique china cupboard and under the piano. They would look behind the big wing chair in the living room and under the bed. They would look under the dining room table and under each of the six chairs. And then they would look, one more time, under the bed.

But there was one place Tootsie’s family never bothered to look. And that was in her kennel. And do you know why they never bothered to look in her kennel? Well, they never bothered to look in her kennel because Tootsie never ever hid there. And do you know why she never ever hid there? Well, she never ever hid there because she didn’t like it. Tootsie didn’t like her kennel because that’s where she was supposed to stay at night and she didn’t want to sleep there. And do you know why she didn’t want to sleep there? The trouble with Tootsie was that she didn’t want to sleep in her kennel because she wanted to sleep with her family.

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