Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Furballs in My Life - Part 1

The furballs - the namesakes for this blog - it's time to start introducing you to each of the furballs in my life.

Today meet Keeta...

Keeta - our guide dog. I say "our" because, even though I'm not blind, she is first just that - first and foremost - a guide dog in her work.

We picked her up from the SPCA. What a sweetheart! She was skinny, and black, and part border collie, part lab. We chose her her to be a companion to my husband's guide dog that he had at the time. But that guide dog ended up leaving the program, didn't work out - no fault of his - he just had better things to do than guide. So we got another guide dog, who was attacked by some ankle-biting rat dog from down the street, and couldn't continue working because he became afraid of just about everything.

So who stepped in? Keeta. We were waiting for a "real" guide dog from the school. A long time. Keeta stepped up to the plate. She came to us, not knowing how to walk on a leash, and today has become, according to Larry, my better half and husband, the Best Guide Dog Ever! She guides him around obstacles like cars parked over sidewalks, she knows that she needs to slow down over those icy parts, and the Border Collie in her herds him whenever she senses danger. Whenever there is some kind of danger - some piece of sidewalk that has been dug up, some trucks paving some piece of road - she just steps in his way, shoves him over, and for all intents and purposes, commands Larry to "Stay!"

When she comes home, her harness comes off, and she becomes her alter ego, the mom to our younger dog, who is now 2-years old - but in Keeta's eyes, a perpetual puppy - a baby to teach. Someone to teach, she "talks" to Penny, instructs her on the wisdom of doghood, and just tells her the way things are - in typical Border Collie style. It's my way. Period. No negotiations. Reminds me of my mom! God loves moms! Everyone loves Keeta.

Back to when we got her - we picked her up from the Humane Society. According to their story, she had been found by someone, apparently a runaway, and tied out in that person's yard. For months. Eventually they gave her up. When we got her, she was a skinny thing, with each vertibrae sticking out, and a large chemical burn on her side. It became obvious very quickly that she didn't even know how to walk on a leash. I walked her on a harness, just because she was too strong for me on a leash - a lot of pull in that 50 pound dog! She was pitch black. Now she has a patch of white where that burn was.

And now, even though she's only about 6 years old, she's greying ... there's a lot of responsibility when you have so many jobs! But she's got spunk! And we love her to bits.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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