Fifteen Years On… Where Has The Time Gone?

Been on a little trip down memory lane this morning. Landed on the subject of a dog (natch!) called Muffin.

We refer to her now as “The Late Great Muffin Collie-Flower Crowell.”

Here’s The Muff taking me for a walk in the woods…

MuffWoodsWalking

This had to be one of my favorite things to do – ever – taking The Muff into Salem Woods for a walkies…

MuffWoodsWalk

Muffin Collie-Flower (“The Muff”)

I was fearless back then. When was this? Let me try to remember… I can’t off the top of my head… but I’ll get back on that… (it was between 1995 and 1999 I think).

The year we got Muff was the year we lost our last Great Pyrenees, Esmeralda. We went to England that year, and as the day approached for us to leave here for the UK, Essie started doing poorly in health and she passed the day before we left for England. It was a good thing for us we had all that traveling to do – it kept our minds busy on other things like traveling, etc.

She was a peach, was our Essie.

Esmeralda

Esmeralda (“Essie-Co”)

So, we went to England and returned here to no dog in the house. We had our two cats, thankfully, Isabelle and Woodie, without whom life would have been almost impossible.

Isabelle & Woody

It was the first time we’d lived as a married couple and had no dog in the house. It was awful. We are people who need dogs, either one or two, but a dog-presence is a necessity of life for us.

We had talked about the subject of getting a new dog once Essie passed on, and since Paul and I had both had “collie” dogs in our youth (I had a Sheltie but Paul had a real “Lassie” collie – in fact, his dog was even named “Lassie” !!), we decided we’d investigate collies for our next dogs.

We learned there was to be a collie dog show in Maine – the Collie Club of Maine Dog Show – soon, so we arranged to attend it. It was all we expected and so much more. Collies everywhere we looked. We met some people there who were involved in the Collie Rescue group and spoke with Mary L. about the possibility of our adopting a rescue collie dog. She was happy to help.

Within a few days, we heard back from Mary L. and she said she had a dog who needed a home. An adult female, the details of which we were not to learn for a while yet. She said that the Rescue group requires that all adoptive parents be screened vigorously first – requiring an interview and look-see at the conditions under which the dog would be living. No problem. We set it up.

A couple of weeks later, Mary L. and her assistant came quite a distance to check us out. We toured her all around the grounds of Crow Cottage, including the penned dog area in the back with doghouse that Paul built for the Pyrs.

They nodded and discussed things in private before setting off back home. They would let us know one way or the other soon.

We passed inspection, needless to say.

They set up a day to come back again with the dog. Our new dog. We still had no idea what she looked like, what her name was, or anything about her. We put all our trust in Mary that we would love her – and love her we did.

Muffin Collie-Flower - the "glamour girl"

Muff & Paul on her first day here

Wow. That day that Muff came to live here, our stomachs were all tied up in knots. We were SO excited. It had been several weeks with no dog in the house and we were starved for dog-loves!

As you can see in the photo above, Muff’s first day here was a resounding success. We had no idea how beautiful she would turn out to be, both inside and out. When Mary and her assistant pulled into the driveway, with Muff in the back of their SUV, we were in awe when she emerged, all that wonderful “tri-color” collie fur flowing everywhere. She looked like a show dog! She’d been brushed up nicely and we just thought we must have won the dog lottery that day. Which we had.

We took her on leash for a walk around the neighborhood. All our regular friends came out to have a look – and to oooooh and ahhhhh! We were so proud of her! She was so well-behaved and lady-like, too.

Turns out that Muffin (her name already – we had no part in naming her that) was 6 years of age. She had been raised in a kennel all her life, living not in a house but out with all the rest of the collies – “show” collies. She had been raised a show-dog. When her days of being shown were over, she was bred – several times. The reason she was being offered for adoption was only because she had come to the end of her usefulness at the kennel and could not breed any longer. She needed a real home now.

Wow. She walked with us on that first day like a show dog walked. She was almost too much to take in for us. We were bursting with love and joy and pride. We had actually expected a straggly type of collie dog, one who had had a rough time of it, who needed desperately a real home and real loves…

Well, Muff needed all that but she had so much to give us back! She became known around here as “the glamor girl.”

I remember that night, her first night living in a house with people, she seemed so happy to be here. She would come over to me and stand in front of me while I was in my chair and I’d say “up” and pat my lap, and she would jump up with her front paws into my lap and wrap her front legs around my waist and pull in real close to me and give me the biggest Muffin Hug ever! She was known from then on for her Muffin Hugs. Divine!

MuffJazSofa

Jazz and Muff on sofa

I think the year we got her was 1993. I’ll have to look it up but I think it was that year. Or 1995, because those are two of the years we went to England, and we got her a few weeks after we returned from there.

Muffin Collie-Flower

About her name, “Muffin,” I have to admit we didn’t much like it at first. When she first appeared here she looked positively regal to us. Way more than we had expected. And when Mary L. told us her name was “Muffin,” we were stunned. It seemed more like a name for a cat than a dog to us. We couldn’t give her a name – she was 6 after all, and she was Muffin. But right away she became Muffin Collie-Flower Crowell, or The Muff.

She lived here with us in complete harmony until 1999. Not nearly long enough. During that time she developed breast cancer and had an operation to remove a tumor. We went thru all the usual things, including that horrid collar that she had to wear for a while, and she did her share of knocking into everything in this little house… She had to stay in the kitchen at night and I would come down and put a blanket on the vinyl floor next to her and sleep (?) there all night long – for at least a couple of weeks, until she had healed up properly. We got through that OK but a year or two later she started having problems in her nose and would sneeze out blood. Long story short, she had nasal cancer, way back in her nose where it was impossible to treat.

In 1999 we said our goodbyes to the most wonderful, beautiful, gentle, loving dog I’ve ever known, our Muffin Collie-Flower.

I had to take time off from work at that time and my boss was none too pleased. He was not a dog person. He just didn’t get it. I was a complete emotional wreck. Luckily for us, by then we had Jasmine Rose, our white collie dog who saved us when we seriously needed saving.

Muff & Jaz's FirstDay

Jasmine Rose’s first day here (right) with The Muff (left)

OK. That’s all I can do about this now. My brain is all muddled up with memories of dogs, cats, friends, and loss. I need a break now. Need to go hug my dogs…

I miss Muffin Collie-Flower to this day, no less than I missed her back 15 years ago. But the memories I have of her leading me through the woods on our walks, sometimes late at night, too, when everyone else was in bed asleep, I would take Muff down back and into the dark black woods and have a little stroll – what was I thinking? It was scary but she loved those woods so much… so, so much…

MuffWoodsWalking

It was the best of times…

Cheers,

Bex

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15 Responses to Fifteen Years On… Where Has The Time Gone?

  1. Bex says:

    TT, Em is doing very well, thank you for asking. She still likes to hide out and lick her wound but it’s pretty much all healed over and she isn’t doing damage to it. She’s always been a licker – she will sit for hours with her front legs out in front of her and lick them… I’ve always thought it was due to arthritis…

    But she is back to her old self basically – it was that huge infection she got after her surgery that scared us so much, we thought she was a goner! She is still on the antibiotics but has about 2 more days to go on those.

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  2. TopsyTurvy says:

    BTW, how is Em doing?

    Like

  3. TopsyTurvy says:

    What wonderful pup-friends you’ve had, Bex. You’re so lucky to have shared time with them! Wonderful pics!

    Like

  4. Rosemary says:

    Your sweet entry today had special meaning. Two years ago On this date I had to make that very hard decision and let my furry friend go. Teddy was a dear doggie companion for 14 years. Every word you wrote I could identify with, thank you Bex

    Like

  5. Eric Mayer says:

    Wonderful essay. You remind me of our long gone cat Luna — named by us on account of his comically flat face. He was a Long haired Russian Blue Persian. A pedigreed cat mind you. The owner had got sick of him or something and confined him to an attic. A friend arranged to take him off the owner’s hands for us. His real name — on his papers — was Mr Karachi, our of something or other. Recalling the past is certainly bittersweet. Honestly, I am sorry to have so much past to remember at this point.

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  6. sandy freel says:

    Yes Bex….I do miss my muffin..whoever took him I hope they gave love and not bad stuff.
    Your blog today was wonderful trip down memory lane…those are good for us sometimes to look back and remember the ones that went on over.

    Like

  7. Annanotbob3 says:

    Lovely entry, Bex! I’ve been reminiscing too – reading back on old blogs from when ED was in good health. Always bittersweet, isn’t it? xx

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  8. Bex says:

    I wonder what it means when we dwell too much in memories of the past? Must mean we are getting old, no?

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  9. Bex says:

    Sandy, I knew this would bring back tears for you, you were there when we went thru this… and you had your own dear dog, Muffin, who was stolen from you… sorry to bring tears to you but my tears for my Muff are tears of love and I know yours are of love for your dear Muffin…

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  10. This is one of the dearest posts ever ever. So sweet, so beautiful. *hugs*

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  11. sandy freel says:

    DRIP DRIP DRIP…my eyes are dripping bad…what a wonderful blog.

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  12. Bex says:

    Oh Karen, you special woman! You foster collies? If I were younger I would consider doing that… it would be hard to part with them though. If you ever want to just chat, my email addy is on the top of my links… I’m always here… yes, maybe separated at birth might be right… I can always feel your love of collies when you comment in here… I wish now that you did a blog – about your dogs? your life with them?

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  13. Karen G. DiCicco says:

    We foster nowadays for Tri Collie Rescue but had to adopt the last foster, Maia, white-tri factored.She is 12. I know the love they all (breeds, cats,bring us. My fear is I will end up somewhere I can’t have my loves. I feel you are my twin seperated at birth,for this & many other similarities.Your literary loving, collie needingdisabled anglophile friend, Karen Cheesbro DiCicco

    Like

  14. Bonnie says:

    What a beautiful dog and I’m glad you have the pictures and memories. All our dogs were rescues and mutts.

    Like

  15. WendyNC says:

    Bex, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories and lovely pictures of a special friend.

    Like

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