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…
This had to be one of my favorite things to do – ever – taking The Muff into Salem Woods for a walkies…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
It was the best of times…
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