The Kansas Authors Club is hosting the state convention for October. I’m chair of the convention committee, and that as taken up almost every moment of my life. However, I had time to read Ursula Le Guinn’s collected blog posts, a fascinating look into the mind of one of the greatest writers of our time.
Le Guinn died not too long ago, but her blog posts have brought her alive on the page. She roamed from traveling with her husband to dealing with a strange cat. I couldn’t put the book down.
Because of her sections on Pard, the cat who never wanted to go outside, my thoughts turned to our dog. She is in a long line of dogs we’ve had over the years. At one time, we had five dogs, most of them being rescued from the street. One poor dog, a part chow was left behind outside in winter when the family moved. She was so frightened when I got her home she hid between the refrigerator and the stove. We finally coaxed her out with food.
Our collie Mulan was given away by a family who probably used for breeding. She tried to run away when we got her home and my husband had to run after her and bring her back. Soon, though, she joined the group on the back porch where all the dogs slept.
We had decided she would our last dog. By then, all our other dogs had died, a sad thing every time. Well, life had other plans. About five years ago, I was driving home on the Kansas Turnpike when I saw a truck in the left lane swerve. When it went on down the road, I saw this tiny dog standing by the media. There wasn’t any traffic right then and I was calculating my changes of getting across the road without getting creamed. I pulled over and turned on the flashing lights. Then I got out of the car, took a big breath, and wondered what the heck I was doing.
The I saw this little thing behind the car. I knelt and the dog ran into my arms. She laid on my coat in the passenger seat all the way home, keeping her eyes on me the whole time.
When I got home, my husband came out to help me unpack. I said, “Guess what I found.” He said, “Not another dog,”
We knew we had no way to find the owner. We took her to our vet who told us she looked like a designer dog, part Yorkie and part poodle. She was in good health, maybe around three years old. She had a black coat with golden legs and a curly tail. She shyly looked around the house, then when we went to bed, she jumped on the end of the bed. That’s where she’s slept every night since.
My husband became her best friend, taking her for walks in parks all over the city. She also became friends with Mulan. Every morning as Annie, yes, we settled on that instead of Little Orphan Annie, was ready to go out in the back yard, my husband would say, “Go get Mulan.” Annie would run into the living room where Mulan slept in front of the fireplace, bark, and Mulan would get off and follow Annie outside.
Mulan became so ill we finally had to put her down. The first day Mulan was gone, Annie had a puzzled look on her face. She has adjusted, of course. She’s smart, fun, demanding when walk time rolls around. She loves people and everywhere she goes, she wags her tail and does a little dance if someone gives her a pet. She chases squirrel in the park. The squirrels have learned to tease her before they run up a tree.
She’s brought joy to our lives. When she gets through running, she snuggles up next to me on the couch. What a gift she is, our Turnpike traveler.