Birthdays and dogs: Missing Emma

Today, as I turn 23, I am musing on dogs. Of course.

My dog obsession has reached nearly unsustainable levels. Just ask my sweet, patient husband. I talk about dogs all the time. I dream about them. Dogs are the first and last thing on my mind every day. It’s embarrassing and bordering on psychological mania, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. (My boss, a fellow dog enthusiast, and I talked about it and mutually agreed that it would be in our company’s best interests if they blocked PetFinder for both of us.) We can’t have dogs in our current apartment and we’ve committed to living here until May 2012. I may not make it that long, but I am going to undergo a Year of Patience and Character-Building while I wait for my own dog.

I think a lot about our childhood dog, Emma. I picked her out of the litter, around my birthday, and I was responsible for choosing the breed (Australian Shepherd). We loved her a lot, but we also didn’t give her everything she needed. I have regrets. I was young and I didn’t give her enough attention. I also underestimated an Aussie’s need to have a job. I was too busy being 15 and worrying about boys and stuff. Her barking and herding were natural expressions of her breed heritage, but we saw these traits as nuisances and weren’t caring enough to give her appropriate channels for her energy. When we moved to our new house, my parents gave her away to family friends who lived on a farm. Emma, however, was allowed run around unchecked and was soon killed by a truck she was chasing. I wish she were still alive so I could re-adopt her now. In many ways, she was an exceptional dog. Her intelligence was remarkable and I still subjectively believe I haven’t seen a more beautiful dog in my life. She deserved better, and today, I just want her back.

So, please excuse me while I mull over my regrets and tear up at the last remaining pictures I have of her. I know. I have a problem. But look at her face! My sweet, crazy birthday dog.

Emma as a puppy.
Kelsey and Emma at our grandparent's house.
Sam and Emma were primarily family rivals for the position of the youngest child.
Dad was responsible for undoing all of the obedience training I had done with her.
She was really terrible about riding in the car. She started drooling and foaming and we had to give her Dramamine.
She was very happy, though.
Pride Week.
She did love family camping trips.
I always felt like she was one step ahead of me.
I named her Emma after the Austen novel. They were both unbelievably pretty and arrogant.
On squirrel patrol. Miss you, Em.

OK. Done with the self-indulgence. But I do miss her often. Anyone have any tips on how to stave off dog mania? I can’t keep living like this. Just ask Guion.

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9 thoughts on “Birthdays and dogs: Missing Emma

  1. Oh Abby! I totally understand you. I already have a dog which I freakishly love as a son (for this I am teased never endingly) but wish I had another puppy. I guess my only advice would be to use this time to seriously prepare for when you can actually get a dog.
    You’ll have something nice to look forward to and end up with wonder dog!

    Happy Bday again!

  2. Oh, how I can RELATE to this! Seeing so many beautiful photos of Emma makes me miss Tessa & Belle oh-so-much; I hate that we had to move from our Highland Creek house & land- I remember running after my dad’s truck crying as he took them to the farmer in South Carolina. It still makes my eyes well up with tears just thinking about, it was terrible. I’m pretty sure my dad cried, too- though he will never admit it.

    I wonder if the man who sold us our Aussies (was it George something?) still breeds? If so, I’m going back to him as soon as this lease is over & buying one.

  3. […] very long time until I could get a dog of my own. When I turned 14 or 15, I finally got to pick out Emma from an adorable Aussie litter on my birthday. It was the happiest day of my young […]

  4. Beautiful post! She looks so much like my Ivy. Do you realize that by waiting until the time is right to get your next Aussie that you’re honoring sweet Emma? You’re already doing a great job with your next baby by making sure everything is perfectly set up for her (or him). I know it’s hard to wait but you’re a good mama for doing so.

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