Two months ago yesterday, we added a happy Heeler to our American Life. Since that Saturday in January we’ve shared countless photos of Smudge. We’ve told story after story, both here and on social media. (Yes, she has her own page.) Folks tell us that they’ve enjoyed watching her grow from the quivering bundle we brought home into a confident fireball.
Often someone will say, “I can’t wait to meet Smudge!” And we understand — she’s adorable.
Thing is, Smudge probably doesn’t want to meet you.
We’ve learned that she’s not particularly social. She isn’t a Golden or a Lab that wants to be loved by everyone who comes into her world — she simply doesn’t care. Smudge is cautious and somewhat standoffish, but without a hint of a mean streak. Approached by a person or another dog who expects to be liked immediately, she retreats.
If not necessarily typical of all Heelers, that’s common.
Within our little tribe — Deb, Scout, Dipstick and me — the puppy we’ve come to know is affectionate and expressive. She’s compliant and seeks to please, while remaining entertainingly ornery. She’s developed a rock-solid bond with both Deb and me.
That’s gratifying. Loyalty is the first and most important quality we wanted in Smudge. The rest will come in time.
For all of her crazy gymnastics and herder energy, Smudge is a leaner and a snuggler, a real Velcro Dog. She’s a kisser. She has an endless appetite for belly rubs. She loves The Mountain. Just like Scout and Dipstick — who probably enjoy more attention these days than before the puppy showed up — she gets lots of love from us and gives it right back.
Every single day, Deb and I acknowledge how fortunate we are that Smudge is the dog she is — she’s perfect for us, perfect for our life on The Mountain. And I’m pretty sure the puppy knows that she hit the jackpot, too.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.