That's Aoife (pronounced EYE-fa) my Border Collie. She was a gift for me when I came home in 2011. When we first met, I was a stranger...she knew Denise, but not me since Denise had picked her out. However, those first months, we had a lot of time alone together to get acquainted. There is no doubt as to whose dog she is these days. At night, she finds the spot right behind my knees and curls in as tight and close as she can. In the morning, when she decides that it is time for me to get up, she does this thing that I cal the "baby seal slither" as she wriggles her way up and onto my chest.
Yes, she loves Denise. She loves Jenifer. And during Ronni's visit, she absolutely adored my daughter. She is very special to me. When I work during the day, she will come up and let me know that I have been at my desk too long. She will bring a toy and drop it at my feet. Sometimes, she will go under my desk and actually put her paws in my lap and push me away until I get up and give her the attention that she demands.
Other times she will just jump up into my lap and rest her head on my shoulder. One of the things that made me choose a Border Collie was that I have a tendency to lock myself into my work and shut out the world. That single-mindedness can make those around me feel like I don't care if they are around or not. Aoife is my reminder that there is a whole great big world AWAY from work.
Studies have shown that people who have close ties with their pets actually live longer...same as the whole thing about laughing, relationships (positive ones anyways...we have all had the BAD ones that stole some of our souls...but let's focus on the good), and that sort of thing can actually lead to longer life. If that is the case, Aoife has tacked on some serious time.
One of the simple joys in my life is coming home from anywhere. I text Denise as I pull in and she opens the door to let Aoife out onto the porch. When I start up the stairs, I am greeted by fierce tail-wagging and a full blown body wiggle. There is no way to receive a greeting like that and not smile. It makes me feel good all the way through...
But there is more to it than that. She does things out of the blue all the time to express her love. To me, that is an indication that I give her the love and attention that has created that special bond we have. I have had many dogs over the years, and they are all different. This one is special. I've never had a dog that was so expressive in her love for me. Perhaps that is another indication that I have changed...I like to think so.
If you have any knowledge on Border Collies, you know that they are listed as one of, if not THE, smartest breeds. Aoife lives up to that standard. She learns things fast, and some of her tricks include "High Five"...catching things in the air that are thrown...but it is her newest trick that I enjoy most. She jumps into my lap, and when I say, "Give me a hug!" she tucks her head under my chin.