Princess found my husband at our house here in the canyon in February 2006. She was five or six years old. And she was starving and worn out. For some reason my husband did not, as we had always done, look for an owner. Intuition, yes, because we later found out she had belonged to a crystal meth addict who had left her alone and gone away for two weeks at Christmas. So Princess had in effect spent six weeks in the hills around here. Many people had seen her, but no one had taken her in.
It's too painful for me to share recent pictures. In March of 2006, my husband took a series of photos of her as they were hiking on our land. On the ones that follow, he is down below what we call the waterfall (and it would be one if there were ever enough rain) and she is on top. At first she is trying to figure out how to get down, then she gives up on that and sits down, giving him some interesting and I think beautiful shadow photos. I'm placing them in-between the text.
When Bandit was lost in the hills and we searched and searched, my husband finally had the idea to bring Princess to where we last saw Bandit. Without training, she understood what she was supposed to do. She took off in a totally different direction, ran up a hill and down on the other side, out of sight, came back up and stood at the top, wagging her tail. Bandit was on the other side and we got him.
Another time, I left her outside while I went into the house for a minute. When I came out, she was gone. Then I heard a horrible sound from the fields. Wild animals were killing something, and it was not a rabbit, probably a dog. I feared for Princess as I grabbed some "weapon" and ran to the fields, calling her name. She didn't come. When I arrived at the fields, the horrible sound had ended, and there came Princess, looking like she had rolled in the dirt. Her coat was covered with dirt. She was uninjured but really shook up. Of course I don't know for sure what happened. I believe that coyotes were killing a dog and that Princess ran to investigate, if not help. I don't know if dogs think they are going to help, but she was like that.
You can read about how she stopped Samson from running away and tried to keep up with Soldier when my husband dropped his leash and he took off here.
And whenever Angel drifted too far away, Princess would always go and get her and herd her home. She was such a wonderful dog, my Princess.
In her everyday life, she always came with me when I worked outside. She would find a shady spot and lie down and watch out for me. When we went hiking in the hills, she would run in front. Sometimes, she would see a rabbit and be off on a chase.
And how she loved winter and snow. First thing she would do if there was any snow, she'd bury her face in it, make a long furrow, and then roll and roll in the snow. She had so much fun in the snow. Just like her mom, she loved winter and snow the best. After the snow melted, I would take her looking for snow and when we found some on the shady side of a juniper, she would try to roll in whatever was left.
I know she was happy here with us. She is the one dog that has lived with me that I know had the right kind of doggie life. Not tied up, no leashes, just running free on the mountain, doing her good deeds, and helping out always. And she was so obedient. In the summer, worried about snake encounters, I would say, "Stay on the road Princess," and she would come back and stay on the road. I never taught her this; she just knew what I wanted.
I think she was a good little dog blogger too and I know she enjoyed speaking her mind very much. I particularly enjoyed her post about her vet visit on May 1, this year. The one where the very large dog fell for her and drooled all over her. She was not pleased. You can read about it here.
Dear Princess, Daddy says goodbye and wants you to know that he will miss you always. You were his best friend when he worked on the house here and there were many a night when you kept him warm as you both slept on the cold concrete floor. He will always remember how you shared everything that winter, the long walks, the cookies, the food, and how much you both enjoyed playing fetch with the sticks. He loves you, sweet Princess. Angel and Soldier miss you too. You were their best friend and always kept them safe and they know it. Samson says he liked to kiss you so much and he will miss you too. Pippi Birdie isn't saying much, but then, you know, he is just a little bird.
Goodbye, my sweet Princess, Mommy will always love you. And I will never forget what a very good girl you always were.