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On the Farm

Sometimes I don't know what to tell you about. The days run together. We feed and water animals, till harvested beds, and re-plant them,and weed others. Seemingly like every other day. And that's ok. We like it when things go smoothly. But sometimes big events (or rather, big events for us) happen. We've had a few of those recently.

Recently we unexpectedly lost our beloved dog, Bindi. Bill, Bindi, and I had been moving chicken pens in the pasture. A noisy truck and trailer drove by, and Bindi darted towards the road. Bill called her, but she didn't hear or was too focused on the moving vehicle. Both the truck and trailer hit her. Bill and I ran to her, the kids down by the house had heard the commotion and weren't far behind us. She died in Bill's arms as he carried her back to the yard. The neighbors were shocked and sorry. They hadn't seen her in the long grass of the ditch. I calmly assured them it wasn't their fault while in my head I was screaming Noooo!!!

We gathered around her stunned - how could this have happened? She had just grabbed at a straying chick not 10 minutes earlier. How could my kids' best friend be gone? She was their confidant, their partner in exploring excursions to the creek, their cuddling buddy in our oversized red chair. How could we now be sitting there holding her lifeless body?

Tears streamed down our faces. Marlee pleaded for this to be a horrible dream. It was almost unbearable for me to see the pain on my children's faces. I felt overwhelming guilt that I hadn't worked harder on her recall command. Maybe if I had taken the time, she would have heard Bill call and come back us. We'd be moving the next pen right now, blissfully ignorant of the danger we had avoided. Or couldn't we go back in time? This time I'd grab her collar when the truck came. Wasn't there something we could do? Bindi was only 2 years old. We thought we had years of time with her. We didn't know we were going to say goodbye today. How can life be so fleeting? How can we go on knowing how vulnerable life is? Look what can happen in a minute's time. And it can't be undone. Ever.

As we took turns holding her and letting what had happened sink in, I knew the work day we had planned would have to wait. We had a grave to dig. A spot by the lilac bush in our yard was chosen. It overlooked the fields where Bindi had spent so much time with us. She helped dig potatoes as a pup. She stole pea pods off the vines when she thought we weren't looking. She dug up marauding ground squirrels. And she sat with us while we weeded. Everywhere I looked, I saw memories of her.

We dug the hole. Liam wrapped her in a white sheet and laid her carefully in the ground. We gently covered her with the dirt not wanting to let her go. We marked the spot with a large blue stone and set another long rock to the side so we could sit near her if we chose. It was hard to to leave the spot and go in the lifeless house, but we did. We spent the remainder of the day in a daze, holding each other, and feeling our loss.

As the days passed, we realized we needed to find not just another farm dog but more importantly a friend. We didn't find the right one until last week. A little Australian Shepherd we named Pixie, a small human-like form with magical qualities. We picked her up on Father's Day and have spent the last few days falling under her spell. We conveniently forgot how sharp puppy teeth are and how hard it is to get up at 3 am for potty breaks. But when she burrows her nose just so in the side of our necks and licks our face, we forget our loss and smile as we embrace this new life, and the new memories we are making.

Bindi will never be replaced. We gave her our hearts, and she took good care of them. So much so, that when she left, we knew we wanted and needed to give them to another worthy dog. Welcome Pixie. You have big paws to fill, but we'll enjoy being here with you as you try.

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