This is a tribute to our dog, Dusty, now deceased. She started life out as Kip's companion until he left for college and then she became mine.
Anyone who labels an animal as 'dumb' obviously doesn't spend much time around animals. This is illustrated regularly in the news. Today's feature was a little dog who opened four doors to get into a bathtub filled with water to save herself from a house fire while her people were out. She survived with just a little soot on her fur.
Then there is the little gray parrot who alerted her person to the toddler that the girl was babysitting. The baby was choking on a tidbit and the girl was in another room. The parrot called to her with the words, "Mama, baby, help!" The baby was rescued. The parrot had never uttered this before ever.
Our Katie Bug dog, also now deceased, used to play hide-and-seek with our son Kip many years ago. They played the game over and over and over. About ten years later, another pet owner filmed his dog doing the very same thing and won $10,000 on Funniest Home Videos.
But this story is about Dusty, a.k.a. Pooh Bear. She was a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix and a very smart, loving little friend. One hot, still August night at about 2 a.m., Dusty began barking relentlessly at our back door.
I woke up and got out of bed to check on her. The first thing that I noticed was a heavy wood smoke smell in the air. Our power was out, but I became aware of an unearthly orange glow surrounding everything. I ran to the front of the house and was greeted with a sight that I hope we never witness again: a roaring, plunging wall of flames quickly spreading across the ridge top, completely engulfing the tall Ponderosa pine trees.
After waking my husband and my brother who was visiting, we began gathering our animals with plans to evacuate. Hooking a horse trailer up in total darkness, as well as loading our cats in carriers when we couldn't even see the cage door, was more than just a challenge, it was a nightmare. Not only could we hear the roaring, we could feel the heat of the fire replacing the early morning cool. Ashes and dead spiders rained down over everything.
In all the chaos, one of us had the mind to pray. We got together and asked God for help. Shortly afterward, a light wind arose and began blowing up the ridge. It sent the fire in the opposite direction, creating a 'safety zone' between us and the raging flames. God is good and we are grateful for His ever-present care.
From that point, we placed lawn chairs in the front yard and watched the show, and it was a good one. It required five different departments, fire fighters and a helicopter with a bucket to extinguish. (The helicopter scooped water from the pond in front of our house, so we had quite a few guest spectators, too.)
Next time a little dog won't stop barking, it's very possible that she has something very important to tell someone. Maybe even, "Forest Fire...FOREST FIRE...ForEST fire....forest FIRE....FOREST FIRE!!"
Thank you, Dusty. We love you.