Monday, February 28, 2011


Misleading title on this post.  Blackberry-pie is my dog, Blackberry.  Berry for short.  I have purposely avoided blogging about this dog, my dog.  There's too much too say.  So much in fact, that if I would really get going and give it the detail it deserves, I would end up writing a small book.  And no one is that into this dog; except me.

When I started writing this post, she was at the vet's getting some testing done to figure out a course of treatment for her Cushing's disease.  I hate that she's not here.  You see, we've always been together.  One job I've had only, a job at a bank, have I not had her "on-site."

At our Wedding
 Best as I can figure, she's probably about 12 or 13 years old.  I got her when I was in college, when I was 18.  I'm 30, now.

Here are some high and low points of our journey; thus far, together:

  • After being approved to "adopt" her, I picked her up from the pound in between pizza deliveries (I worked until 2 AM and couldn't get her, otherwise.  I had already visited the pound looking for something big and bad, or specifically a stalwart blue heeler, but she, a foxy, black mutt, was the dog for me).  From then on, she always rode with me while I delivered pizza.  My boss would say, "I can't see her, but I know she's there..."

  • She had a foxy build and could run like the wind.  She'd take corners at top speed in "tuck" position, and I could see the whites of her eyes.
  • During the time period that I guided horse-pack trips, I taught her to leap up into my arms, and that led to her learning to jump up onto my horse. "Load up!" I'd say.
(We only had 1 horse buck us off for doing wasn't the horse's
  • I taught her to "heel", by making her heel at my horse's hips for the several-day- horse-trips that I guided.

  • Customers often did not remember my name, but would send pictures they had taken, from their trip, of me with my dog, back to the outfitter's office.  They would request the guide-who-had-the-little-black-dog for repeat trips.  I've had my picture taken more times than I know, just because of my dog.
  • Lunch on the Left Frying Pan Trail

  • I would pack her lunch in a sandwich baggy in my saddlebags.  Everyday.
  • I refer to her wallowing in a cold stream while we're out riding as "her spa treatment."
  • I would often go out to eat after a trip, with some "regular" customers-turned-friends, and I was speechless when they ordered my dog a stuffed ham dinner "to-go", and then asked the waitress to keep it warm for her! (It still makes me laugh.)
  • She liked riding beside me in the wagon I drove with a team of horses. (Do you like her red scarf? And yeah, the black horse is my horse Pete. He's old now too. Oh, and that's my Mom too, but she isn't so old...)

  • I remember thoughtlessly leaving my unwrapped sandwich on the dash of the farm pickup to go into Agway, and when I came back out, Berry had not touched it.  Good girl.

  • Berry, originally, was found thieving on the streets by a policeman, when she was brought into the pound.  She still battled those roots when we'd lay out a lunch spread for customers to pack lunch for their boss once found her on her way out of the barn, after having already hawked down all the ham, with the cheese in her mouth, making her getaway.  My boss yelled at her, and she dropped the cheese....(PS Ham was, and still is, her first choice, by the way)
  • When I lived in MO to trickride out there awhile, I had a padlock on my bedroom door so that the house dog would not mistakenly get into my room with my dog.  The house dog was an ex-fighter and wanted to kill Berry. (It would sit and wait outside our bedroom door.  We didn't live there for long..can't imagine why..)  I still have a scar on my shoulder from coming in between the two dogs, to protect Berry when they first met.

  • When I worked at the bank and still lived with my parents, said parents sent me an email with a picture of Berry next to a political sign that they borrowed, and they made her a little badge.  The sign? "Elect Berry for Senate." (Does anyone remember when Berry was running for Senate?) Yes, you may call her "Senator-Elect", lol... And yeah, that's what my parents were up to when I was at work...
  • When I came home to my parents' house for Christmas one time, when I was living in FL, my Mom put a sign above Berry's water bowl that said, "Welcome home, Cheri'-Cheri'!" (one of her nicknames)
  • I opted to be the Schlupp to drive an Equine Show's (I was trickriding for) horses out to AZ from Fl, instead of flying out like the other performers did. Just so Berry could go along.
  • Blackberry at the Grand Canyon, AZ

  • An ex has threatened to kill Berry. (We, of course, didn't stick around.)

  • Berry was, of course, with me when I jack-knifed my tractor trailer and had a wreck.  I remember that my bag of gummy bears got tossed.  I just remember the gummy bears everywhere and my shook-up-dog. 

  • Sometimes I'd load (with cattle) my tractor trailer without barn help, and I would get Berry out and put her at a strategic location to bark.  But between you and me, she doesn't have any cow sense.  She did learn when to bark when I'd use certain lingo and shooing sounds working the cows ...
  • Berry has as many miles as I do, cattle hauling and driving to performances. 

  • One time, Berry was tied to my horse trailer (kind of like your house on the road) at a rodeo, and snarled and barked at one man she didn't like.  Said man came up to me and told me that he was going to kick my dog if she barked at him again.  I told him, "If you kick my dog, I'll kick you.  And how about you just stay away from my trailer." (Just don't mess with my dog.)

  • In the past year, she has had mange, worms, and pneumonia.

  • I have a photo album, of just her.  It has roses on it.

  • Shortly after Hubby and I married, I parked the car in the garage, not realizing that Hubby was in there working.  Berry was riding shotgun, like always, and I, thinking that I was alone, uninhibitedly belted out an oozy, schmoozy love song for my dog, while I proceeded to smchooze all over her.  When I was done, I looked up as I was getting out of the car, to see Hubby standing there, just taking it all in, and grinning from ear to ear. (SO embarrassed! I pretended that he was the weird one and stalked into the house with my dog.)

  • Berry has no time for little kids or anyone else except me really, but she has accepted the presence of more people in my life, with grace.
  • I've named my Ebay and Etsy stores after her (Blackberry's Shed).

  • She is my shadow.  I like that she isn't needy; she doesn't really want petted.  She just goes where I go.  And that's that.

  We used to blow where the wind blew..and now it looks like (if we're lucky) we'll have a medication regime and routine, schedule and daily details to deal with, just like everyone else.  Doesn't matter, I hope to have  a little more time together.

I used to say, and have been saying, for, oh, about eleven or twelve years now, that Berry is a direct gift right from God specifically for me. I don't know if that's true...if God specifically purposed it to be this way, but I'm glad how it turned out.

Little black mutt.
And so much more.


  1. This story....words are not enough. The story of Berry is your story...just heartstring touching!
    May you enjoy every possible moment together for as many moments possible. xo Jo

  2. Awww. I sure do hope that your pup comes home with the medication she needs. I had no idea that dogs get cushing. Strange.
    I remember this dog...several times my brother has watched her. The bowl/lampshade thingy that was on her head cracked me up.
    Keep your chin up...I'm sure you'll get more time with your blackberry.

  3. Remembering with you...."Is that a lab puppy?" as you continued on that trail! Lots and lots of precious wonderful memories with you and Blackberry! xoxo kls

  4. Thanks for the sentiments!

    And yes, aside from my parents, Bob is the only other one I'd leave her with on the rare occasion that she can't go along. ;-)

    ANd I still have the "elizabethan collar". Just in case. You never know when a bad case of the mange might set THank goodness for modern medicine.

    ANd, kls, no, she is not a baby lab. ;))) (HOw many times have I been asked that...) She just has a small head and is black. As the ace of spades...

  5. What a beautiful tribute to Berry. Sounds like you both have a wonderful and strong bond. She sound like a lucky girl to have ended up with someone who has given her such a fun and exciting life. All my dogs would be jealous to read all you have allowed her to experience. Enjoy every moment as you already have.

  6. Anonymous:
    Thank you for the kind comment! You know, that's the nice thing about dogs though...they don't care if you're the Pope...a CEO...a librarian...or where you're going (the Moon or Walmart)...they just want to be with you. :-)
    Merry Mama