Allie (Our neighborhood Lassie)
Allie belongs to my neighbor Bill. In actuality, Allie is the neighborhood dog.
She sits on her porch and watches all the activity on our street. She knows who belongs and who doesn’t.
Not only is she aware of the mailman’s required arrival time, she also supervises when a new kid takes over the newspaper route. She knows which dog or cat belongs at which house and how many times she can chase the sparrows from the Quince bush to the juniper shrub before they quit flying. Squirrels are another game entirely.
Every car engine she has in her ear memory is matched to the owner’s house. By the time the car turns down our extra long street Allie is already at the garage door ready to greet the owner and get her pat on the head, or if she’s lucky - and she usually is - a dog biscuit.
Allie even knows the flight pattern of the local airport traffic. She only reacts to something off schedule or out of the ordinary. The full moon fascinates her. She used to cower and peak from beneath the bushes as if she expected it to fall on her. Now, checking out the moon is part of her daily routine. We have a Hot-Air Balloonist in the area and Allie is on the alert when it takes to the clouds.
Bill’s son found Allie abandoned in a wilderness area around the Columbia River. He knew his dad was lonely, so he trapped the little dog and brought her in hopes that his dad could tame her. She was at first agitated, afraid, and unfriendly. She began to thrive as Bill began tending to her heart as well as her tummy.
Bill is in his mid 80’s, a widower, and deaf. That makes Allie an even more essential part of his life. She has trained herself to be his ears. If she is inside the house with him and someone knocks on the door, she runs to wherever he is and nudges him. If he is out in his garden or behind the house, a neighbor can say, “Where’s Bill?” and Allie will escort you around the property, peering sideways often to make sure you are still obeying her lead.
One day last winter the electricity went off while I was dressing for work. I added a little extra lipstick in the darkness, hoped I was presentable, and headed out to the garage. That was before I remembered we had an electric door opener. (Doesn’t everybody flip the light switch when they are hunting for candles?)
Once that realization sunk in, I hunted in the dark for the step-stool. Using it, I was able to reach and unlock the mechanism that moves the door. Things became distressing for me soon after that. I pushed the door up and it fell back at once. There is a small hook that is alleged to support it, but for my benefit that day it wasn’t cooperating. I persisted in my efforts: up, down, up, down, up down. Down! After 20 minutes of frustration and sweat, I was ready to call a Taxi. I was late for work!
That is when I heard Allie’s familiar bark. I looked up and saw her prancing across the street with Bill close behind. Allie was smiling. Bill was looking confused.
“Ah......…..” Bill acknowledged, once he became aware of my predicament. “Now I know why Allie kept coming around back and nudging and pulling on me.”
With Allie’s supervisory skills, Bill was able to hold the door up and I was able to get my little car out to the driveway.
Allie got an extra pat on the head that day. And, from that day forward, we’ve made sure that on Barbecued Rib’s night the hubby
leaves a little extra meat on the bones just for her.
Oh, yea…..Allie knows which night that is, too.