I picked up Gibson at the Albany Airport in May of 2010. He was flown here from RedTop Kennels in Idaho, a breeder and trainer of sheepdogs I highly respected. His father was an amazing trial dog named Riggs who was tearing up the circuit. His mother, Vangie, was also a hell of a working dog. It took months to make the payments to Patrick at Redtop, which I will forever be grateful for his patience and understanding with. I paid what I could when I could. That winter of 2009/2010 I would find myself in need of a new home, find and buy a farm, and realize a long-time dream and freedom as a farmer - a place of my own. The serendipity of Gibson arriving just a few days later was frosting and fireworks.
As a puppy he came with me to work every single day when I still had an office gig. He's been with me on every road trip, sleeping in hotel beds at speaking gigs or author events. He's raced alongside Merlin as I rode him through mountain trails. He's watched me train hawks in our living room. He's tolerated torn paws, emergency vet visits, men in our bed, and yowling cats... And he's even learned to mentor that scrappy little pup named after Rosalind Russell.
Lassie, step aside.
It has been six years now. I have never been away from him for more than a handful of hours. He has never slept in another kennel, home, vet's office, or away from me. I would not travel without him, unless circumstances were dire and even then I'd feed 99% of people to the zombies first. If anyone hurt him, I would go to jail for what happened to them next.
I'm not sure that is ideal dog ownership, and maybe all I have truly taught him is severe co-dependence? I don't care. I am just as dependent as he is. That is the truth of our situation. We're a team and I love the hell out of him.
So yes, for the next three days I will continue my love letter in self-portraits of me and this dog. Not because I'm mocking couples out there in committed relationships. And not because I think my dog is a person. He's not. But he is my best friend and I love him unconditionally. He's the single longest relationship I have ever maintained in my adult life. As a single woman perfectly happy with being single who NEVER wants to have kids, a wedding, or more than 2 cats - I'm in this for the long haul, baby. He's all mine.