Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Challenge Accepted

For the past four days I have been posting photos for the "Love Your Spouse Challenge" on social media. I've been posing with Gibson, my 6-year-old Border Collie and co-farmer. At first, it was a joke. All these couples were posting photos of their committed relationships and I wasn't paying much attention to them. I saw them in my feed and thought they were kinda sweet. Then I realized one of the couples on my Facebook feed had been dating, married, and had a baby in less time then I have know my dog. At that point, I decided to commit to the bit and get out the camera. We might not be romantically involved, but me and this dog are 100% a couple.

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.

Over the years he has been the heartbeat of this farm. He has seen it and me change; through some very dark times and now far better ones. He's never left my side, never ignored my voice, and never left me alone in laughter or tears. He has been there, always. And one of the things that keeps me going is that every single night before bed I promise him that he will never go a day without food in his belly, a roof over his head, or love from my heart. Yes, cheesy. Still 100% of the reason I make myself promote logos, illustrations, subscriptions, and freelance some days. Even if I feel like throwing in the towel I got a dog I love with a sheep problem and I'm not methadoning him off it with agility or flyball.

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.

Challenge, accepted.


Blogger PansWife said...

I totally get the no kids, no wedding thing and I knew from a young age. When I was about six I buried a baby doll in my mother's flower garden and when asked why I did it I said because it cried too much (it was one of those dolls that cried if you picked it up wrong). I liked my Barbie doll but I took colored markers and drew abstract designs all over her white wedding dress to make it a party dress. When my husband and I got married (after many, many years of just living together) we went to the court house and then the next day got on a plane to France. The trip cost the same as a satin dress, feeding 100 people chicken marsala and booking a good band. I preferred thinking about Paris to remember our union than some expensive event that most marrying couples experience in a daze. Pretty much the only thing I can't agree on is being single. The best thing in the world is being in a supportive relationship. It's not always perfect and there are times I just want to be left alone, but otherwise I highly recommend it, if you can find the right two legged version of Gibson.

August 11, 2016 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Awesome testimony to an awesome dog. Loved it!

August 11, 2016 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Lesley UK said...

I think you rock! Blessings

August 11, 2016 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Panswife, I am not against relationships at all and agree they are great - I wrote that I am happy being single - which I am. But I didn't say I wouldn't welcome a relationship or never have one.

August 11, 2016 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

thanks Lesley and Ginger!

August 11, 2016 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Cindie said...

I've got an incredible spouse but I totally get your and Gibson's relationship - I've had the same with my dogs, especially one that saw me through bad husband jokes about being second behind any of our dogs. (no kids here either, ever)

August 11, 2016 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Are you two still herding sheep (well- other than those you have on your farm :)? I know at one time you wrote that you were pining after a dog to take to sheep trials~ and maybe work him there too. With his background, he'd be an awesome trial dog! Is that still part of the dream?

August 11, 2016 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Luke I agree! I think he would do great. It came down to time and money, really. The closest trial trainers are about an hour and a half to two hours away and that's a half day spent and four hours driving for one lesson. Between trainers fees, gas, and free time it was too hard to commit to but I hope to get into it again someday. Perhaps my luck will build up a bit!

August 11, 2016 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Janna Nicole said...

Those photos are just the sweetest ever! Made me smile today - thank you! You are a beautiful lady and Gibson a most handsome dog!

August 11, 2016 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Brilliant photos Jenna. Love them. Love that you look so happy!

August 11, 2016 at 5:34 PM  
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November 20, 2016 at 7:33 PM  

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