It's truly the waning hours of 2010. The digital clock's halogen numerals herald 6:13 PM. It's barely thirteen degrees outside, and to the left of my computer's clicking keyboard lies Gabriel's slumbering body on the white tile floor. Penny Jane, a beautiful 10-month-old Yellow Lab lies on my bed, head turned sideways, pink tongue cresting her teeth and lips, snoring intermittingly.
Penny Jane is one of Assistance Dogs of the West dogs in training who came to join us in our home just two weeks ago. Sally has moved onto another home and is getting ever closer to being placed in her forever home. I was fortunate enough to visit her on X-mas day to deliver treats and toys and hugs. It was a meeting of old dear friends and family. Seeing Sally made Christmas morning that much more special.
Earlier Christmas morn, Gabriel and Penny Jane had found their appointed beds with special treats which drew their mouths, noses, and energies to a point of true focus and rare Christmas canine bliss. The fire roared between them. Gabriel, Penny Jane, and I had already taken our morning jaunt down the dirt road toward the pastures below our home, seeing the first rays of Christmas morning coming to meet the sky as it turned from orange marmalade to blue.
Penny Jane is relatively short in stature. What she lacks in height she more than makes up for in attitude, sense of purpose, and a healthy happy attitude. She is the color of fresh cream, her warm eyes engage lovingly. A small move on my part might spark the moves of a cutting horse.....she is poised and ready to move. She is a retriever par excellence. She has brought me any one of a dozen pairs of shoes. She is a worker, hell bent on performing any number of jobs including walking Gabriel on his Leash! She walks with Gabriel and me each morning soaking in the orange and raspberry hues of the sunrises over the Sangre de Christos most mornings. She seeks kisses and embraces, and petting, and she gives love every moment her round yellow eyes are open.
I relish the weeks and months ahead in which she and I will share. She's sure to start off 2011 in the best way possible, imbuing my life with joy, vigor, enthusiasm and love.