The decision to find puppies that were Aussiedoodles was influenced by our familiarity with the Aussie half. Our Australian Shepherd, Dot, gave us fourteen great years, and we wanted more of that in our new pups. Aussies are known to be smart, loyal and hard-working. Dot was all of those things. She only rested when her job was done. If we were all in the yard with the kids running around, Dot would bark and chase anyone that strayed from the herd. A favorite game of ours was to hold Dot in a sit and stay position and then send off everyone to far corners to hide. The moment they were out of site she became unsettled and had to be reminded to stay. As soon as she heard the release word,“Okay!”she bolted off to find them. Sometimes we would send a runner, just one fast child who would get a head start and sprint around the house. Dot would close the space between them as she chased in pursuit. When all four children were together in one place, her goal was attained and she’d lie down and rest a few feet away. Our family of six at the round dinner table always included Dot nearby lapping up water or resting at our feet. She was content to have her herd present and accounted for.
This is how I felt yesterday. My busy children came from their different corners of the “yard” to celebrate my birthday. My working adults took time out of their weekends off to be here. My son who is living in another state for college and summer football conditioning surprised me with the long drive just to be here for one night. My youngest spent all weekend here a the cabin with us playing every game mom likes to play (which does not include Fort Nite). My heart was full to have our whole family of six under the same roof.
I felt like Dot. The strange thing is that I noticed a change in Koda and Summer as well. Perhaps it was the half Australian Shepherd. When all of us were sitting around in the big family room playing a game of Fitzit (One of my many favorites!), laughing, and arguing our points I noticed that Koda and Summer were on the floor between us, under the coffee table, stretched out sleeping. Maybe it was the peaceful energy they sensed from me. I, like Dot, was totally content to have all my kids and my husband in the same place. I know too well that these times are rare so I savor the moments. Until the sad goodbyes that we make after our traditional family hug. It is something we do wherever we are, in the driveway, our living room, or the middle of an airport. Six tall people standing in a circle with arms interlocked around each others’ shoulders, faces inches apart. It’s our thing, but only with the six of us.
The Aussie herding instinct is not only part of Dot, Koda, and Summer’s make up, it is also part of who I am as a mother. That’s what made my birthday so special yesterday. I could rest and enjoy my day because I had my herd right here with me.