Mountain Girl has gone to ground for the last time. She was 15, stone deaf, almost totally blind in one eye, and arthritic to the point she could no longer climb the stairs. I have known for some time that her time was not long.
Mountain Girl had a wonderful and well-loved life. Whelped out of Larry and Linda Morrison's Key and sired by Beano of Ravenswood, she started work at the age of 10 months on a sette of four raccoons, and she never looked back!
Mountain Girl was in the field for 11 years and on the couch for the last three. She worked hundreds of groundhogs, as well as fox, possum, and raccoons. Having come of age under the late, great Sailor, she discovered she had to range a bit far in order to find something to earth before Sailor did. This was a habit hard to break prior to e-collars. I spent more than a few hours looking for her when she was underground and silent, with a mouth full of raccoon posterior. She would bolt a fox, kill a possum, and eventually abandon a groundhog after an hour or two, but she would stay on a raccoon until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Raccoons were her thing.
Mountain Girl and I had a lot of digs, most not too memorable (she was an efficient dog), but some worthy of mention. There was the time she entered a sette through an unsprung conibear trap that was (thankfully) rusted solid, the time she went underground under a railroad track on a raccoon and stayed there for three or four hours as 100-car trains rolled overhead. There were many times she got skunked, and the time she lost the tip of her nose, and the time she was deeply cut on her muzzle. There was the time she pulled a small raccoon clean from a pipe, and I got lightly bit by the raccoon while sorting it out. And then there was the time she broke off a canine working two very large raccoons that had somehow managed to squeeze into a dirt sette. She recovered from all, though the tip of her nose had a slant to the end of her days,
Problems were rare; Mountain simply worked a lot and a dog that works a lot always has a few things happen to her. A life outdoors actually lived is like that.
Mountain's life at home was good. She always had other dogs at the house, never saw a kennel, had a large yard with pond and squirrels to keep her entertained, and slept inside on a clean towel in a warm room every night of her life.
Mountain made it onto ABC-TV's Nightline (not many dogs can say that!), into several books, and a handful of magazine articles, and it's her face that has illustrated the Wikipedia article on Working Terriers since the beginning.
In the end, Mountain loved to sleep in her plush bed in the kitchen next to my chair. She would snore away, and every once in a while she would get up, roll on the rug, sit in the sun, get a bit of biscuit, and then curl up in her bed again. She was an old lady who, in her old age, liked her comforts and deserved them.
Mountain was the first working terrier a lot of people saw. She introduced a lot of dogs and a lot of people to field work, and she taught me a lot.
I am very sad she is gone, but very happy for the wonderful life that we had together. Goodbye my sweet dog.
|Mountain with Sailor.|