Life at the farm
In January we lost our Abbey to cancer.
She never complained about anything her whole short life.
Even as the tumour inside her grew, she didn't whimper, or cry.
Mournful eyes that looked at you held a smile and asked only for love, never pity. A dog really needs little when compared to a human.
If a stranger was close by, or a coyote howled in the distance, she let you know with a booming bark, she was working as her instincts dictated. She didn't have to think, she just had to do what was in her heart. Disturbing my sleep was not something I appreciated, however, it gave me the opportunity to glimpse at a night sky or to listen to the call of an owl, for that I am grateful.
She loved us unconditionally despite any hardship she suffered.
When we would go away, she had no way of knowing if we'd return but when we did, she had an actual smile and a wagging tail that was so intense her whole body moved like a spring.
She would patiently tolerate the rabble of children and allow them to fuss over her, despite her desire to sleep after a long nights work.
She could be extra gentle with the elderly or the infirm, bringing many smiles and memories to those that took a moment to receive her.
She always was at my side, when I was working in the orchard, she'd be lying in the shade of the haskap bushes. If Laura was in the lavender patch, Abbey could find a tiny spot of shade amongst the plants just to be close to her. Laura didn't always have a place in her heart for dogs. That all changed when our little pup fell into the river and Laura warmed the cold little pup in a blanket by the fire. When the tired pup fell asleep in her arms it woke up with a love that was mutual between them and lasted a lifetime.
When I was on the tractor, she ran along in front as if to lead a parade of two.
When I'd feed the cows, she walked along the fence that divided the cows from her and shed watch my every move from a safe distance, ever ready to come to my defence if needed.
She had a bouncy gate in her step that was free and pure.
Her acute sense of hearing was finely tuned to the sound of the door handle of my truck, and when she heard it, she made it obvious enough that she wanted to be my companion on the next adventure.
If a trailer was dropping off supplies at the farm you can bet Abbey would hop in it, she was a dog that appreciated any road trip. If I was a truck driver I couldn't ask for a better accomplice.
Our neighbour saw Abbey in the passenger seat of my pick up truck as we were passing by one day and said seeing that was one of the things she loved about being here on the island.
Once she walked across some fresh concrete that I had just finished, her footprints brought a smile to all that saw them . This year I repaired the concrete and made sure she stayed away, today I wished I hadn't.
We will miss our Abbey, we cried for her many times, in her final moments we knew we should feel gratitude for what she shared with us while we were together.
I was glad that the last thing she heard was my whispering in her ear "you are a good girl, the best farm dog ever, we loved you so much" She lowered her chin to her paw and closed her eyes, our Abbey was gone.
Abbey is the short form of the First Nations word that describes the island,
"Abegweit " cradled by the sea. She was an island girl for sure, and her spirit will always be part of our farm.