Irish Terrier Photo ©AnnaHoychuk (Used under license from Shutterstock.com)
I love stories about strong, independent, courageous, motivating, unique, funny, and/or quirky women. I LOVE THEM. I could read them all day. My spouse, partner, best friend, and sweetiepie, Dirt, already does segments on her blog, Doing Woman Different, so I won’t be reinventing the wheel here, but I do sometimes want to spotlight stories about the many wonderful women who inspire and motivate me.
Today’s example is not a human ~ she was a dog. Her name was Fiona and she was an Irish Terrier.
My mother said many times, with a mixture of curiosity and jealousy, “You ADMIRE that dog!” And she was right. Fiona was full-of-life, fearless. She approached every situation with the zest and joie de vivre usually reserved for 2-year-olds who have ingested copious amounts of cotton candy.
Life was her adventure, and Fiona lived it to the fullest. Whether it was flinging herself headlong off of a precipice without looking what was underneath, or fearlessly defending her territory against interlopers such as snakes or the mailman, or sucking lizards down whole while I frantically attempted to save them, or teasing her yellow-lab-mix big brother, Fordham, Fiona was a red-hot ball of energy from the moment she was born until her last breath.
Once, a hawk made a serious miscalculation and tried to carry her off. The hawk swept down upon her suddenly, buried his talons in her back, and attempted to fly off, but there was no way he could lift her muscular, sturdy body, so he flapped his wings frantically, no doubt puzzled as to what the heck was going on. In one smooth move, Fiona dropped & rolled, reversing their positions. Now she was on top, and she wasn’t going to let this matter drop easily. She pinned him and held him firmly to the ground. Whenever the hawk attempted to raise his head, she would use her other front paw to slap him in his face, as if to say, “Go ahead, make my day.” They remained that way until physically pulled apart. It took the hawk about an hour to recover, and I would put money on the bet that he never messed with another red dog.
Fiona was quite mischievous. She would take icicles off of the Christmas tree and hide them in random places all over the house. She played jokes on her brother Fordham, hiding his toys and charging at him while playing in the backyard, then dropping and rolling under him, nipping his privates in the process, eliciting a startled yelp.
She was a handful. She could dig a hole in a wall quicker than you could say “Bob’s your uncle”. And I don’t mean a tiny little hole either. I mean the kind of hole you could fit a Thanksgiving turkey through along with a few side dishes. She precipitated many trips to the Home Depot.
She also could be remarkably stubborn, and didn’t take orders from anyone. When taken to an obedience expert, he gave up after 2 weeks, refunded the money, and admitted he could not even get her to sit.
But to balance out all the headaches, she was also remarkably endearing, sweet, and loving. She loved as she lived, wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, and intensely.
So, what did I learn from my wonderful years with Fiona? I learned that sometimes I just have to trust my instincts and embark on new adventures without any guarantees, because, really, are there ever any guarantees? I learned that there is always time for fun and love. I learned that there is a time to play, and a time to fight. I learned that sometimes the best defense is swift and decisive action. Most of all, I learned that I should spend every day living life exactly the way I want, because life, like Fiona, will be gone all-too-soon.