Zillekins is amazing. Want proof? She has learned to count, and indicates numbers by raising and lowering her ears. Here, I’ll show you!
Alas, there are no pictures of me making up for it, which is why those are all old. Since today is Zille’s birthday, I took her down to the Rapidan River at Ely’s Ford, where it is reasonably shallow and slow, and let her make a wet muddy mess of herself. I was going to pick up a new toy first but then remembered that rivers flow, so instead I threw sticks and Zille sproinged joyfully into the water after them and brought them back and I threw them again and she charged into the water and we did it over and over again for an hour until we were both wet and muddy and tired and ready to come home, so we did. I was at least smart enough to cover the back of the car with a cheap comforter, which is now being washed, and then I hosed her down before we came in the house and fluffed her with a towel so now she’s only getting the futon mildly damp as she sleeps off the fun.
She is such a fantastic dog, really, nothing like the Dobes but beguiling and beautiful. Where they are either on or off, touching me or snoozing on a soft spot in blissful disregard of my whereabouts, Zille is always at the edge of my awareness. If she can’t get into the room I’m in, she stretches out across the doorway lest I escape without her notice. Injuries to her sensitive soul require her to sit on my foot and weasel her head under my arm, eyes wide. Injuries to my body require her to lick them solicitously in an orgy of concern. She is occasionally given to grooming me, complete with small nibbles to remove things she thinks are a foreign body (I had to protect my engagement ring for weeks). New humans are the object of polite suspicion, she is not wary but rather mostly uninterested, although she can be won over with a ball (but almost never a treat, she will usually take them to be polite, but drop them quickly). Her greatest joys in life are playing fetch and sniffing cat butts, although playing with the Dobes comes in close behind them. As she’s grown more confident here, my Zillegirl has stopped following Tink everywhere and doing everything Tink does, and now lets Tink use her for a Seeing Eye Dog. Where games of biteyface with Beowulf are violent, naked-toothed affairs, she never, ever plays biteyface with Tink without a ball in her mouth, as if she knows that Tink’s fragile skin can’t take your standard biteyface rules.
Happy Birthday, Zillegirl.