In 2017 my little family moved home to my parent’s home. We were all dealing with the sudden tragic loss of my parents, the stress of moving, and starting over in a new school/job. Life was a mess, and to top it all off I had a puppy. It became evident very quickly that Stella had no intention in staying in our now much larger and unfenced yard. Even though our yard is larger, it is close to the road and isn’t Aussiedoodle friendly. There were too many tempting tractors, trucks, and even horses across the street. I remember losing Stella when we were moving and driving up and down the road calling her name. I was thinking, “Not now, God. We need our puppy!” After about an hour of frantic searching, my husband said, “Maybe she will come home on her own.” I decided to go to the bathroom, and when I opened up the door, there sat my fuzzy muppet of a puppy playing in the trash. I was never so happy to catch her playing in the trash! Somehow, someone had accidently closed her up in the bathroom. At that point I was thankful someone had made the mistake, because our puppy was safe and sound. Puppies love trash, and that is a love she has not outgrown. She somehow has figured out how to open every trash can we have ever owned ! It requires a little more effort of closing and latching doors to not have to clean up the trash twice.
We decided after that we would invest in an underground fence. Stella flourished when the boundaries were clear. She loved spending time outside and soon claimed the yard as her territory. She grew a lot, and I mean a lot ! My husband kept saying, “How big is our dog going to get?!” We had Shelties for years, and the size of an Aussiedoodle seemed huge to us. My youngest son and Stella continued to be best friends. She loved to follow him to whatever dirt pile or ice cream cone they might share.
As a family things continue to change; if you are alive, change is always happening. My oldest was preparing to leave for college. I remember going on college visits, we visited a couple of schools out of state, which meant Stella would need to be boarded. I remember a spring break when we were out of town and I got a call from the dog boarders. The boarders are family friends of ours, and I trust them very much with our two dogs (we also inherited my parents’ Sheltie) The boarders called to inform me that Stella must have come into heat and was accidentally bred by a Weimaraner. I was in shock. What would a Weimaraner-oodle look like? My four-year-old son could hear me on the phone discussing the details. I can remember him asking if his dog was okay. I told him “Of course! She is just fine.” I guess I’m thankful the puppies never came to be. Soon after that I took my son to the pediatrician, the office staff were asking him questions about his life,and of course he told them he loved his dog. He paused and said, “But she is a bad dog ..” They, of course, asked, “Why is she bad?” My little boy said, “Well, she stole some bread, and now she is going to have some whackadoodle puppies.” It is one of my favorite stories. I could not stop chuckling, and neither could the nurse after I explained what that meant ! It was a good laugh that I felt all the way to my toes, and it was wonderful to have a little excitement and joy fill my heart. Hence the mixed feelings about the whackadoodles that never came to be. After that my husband affectionately called her Stella, The Best Bad Dog Ever.
In March of 2020, our lives much like everyone else’s in the United States took a bizarre turn. Suddenly, I was working from home and the kids were schooling from home. Just like a domino effect, one by one we all were at home, even my college guy. Our house was full again, and our wi-fi was being strained, just like my patience for zoom learning. Many days while working online to attend school our first grader would become overwhelmed in the process of being kicked off the internet or tolerating a zoom meeting with twenty-five other first graders. It was a real struggle. My husband and I were trying to support him and continue our own work loads. Many days our youngest son would say,” As soon as I finish my math I will need to go outside with my dog.” Stella loved having everyone home and spending her days either laying under the kitchen table during school or chasing our boy around the house during “breaks”. I have fond memories of throwing open the back door and yelling, “STELLA !!!” (which always cracks my husband up) when it was lunch time for the dog and boy.
There have been many times over the years that Stella has served as a best friend, guard dog, and even mole killer. If you came to visit, she would jump all over you, and you would think, “Why do these people love this dog?” Not everyone can love The Best Bad Dog Ever, but she is the best dog for us. I smile to myself frequently thinking of the timing of her arrival and the blessing she has been to our family.