My invisible partner
The dog does not die at the end of this story. This is a warning that I feel should be given before all animal stories.
This is my partner, Gypsy. We first met when I was a junior in college. She was running wild at my then boyfriend, now husband's parent's place. They'd been trying to get Animal Control to come pick her up, but they lived in the country, so the city didn't want to do it, and the sheriff didn't want to do it on the weekend. I was not looking for a dog, knew it was not the right time for a dog, did not want to be dealing with a strange dog, but yet saw this beautiful wild thing across the field, we fell head over heels for each other at first sight, I fell to my knees and said "Come here, baby". She came to me like an arrow, and we've been together ever since, despite Gypsy having nothing to do with anyone else for months, and still not caring to be around strangers. It was fate.
Gypsy sporting her Bold Lead Designs Basic Assistance Harness.
Gypsy was with me all through my master's, even when my husband was in a different city. She biked to school with me during the first part of my PhD, running alongside or riding in her trailer, even through Utah winters. She hung out at lab meetings at Weecology for a month before Morgan or Ethan noticed she was there (invisibility is one of her canine super powers). While she has always been a wonderful companion, as I got sick, she started to step into the role of service dog. She would fetch my cane, help stabilize me as I got up or down, help gather up the laundry, and numerous other service dog tasks. Having her work for me as my mobility assistance dog is truly fantastic, and she does a lot of work behind the scenes keeping me upright and able to work on a physical level, not to mention that she's a fantastic brainstorming partner. Plus, she's really good at doing the thigh nudge and the stare with ears when I need to stop working, which helps too. I thought, when I adopted her, that Gypsy was the luckiest, of us two. Now, I realize that I was the lucky one. Thanks, partner.