In 1995, I adopted a shepherd/heeler cross from the Chilliwack SPCA. She was estimated to be about a year and a half old, judging by her teeth. She had been picked up with another larger shepherd for reportedly chasing horses in the Columbia valley area. (A cattle rustler!)We were advised that we shouldn't adopt her if we had horses. That was funny to us, because we had just moved into a 3 floor town house on Watson Rd.
I took Cinders for a walk around the facility and she instantly picked the leash up in her mouth- as if she was walking me, and pranced impressively around the facility.
She was an attentive dog, much more interested in people than in the other dogs. That never changed.
We took her home, and named her Cinders; because she looked like she had a dirty black/grey muzzle on her nose, that looked like cinders or ashes. At the time my 3 boys were aged 5,7,9.
Cinders had a life of playing on the floor with them, herding them like cattle, and running and chasing them with an intent that always brought them squeals of joy.
Cinders guarded our home with a feigned fierceness that was not really there, and was loyally at my side day and night, for the past 15 years! Although I got her "for the boys" she made it clear that she was "my" dog.
She was brilliant, and learned to follow voice commands with greater precision than any leash could provide.
She moved with our family about 6 times, including to Vancouver Island for the past 13 years. She came camping with us, including inner tubing on the Okanagan canal! She walked, visited and did everything our family did. She was well known by hundreds of kids and all family who frequented our home over the past 15 years.
In recent years, visitors would come to the house and say "Cinders? Are you still here?" She outlived almost all of our friends dogs by so many years, no one could believe it.
The boys are now 20, 22 and 24 and the oldest two have left home, but on their visits home this year, they gave special attention to Cinders, who we finally put to rest in early May of this year, at the approximate age of 17.
Cinders never left her post. Even in her last years, with her sight and hearing failing, and being very slow to rouse; she strategically guarded my bedroom door every night by resting her weight against the door, to ensure that no one came in our out without her knowing.
She was never more than a few feet away from me- if she could help it. And she mourned when I was away.
Cinders was a wonderful gift to our family and she is a rich part of all of our memories. She literally helped raise 3 boys to adulthood. I couldn't have done it as well without her!
I can't say enough about how much joy Cinders has brought to our lives – it's impossible to summarize.
Thank you to all the SPCA's for saving so many angels, for us to adopt.
They enrich our lives forever.
Cheryl MacKinnon and family.
Photo Captions: Top left, Cinders at Christmas. Top right, Cinders with guardian Cheryl. Bottom photo, Alec with Cinders and his new rescue Charlie in April 2010.