Thursday, August 23, 2007

Birding Companion

Today’s blog is not about birds. I will get back to the birds tomorrow. Today’s post is about a birding companion. This companion can proudly state that he went to and thru 29 states of this wonderful union of ours birding. He liked to bird watch and for years there were three of us in various vehicles traveling around to find birds. But Stella who was the Belle of the Ball where ever she went passed over the Rainbow Bridge a few years back. She had traveled through forty states so she tried to teach Hart how to travel with a bird watcher. He, of course, had his own ideas.
Here is about where you will ask me who in the world am I talking about. I am talking about Valentine Restless Hart. Hart is/was an Australians Shepard. I drove to pick him up in Valentine, Ne in the space between Christmas and New Years of 1993. This is the home of my dear life-long friend Connie Wharton. She knew I was looking for a puppy to train for agility. She had some puppies that might do. So as I drove to Valentine, I struggled with a name for the new puppy as I drove to pick him up. Stella was no help; in fact, she was not too thrilled with the wiggling mass of liver red fur. Stella was refined and aloof. As soon as I saw him he became Hart or Hartman. He was an unusual solid red-brown color. It reminded me of the fleet-footed deer of Europe. The males of those deer are called harts. Hart had his name. Connie & I added Valentine for the town where he was born. Restless was chosen because all of Drifter’s puppies had to a name that fit the wanderers that Drifter implied. So Valentine Restless Hart weasel his way into both Stella’s & my heart.
Hart was not a perfect dog if truth be told far from it. He was to be my great companion/agility dog. Hart turned out to be too protective & too demanding for that but he taught me so much more about life than games. His very protective nature scared the living daylight out of most folks. Hart taught me steadfastness and patience. Over the 13 years Hart travel with me, he never caused any trouble. He never chased a bird on the beach. He watched White-throated Swifts in Utah, McCown’s Longspurs in Colorado, and he watched Scarlet Tanager in our own back yard. In our travels together I never ask him his life list but it was up there. He sat in four states at once. He went through the geographic center of North America, the geographic center of the lower 48 states. He was a challenge and he was a champion. Valentine Restless Hart crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this morning. He will be missed.

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