Aggie Was Here!

Our  nutty Aggie departed this life on Thursday January 12, 2012. She apparently died of a stroke at home on the settle where she slept.  Aggie was a special girl who always seemed to leave an “impression” on those who knew her.  If you would like to add a comment below, we will treasure it as we attempt to collect our memories of this sweet dog.  We want to extend a special “thank you” to Angie and Mary of Capitol Critter Sitters, who found Aggie’s body and are always so incredibly thoughtful and kind.   For that matter, we want to say “Thank You” to everyone who attempted to understand and comfort this curious little beast during her 11 years with us.

Much love, Karen and Stew

 

10 thoughts on “Aggie Was Here!”

  1. Aggie was such a wonderful, interesting dog, and I will forever miss her distinctive voice, agate-like aspect, insistence upon order, great sense of humor, and connoisseurship of dirt. Although this is less well known, Aggie also was a connoisseur of butter. One day when Karen and Stew had me over for post-dog-park waffles, I was supposed to be guarding the table from intrepid dogs. In the time that it took me to turn around to retrieve my coffee, Aggie made her way to the table and consumed an entire stick of butter, wrapper and all. That moment sealed our friendship, which was already pretty well underway. Aggie almost always would suspend her very serious herding and monitoring duties at Congressional Cemetery long enough to let me pet her, and I always considered that to be a great honor. Rest well, Aggie Wags — you were my special bud, and I miss you. The cemetery is not the same without your special vocal stylings.

  2. Indeed, Aggie was one special pup. I know for sure that along with Mike, my buddy Riddle has lost his two best friends in the world. I remember Aggie from the first few days I had her as a new foster dog. Her insistent howling bark, her intense of intense stare, and he need to be under foot and with her human companions at all times. At first I thought all of this was perhaps due to a pup, happy to be free of the kennel, but it soon became apparent that this was all Aggie, through and through. Her howling call could be heard across the cemetery and for Riddle it was like a summons to come and visit and play with Aggie, Mike, Stew and Karen. How many times did he shoot off like a dart running all the way from one end of the cemetery to the other at the first call of his favorite friend. I’d arrive 10 minutes later, out of breath, to find Mike and Riddle playing and Aggie chasing those “ghost sticks” that Stew would throw. No doubt the cemetery has lost its most distinctive and unique voice.

  3. Aggie absolutely wins the award for being the most “I will not be ignored” dog of the yard. A jealous pup, Aggie wasn’t about to share her Mom & Dad without a strident word or two. Besides, Aggie being a far superior breed, the folks shouldn’t have been wasting time with all those lowly humans; what were they thinking? It must have been exhausting having to spend every evening warning, cajoling, demanding the folks steer clear of their lessors. While Aggie ought to have been lolling in the fresh grass and enjoying the company of other shepherd dogs, she was instead nearly always looking out for the folk’s reputation. Stew and Karen were lucky to have such a steadfast companion who never gave up on them despite their seeming inability to learn the lessons she strove to instill in them every day.

  4. Born into a traveling canadian circus troupe, she was the pup always looking for the spotlight.
    The first time I met her I serenaded her with the welcoming song to munchkin land from the wizard of oz ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KSiyaqnZYs&feature=fvwrel — aren’t they great!). She didn’t like it so much though. In fact, she never really trusted from that day on….always kept an eye on me! Such the smart dog!!!

  5. There was no question about it. When Aggie–then Quinn–walked into our front door and into our life, she was staying. She felt at home under our stairs, with Mike.

    The back story of her foster history is that she had been raised in Baltimore by a “little person.” The details have never been known to us. But there was no question in my mind that she had experienced some early developmental trauma .
    Aggie was sprung from solitary confinement at an open-air animal shelter somewhere between Baltimore and the Pennsylvania line. At the time, the foster family that rescued her was finding nice homes for a lot of Aussie orphans. They’d found marvelous homes–a frisbee catching starlet rescue was placed with a loving family–an agility Aussie placed on a horse farm in Middleburg. Their own Aussie was rescued from from a campus fraternity house.

    And then, there was Aggie!

    In no time, she managed to put their frat-boy-rescue-adoptee into the hospital after a scuffle under their couch. Twas almost Christmas, my resistance was low, I can still hear Jill pleading: “but you’re a social worker, Mike likes Aussie’s…It will only be for one night. The vet says that we have to keep Luca quiet so he doesn’t pop his stitches…”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah… but she was beautiful, the most beautiful markings and gradations of browns and coppers and mochas and cappuccinos that I had ever seen. Like an appaloosa pony dog or a Clyfford Still painting.

    Yet, she seem like a sociopath and a little psychotic to boot. One crazy wild blue-brown eye and… very sharp teeth. I was slightly scared of her.
    She had been in solitary confinement with a big label– “does not get a long with other dogs.” I think Mike was slightly scared of her too. But as I said, she walked into our lives and it was clear she was not leaving.

    I cried a lot. I felt like I was re-living that Louis Bunuel film: “The Exterminating Angel.” I made an appointment with our dear geriatrician of a vet, Dr. Doherty and drove Aggie way up River Road, almost to Bethesda. Dr. Doherty couldn’t touch her. All Dr. Doherty could say as she tried to ply her with treats was…. “Well, she matches your palette.” That was her diagnosis! Advice: “Get yourselves into a class and get her socialized.”

    Pet Smart/People dumb–here we come! The name Aggie clicked. The penetrating eyes reminded me of agates. We loaded into out old Dodge Colt station wagon named Rosebud and headed for Potomac Yards for class. Our “Girl bonding” had begun.

    Joellen or Jolene, our instructor, looked like a slightly less feminine version of Coach Beast from Glee. She announced that we should be able to put our hands into our dog’s mouth, ears and paws. I thought that she was insane. I could not even touch my dog.

    I called on my friend Cindy in Kansas for advice. She had a rescue dog named Sally Moon, without a doubt the world’s greatest Border Collie. Cindy said: “Just give her a job at all times, she’s a working dog, she needs to be working all of the time.” “Like what?” I asked. She said, “Just let her jump through a Hula Hoop as she helps you load and unload the dishwasher.”

    “But she’s psychotic,” I cried. At that point, I was not sure who needed professional help more: the dog or me, for taking her into our wonderful life. Our perfect trio of Me, Mike and Stew had become a disaster of a quartet. Yikes!

    Amazingly, the classes began to work, or at least they exhaust Aggie. We were asked nicely to step out of class a few times, but we were never suspended or banned from Virginia. Aggie liked to shop and examine everything in the store. I can still smell the liver treats…

    We lost some friends over Aggie, and we made friends over Aggie. She was labeled a racist. I tried to explain that she did not discriminate, she was that way regardless of race, creed, breed, or National origin. Really…

    And then, Stew decided on “Love Therapy,” FULL ON LOVE. We would surround her with love. Encompass her with love, all the time. Sleep with her. Eat with her. Ask strangers and friends to help us love her and lay healing loving hands on her all the time. Love, Love, Love, Love. It worked!

    Even in this cocoon of love, he was instinctively a shepherd and as it says in the Bible, the “Shepherds watched their flock by night….” We were now her flock and she had a full time job. She watched her flock by night and day. She managed to keep a point of elevation and a watchful eye on us for almost 11 years. At night, she slept above our pillows in bed. In the living room, she perched on the 7th stair. If we moved, she stared us back down. One night in bed, at the beginning of Love Therapy, she pinned Stew down by his forehead and left uneven teeth marks on his forehead, as if he’d been delivered by a doctor using faulty forceps. Luckily she had a tremendous overbite, so there was no lasting damage!

    She only bit me a couple of times and I found myself making the kinds of excuses you’d hear at the House of Ruth, a shelter for battered women. “Oh, she didn’t mean to…”Or…”She was going for something else and my hand got in the way.” I remember saying things like that to my neighbor Jean one day as she was bandaging my bloody thumb. I was afraid Jean would be calling my colleagues at Adult Protective Services. Perhaps a case could be made that I was being abused and exploited by an Aussie Shepherd.

    I came to fully understand the accuracy of the bumper sticker, “My Aussie is smarter than your honor student.” Her vocabulary was immense. I could and did mess with her, “Aggie get on your STAIR. Aggie, get on the CHAIR. She would jump to the appropriate furniture. “Stair, chair, chair, stair.” Back and forth she went. God, I came to love that dog.

    The more we loved her, the sweeter she became. And the more she loved. What a lesson in love. Thank you, Aggie.

  6. What beautiful remembrances of your Aggie, and what a wonderful lesson that gifts from the universe that come in packages NOT of our own design have the most precious treasure inside. She was lucky to you as her humans and you were lucky to be her people.

  7. Aggie lived life intensely; nothing escaped her. To see her blossom into the sweet, loving soul she was, is a wonderful tribute to you both.
    Aggie was the consummate Mother Hen; protecting her brood with a work ethic I’d never witnessed before. She was happy with her family, happy she belonged and she was damn well going to make sure she kept it. I loved her loyalty, her energy and her generousity. While Mike taught me acceptance, Aggie taught me expression. They both taught me love. Some dogs enter your heart for eternity-Mike and Aggie are two such dogs.

  8. I am so enjoying these remembrances of Aggie. I only met her once and I was struck by the beauty of her fur coat (loving Karen’s description above). I seem to recall a cautious explanation of Aggie given by Karen and Stew upon my meeting Aggie, but I apparently met with Aggie’s approval. She was blessed to have you, Karen and Stew, to bring out her best nature. And, here at the end I almost want to disagree that Aggie died from a stroke~and what do I know~but instead believe that she died from the loss of her brother Mike. Yes, Deb, “…what a wonderful lesson that gifts from the universe that come in packages NOT of our own design have the most precious treasure inside.” I treasure your photographs.

  9. Oh Aggie. Mike’s perfect counterpart… Mike’s carefree nature gave Aggie something to worry over and I think that’s exactly what she needed. How painful for you two to have them go so closely spaced but in a wierd way, how Aggie.

  10. Sorry that it took so long to view this site — but it was so great to see pictures of Mike and Aggie again and to remember when I had Scout and Abby at the cemetery. This took me back, but in such a good way — Rob

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