|Hello. My name is Maddie. May I lick your face?|
Or Mad-dog, or Madd-Maddie, or Mad Dog 2020, or whatever else you may call her. She's a cutie, she's a weirdo, but she's pretty much the greatest!
Maddie should have been named Shadow, because she's always following everyone around. She follows my dad out to the barn to work on cars. She follows him to the garden. She follows me on my runs. She follows mom around when she's watering the plants, and she even drinks straight from the hose when mom waters plants. She's like a little, brown, dog-shaped shadow.
She has to lick any exposed skin. Heck, she'll even lick your knee through the holes in your jeans. I have no idea why she does that, but she does. If I sit on the ground, or do yoga in the back yard, she puts her face in my face, and licks it. In fact, in that picture, she was coming up to me to lick my face.
One time, Maddie hid behind the barn for a whole day.
My dad owns a vineyard, see more on that here. And every year, we have trouble with birds in the vineyard. We've tried all kinds of things to get the birds to stay out of the vineyard and stop eating the grapes: We've hung pie tins from the vines so the noise and flashes scare them away, we've even hung old CDs from the vines.
The craziest thing we've tried, is my dad walking out into the vineyard at 5:00 a.m. and shooting a 12 gauge shotgun in the air to scare the birds away. Effective: in both scaring away birds and waking everyone in the house up.
Our older dog, Bacchus, a yellow lab, loves when Dad shoots the gun. That means that he has something to retrieve. On the off chance dad actually hits one, Bacchus runs out into the vineyard, nose down, looking for something to retrieve. Most of the time, to no avail.
Maddie isn't quite so courageous as Bacchus. The first time the bird situation was so bad that Dad had to pull out the shotgun, Maddie followed Dad and Bacchus into the vineyard like the little shadow she is, and as it turns out, did not like what she heard.
As soon as the gun went off, Bacchus ran after the hypothetical bird that would never fall to the ground. Maddie, on the other hand, ran straight for the hills. She did not like the sound of the gun one bit. Strange because labradors are supposed to be good hunting dogs.
Dad didn't immediately notice that Maddie was gone. In fact, I got home from school that day and we still couldn't find Maddie. Nobody knew where she went! We went out and called her name over and over but nothing. We had begun to worry that Maddie had gone really far away. We were worried.
Before my parents started calling the neighbors, I decided to walk every inch of the 17 acres of our property looking for Maddie. I walked all over the back yard, behind the tree line, and I came up on our old, fallen down barn. I called out, "Maddieeeee," and there was the little brown dog. Ears stuck straight up, bounding around the side of the rubble. She ran, full force, (and Maddie can run fast) straight to me and was so happy to see me! She had been hiding in the barn wreckage the whole day. It was just before dark when I found her, and she'd been there since 5:00 a.m.
Nowadays, she doesn't get scared quite that much by the sound of the gun, but she does get really shaky every time the gun goes off. It takes a bit of hugging and some belly rubs, but she'll be back following everyone around quite quickly.