On a very cold night in 1999, I brought home a tiny little girl to join our family. Her mom was a full Aussie Shepard, and a very small one at that. Her dad was just passing through. Judging from the size of the mom, Maude would be the perfect somewhat dainty size to join the family, which at the time consisted of 2 boys, Otis the pit bull and Zhonna the fuzzy dog. Turns out, her puppy body was smaller than her adult head. Apparently her hobo dad was a bear.
Unlike all but one of the other kids, both before and after, Maude took immediately to The Crabby Man rather than favoring me. All I got from her was a lot of disrespect. For all intents and purposes, to Maude, I was just an additional human in the house, the house ruled by her perfect Daddy.
For his part, The Crabby Man did not make matters better. Maude could do no wrong. If she did any of the same activities that got her brothers in trouble, well, that was just them being a bad influence on her. It wasn’t Maude’s fault. If she got in trouble all on her own, that was our fault for not supervising. If Maude acted bratty to me, it was hysterical. Maude was perfect, case closed. If you don’t believe me, just ask The Crabby Man.
There did come a time when Maude decided having a Mom was kind of cool, but never did she sway from being Daddy’s Girl. To this day, if The Crabby Man takes off for a weekend of camping, Maude will post herself at the bedroom window, looking down the road, waiting for his return. Unlike when she was much younger, however, she no longer gives me scathing “What did you do to my Daddy?” looks.
It used to be when a foster, stray or visiting dog came in to stay, Maude would get excited. As she got older, she began to give slight displays to demonstrate that she and no one else was in charge. Eventually, the greeting of a new dog, permanent or temporary was met with a heavy sigh and a canine shake of the head. Now, she doesn’t even react. She was and remains soothing to the scared, motherly to the small or very young, mature conversation to the older dogs, and a fine playmate to everything in between.
Until relatively recently, Queen Maude could silence unruly kids with just a look. We came to rely on her to keep order in the house when we were gone. Then we exceeded the rational number of dogs that any single Maude can control. From that point on, Maude decided it was time to retire and let us deal with the rabble rousers. Needless to say, neither The Crabby Man nor I can control the hillbillies even a fraction as well as Maude could.
Maude is the most influential entity of all the kids we have now, well except for Slugger, Morty and Willy, (She threw up her paws when Slugger came in – Morty and Willy came after), and in each one of them, except for the aforementioned 3, Maude will live on long after she leaves us to join the brothers and sisters that have passed away.
Maude is Queen of this castle, and we hope she continues to be so, even if it is in her chosen figurehead role at this point, for a long time to come.
If there was one wish I could make for all the dogs of the world, it would be this: That all dogs could all have Maude’s life.
She came to us when she was 4 weeks old.
She has only ever had a single set of parents.
She has lived under one roof.
In nearly 13 years, she has been away from us a total of 4 days, only 2 of them were consecutive, and a babysitter stayed at the house.
She has never missed a meal, been banished to the yard, had a hand raised to her, or been lost.
In her entire life, the only adversity she has experienced is The Crabby Man going camping, getting her anal glands expressed when she was 11, and more recently, some old lady eye problems.
She has met many people, many dogs, and has been taken out to see the world.
And through it all, she has known nothing but love.