Sadie was one of the smartest dogs I've ever had. I was often surprised to find out she understood so many things I would say.
She turned our daily humdrum, tedious walk in the pasture into one of the brightest spots in our day, bringing us sticks to throw for her and barking at us.
On boring winter days we learned we could set her off by saying certain things, such as, "Is that a dog?" or "There's that dirty dog." Just a mention of Buddy's name (the dog next door) meant instant barking at the window. Even something as simple as "What's that?" said in the proper tone of voice, got a reaction from her.
Sadie herded us on the way to the pasture; she tried to herd the horses, but finally got kicked and stopped that. She herded the vacuum cleaner and the lawn mower. She tried to herd the school bus, with almost disastrous consequences, until I started making sure she was in the house when it was time for the bus.
The first year we had her, we never let her off the leash outside because she was sure to run away. We also left the leash on her when we walked in the pasture. By the second year she lived here, we were letting her loose for our walk, and I also let her roam free when she and I were at the cabin.
Finally, in the past year, she calmed down enough for us to let her outside and leave her there alone. Oh, there were a few scary moments, but after she'd had some freedom, she didn't really worry much about leaving the place. I'm glad she got to have that taste of freedom for a few months before she died.
She was too big to be a lap dog, but she humored me by laying on my lap often.
Sadie wasn't crazy about other dogs being in our home. She guarded her food from them and made sure they didn't get near her toys; she put up with Cliff's sister's tiny mini-doxie because Angel was smart enough to roll over and submit to her. If my daughter's dog, Hawkeye, was running around our yard, Sadie refused to go outside. She had a serious jealousy problem.
Sadie was probably more MY dog than any we've had. If I was in the computer room, so was she. When I moved to the living room, she followed. She slept beside the bed near me every night.
It was only within the last few months that she actually started coming to me when I called, every time.
I will get another dog; it will be female and it will be named Iris. (At least I hope it's a female, because Iris will be a strange name for a boy.) Beyond that, I don't know what she'll be like. She will have to pick me out just like Sadie did.
I realize it's not considered wise to go right out after the death of a pet and get another one. Just keep in mind we got Sadie two days after Mandy died, at the deepest part of my grief. That worked out pretty well.
Besides, Ben Stein told me to get a dog.