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Mick's Memorial
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Mick's memorial was created on 8/12/2013.
Mick was born with an old soul. He always looked you straight in the eye – and beyond, it seemed.

He chose me, I didn’t choose him. Just a year old, he sat quietly in the animal shelter as the other dogs barked and jumped around. He looked at me as if to say, “Well?” When I finished my tour of the kennels and came by again, he was still sitting calmly, looking me in the eye. “Well?”

That is how it began.

What followed was four years of living on a farm on Vashon Island, running with the horses, swimming in the pond and going for ice cream. A heeler mix, Mick assumed the duty of herding the horses in from the pasture each evening, barking and running circles around them until he had directed them to their proper stalls. I would scold him for making so much noise and ask, “Who made you hall monitor?”

You didn’t talk to Mick like a dog, you talked to him like a person. When you pointed, he moved in that direction rather than just looking at your finger, like most dogs. He could read your facial expressions and an arched eyebrow was often enough to dissuade him from a bad choice.

Then, out of the blue, he was diagnosed with a rare ailment. Progressive. Debilitating. Incurable. Such a good soul, it seemed so unfair, especially for one so young. With the help of caring vets, we coaxed him through the dreary winter and gave him one last summer, warm sunny days lying by the pond worrying a bone. To the end, Mick insisted on bringing in the horses each evening. Short of breath, he still barked orders and made sure everyone was in their proper place.

When the struggle became too much, I had to let him go. He is buried beneath a 100-year old hazelnut tree next to the paddock where he can still keep an eye on the horses. The day he died, the horses came to the edge of the pasture that evening and stopped. They waited, puzzled that Mick did not come to guide them home.

It has been a beautiful summer this year, filled with warm days and clear nights, a rare gift in the Pacific Northwest. But it is too quiet here on the farm.

Linda C.

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