By SUE FINK
Our family has been dairy farming in western Hennepin County for 20 years. We have always had a dog to keep us company around the farm.
Fluffy, a Spitz, was our devoted watch dog for 17 years. As her name suggests, she was covered with long, white, fluffy fur. No one came into the yard without Fluffy welcoming them with her incessant bark. She even warned us when the neighbors had company.
During the last year of Fluffy's life we got another dog, our black Lab, Indy. Like his namesake, Indiana Jones, he is always ready for a new adventure.
At first we thought it wouldn't be fair to Fluffy to get another dog. She had been the queen of the farm for so long. How would she react to a rival for our affections? We finally decided that a puppy could learn from her, and would be more likely to stay home if it had a companion.
Fluffy tolerated Indy's puppy ways. She even shared her back-porch chair with him. She had staked claim to it, and it was covered with her long white fur. Soon there was short black hair all over it, too. We would find them both curled up in the chair together.
As Indy grew bigger, however, he got to be too much for Fluffy to handle. His favorite sport was to come charging full tilt at her, and crash into her with a full body check that sent her rolling down the driveway. We couldn't have had two more different dogs; one big, brawny, black male full of energy and one small, white female who pranced daintily down the driveway.
Indy would gobble anything you threw out the back door before it hit the cement. If you put food out for Fluffy, she would look at it and give it a sniff. Then she would turn away as if to say, "If you're lucky, I might try it later."
Fluffy was a non-stop barking machine. Indy loves everyone and only barks in the middle of the night at things he hears in the distance. I sometimes think he is barking at his own echo.
Indy likes to lay in the dry cows hay feeder at night to keep warm. He stays in his warm bed in the morning until he feels like joining us in the barn.
On even the coldest winter mornings, Fluffy would be at the top of the steps to greet us when we came out of the basement to head for our morning chores. That is what I miss about her the most.