My Favorite Pet of all time, Jesse
More than a dog
When I was going to college many many years ago, I had a best friend named Jesse. She was a border collie - Australian shepherd mix with golden hair and a white collar with white paws and a fluffly white tip on her tail. Her eyes were chestnut with a golden star around the iris. She was most beautiful and extremely smart.
Jesse was born on a horse ranch in the hills above the San Fernando Valley, CA. I was boarding my big appaloosa/quarter horse/thoroughbred mare there and when I saw the pups, I immediately wanted Jesse. So I took her home and trained her to follow my "commands," sit, come, stop, stay, etc. She would walk on a leash but mostly I let her be free.
I drove a red VW bug at the time, with a sunroof, and Jesse would sit on the passenger side sometimes stretching to put her head out of the top and let that tongue wag in the wind. She went everywhere with me. Dogs were allowed at the university at that time, so she went to class with me, too. I was an art student, and Jesse loved the art department.
She would stay for awhile in the class, then go her own way until the end of class, show up and we'd go to the next one. She was well known in the hallways. People I didn't even know knew her! Don't ask me how, they just did!
I learned to whistle really loud so if we were on campus and she had wandered off, I whistled and she would come running. Never failed to get her by my side. I lived in Venice Beach and sometimes left her there to explore the beach on her own. She'd stay out all day romping with strangers and chasing seagulls. If she wasn't waiting at the door when I got home, I'd whistle and she'd come running to me - full of sand and a little wet and happy to see me. That little house was always coated with a bit of sand - we were living by the ocean inside and out!
She was my constant companion for almost three years. We drove to Seattle, Washington one summer where we met some other friends and camped in rain forests and played on Puget Sound. She loved everyone and everyone loved her. After that trip I moved in with my parents for a time while I continued my college education. They lived in Van Nuys - a busy suburb full of cars and people. I left Jesse home one day and when I returned my Mama had to tell me that she had been hit by a car. She loved to chase cars, birds, squirrels, cows - that's who she was. Well, my beloved Jesse was killed instantly. I tried for years to replace her, but no other dog was like her.
So I keep cats, and remember my Jesse to this day - 35 years later, she lives on in my heart and mind. You can hear a song I wrote for her at:
Jesse and Me
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