Okay, yes. The creator of Snoopy knew what he was talking about. There’s nothing better than the warm softness of a week-old puppy nestled in your arms. But puppies are also a ton of work. Do we really love the midnight walks and the crate training and the chewed-up shoes?
I can’t say I miss all that with Max, my eight-year-old German Shepherd.
Max is an easy dog now but even easier is the Shepherd statue I bought from St. Francis’ Garden (www.saintfrancisgarden.com) last year. I wanted to accent my yard. And I wanted another dog without getting another dog.
The statue is just over three feet high. It’s a perfect size: big enough to look just like a Shepherd but light enough that I can lift it and move it myself. The figure is made of durable fiberglass and caring for it is simple. There are just two key guidelines:
- keep it out of direct sunlight
- keep it away from ice
The sunlight part was not a problem. I found a shady spot in my yard next to my azalea bushes. The statue is perfect there. But because I live in the northeast, I was worried about ice and snow. I did not want to risk overexposing the figure to the harsh elements. So when winter came I carried the statue inside and set it in the corner of my living room. (I considered storing it in the garage, but it’s too beautiful to put away!)
Now it’s a rite of the passage for me. The crocuses come up in the garden in April and my dog statue comes outside. Jack Frost appears on my grass in December and the statue comes in by my bay window.
Max is getting older but my Shepherd statue looks as good as new. There’s no fuss. I’m happy. And I have no desire for a puppy anytime soon.
My aunt’s great black Labrador Retriever, Washington, was the prince of her property.
Stately and smart, he roamed her lawn. He protected her garden from deer. Like a soldier he stood watch on her front stoop.
Year after year my aunt watched him from her kitchen window.
When Washington passed away this winter my aunt’s lawn lost its life. The grass was empty. The garden was bare. To my aunt’s eyes, even spring couldn’t bring the vitality back.
My sisters and I gave my aunt a dog statue for her front stoop. It is a life-sized replica of a black Labrador Retriever.
And it looks just like Washington.
The hand-painted statue is now a beautiful fixture. It greets my aunt each time she comes home. She lightly pats the dog’s head every time she walks by him. Spring is in full swing and my aunt is back in her garden.
Her dog statue is near, as if keeping a watchful eye.
It is a quiet companion.
My aunt couldn’t be happier with it. She has a prince on her property once again.
For her, the statue is what her dog was:
Permanent, loyal and timeless.
Written by Maggie Nicholson
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