check your six

7 Apr

This is Rosie.

Rosie is one of Captain Deb’s dogs. She’s a red-heeler, border collie mix, which means she’s super smart and constantly working.

The dog, for the life of her, can’t walk in a straight line from one area of the house to another. If wants to go upstairs—and the stairs are inches from where she may be currently sitting—she’ll get up, walk to the other side of the room, check out the dog crate, come over to the chair where I’d sit, check me out, hop over to the couch, where Captain Deb would sit, and finally finish out the loop at her original spot before finally going upstairs.

And that’s when she gets up of her own volition. When you’d actually ask her to do something, go get something, it took twice as long. And when she’d get antsy to do something, herd someone, Captain Deb or I would simply call out:

“Rosie! Check your six, girl!”

And she’d get to work.

A quick lap around the kitchen, make sure everyone was accounted for, make sure we were all okay. A cross between a hostess and a governess. Did we need anything? Can I get you something? Why aren’t you sitting in your seat? Why are you standing? Sit down. Sit doooown! I can’t keep track of both of you if you are in separate rooooms!

Captain Deb and I trekked out to the Iditarod re-start in Willow, Alaska, and we brought both dogs with us. They were happy to stay in the back of the truck and man the premises, watching Iditarod fans slug to and from their cars across the frozen lake, hauling chairs and grills and blankets and jugs of various hot liquids. By the time we made it back to the truck late that afternoon, the sun just starting to think about dipping down behind the horizon, Rosie was desperate to get out of the truck. Probably to pee mostly, but also to stretch her legs and do something, herd someone, move something.

So the Captain locked on her skis, hooked Rosie up to her belt, yelled something akin to “GO DOG GO!” and off they went. Around and around the frozen lake, Deb on skis, Rosie happily running with all her might to pull Deb.

Besides our two-mile hike through unbroken snow a couple days later, I don’t think anything else we did on the trip exhausted the poor girl so much.

Rosie, that is.

Deb was tired, but not so much that she felt the kitchen floor was a fine resting place.


“Rosie! Check your six, girl!”

What? Where? Who? Can I herd you now?

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