Mariah is the Australian Shepherd that my father rescued when he was 80 .
After my mother died, my dad was very lonely, but he did have the company of their two collies: Cassie and Nicki. Both of the collies were older. Cassie was my mother’s dog, and it was clear after Mom’s death that Cassie mourned Mom’s absence deeply. Cassie passed away nine months after my mom did. Fortunately I was in Atlanta on business, and I was able to be with Dad when this happened. Nicki, who had been rescued by Dad from an animal shelter, lived until 2010, when she died simply of old age.
Dad did not think he needed another dog. My sister and I thought differently. So we told him the story of an Australian Shepherd that needed a home. He quickly came to know and love this little four-legged beauty.
She was five years old when Dad adopted her. She was shy and didn’t trust humans easily. Daddy spent a lot of time very patiently talking to her, walking her, brushing her, taking her for rides around town in his little MG Midget. She needed someone to spend time with her, and he needed someone to spend time with.
He named her Mariah in reference to the song, “They Call the Wind Mariah”, from the movie Paint Your Wagon. (Although in the lyrics the name is spelled “Maria”; it is actually pronounced “Mariah”).
“Away out here they have a name
For wind and rain and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe
And they call the wind Maria…
But when you’re lost and all alone
There ain’t no word but lonely…
And I’m a lost and lonely man
Without a star to guide me
Maria blow my love to me
I need my girl beside me
Maria Maria They call the wind Maria
Maria Maria! Blow my love to me”
So perhaps my dad did rescue Mariah, but Mariah rescued my Dad too. In her own way she may be rescuing me as well. I see opportunity to train her to “wake the girl” in the morning, which will be a huge assist in my daily routine. Her very presence in our house as made me far less a couch potato, and when I sit quietly with her on the front porch brushing her hair, I can feel my cares melt away.
Sometimes, when I walk with her at twilight, the September breeze blows and she sticks up her nose, prancing for a few steps as if she has caught wind of my Dad’s spirit. She smiles.
And they call the wind Mariah. Mariah. Blow my love to him.
© 2014 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.