My biggest dream was to have a dog that I could take biking with me, and be my companion. A dog I could share this passion for the two wheels that runs through my veins; a dog I could share my favorite places with and see the colors change with every season that goes by.
This is a little tribute to my Australian Cattle Dog, Stella, who left us very prematurely, but not before teaching us one of the most valuable lessons of our lives; that some dogs come into your life for a reason, and that not only do they become incredible companions you share the trails with, they become part of your family.
Stella came to my small family at the early age of seven weeks. She was just a tiny-chocolate- furry-ball sprinkled with some white when we picked her up; the color of her hair was just beginning to change and it was awesome seeing the stages it was going through-anyone with an ACD knows what I’m talking about!
The time she had to be inside the house before we could take her outside seemed more than an eternity multiplied by 100. But we were not going to risk taking her outside and catch parvo-the number one enemy of puppies. Finally the day came when she got all her shots and was able to go outside. I do not know who was more excited, us or her! We started taking her around the block and kept increasing the distance little by little until the day came when we took her for a short spin on the bike. We did a tiny loop so she could get familiar with the movement of the bicycle and staying next to us, which wasn’t difficult since staying next to her herd is in her DNA.
Little by little we increased the distance. Two miles, then three. Then there were 5 until one day we did a loop of almost 17 miles. My little girl made them without a chirp and when we got home, she looked like she could have done another loop!. Stella had so much energy that we were exhausted before she was, and riding with us was the moment in which Stella was undoubtedly happy and at peace. She knew immediately when we were getting ready to go pedaling, she seemed to recognize the difference between the everyday shoes and the cleats. And you could immediately see the happiness in her eyes.
Stella was my inseparable companion and although she was deaf, she always stayed by my side and somehow seemed to understand what I was saying to her.
Of the things that Stella taught me are:
- It’s ok to be different
- Being outside is the best therapy, and it’s free!
- Rest days are an important element in the training schedule
- You can never eat enough snacks!
- Family comes first
I know that one day we will see each other again and we will ride incredible trails. Until that day comes, I will always carry you in my heart. Thanks for the short time you were with us.