A Leap of Faith

It is good to have such passion for something that you are willing to throw caution to the wind – and reach for the stars. We should all have something that makes us feel that way – within reason. Take skydiving – that is something that some folks are quite passionate about – but most would agree that if you are going to go skydiving – before you throw caution (and yourself) to the wind – you should – at the very least – make sure you have a parachute (and, hopefully it is in good working condition!). You would think that would just be common sense – and for most people it would be. But, if you are not most people, and are in fact – a certain Parson’s Russell Terrier named Shine (and I suspect there some others just like her) well, she never lets common sense get in the way of good fun.
Shine has her own passion – toys! Shine has a deep-seated passion for toys. Well, actually, I’m not so sure it is the toy itself – it is possessing the toy. Shine believes in “The grass is always greener…” theory. If there is one thing better than the toy Shine currently has – it would be the toy someone else has – and NOTHING will do until Shine possesses that toy. Then she has to run around flaunting it and showing off how wonderful she is how great that toy is. If it is a squeak toy – all the better! And Shine can work a squeak toy and make it elicit the most pitiful and horrendous noises. She works it like a child’s first flute lesson! Noises that weren’t meant for human ears come forth!


Back to the “leap of faith” and to the setting up the rest of this story. My house is rather tall. You would never know my house came on a truck (actually 2 trucks) because it is 3 stories tall. But, it did come on a truck (well 2 trucks). My house plans are that of a vacation home design that had a modified A-frame look to it. “What”, those that have seen my house might say – “Your house is NOT anything like an A-Frame!” I have to agree you are correct. But it was “suppose” to look like a modified A-frame vacation home. It was supposed to be set into the hillside just opposite of what it is – so the big picture windows at the end of the house would face and overlook the pasture. There would be a big deck leading out where I envisioned sitting drinking coffee each morning looking out over my domain. Well, the fact that there is a rock quarry across the street should have clued us in to how much and close the limestone bedrock is to the surface. To make a long story short – we hit rock so quickly in laying the basement foundation that it would have been major blasting and expense to dig into the hill that far, so we ended up turning the house around, so the longest side runs parallel to the hillside and required the least amount of excavation and dynamite! Now, the modified A-frame side is facing a way no one ever sees.

Well, that is nice – you think – but why am I telling you this???? Because now the front of the house, including the front door is WAY UP in the air! And the deck turned into a front porch that wraps around 3 sides of the house, and the front is WAY UP in the air! And, there are now 23 STEPS to get to my front door!!!! There were so many steps, we had to add a turn and a landing. With 23 steps, that certainly explains why no one ever goes to the front door? Here is a picture from 10 years ago of the house being finished. See the man on the ground…See how tall the porch is????


Now, when it was finished, the deck was all nicely fenced with the type of slats that are close enough together to prevent small children and animals from accidentally falling through. (Note I said accidentally.) Now, when my house was new, it was so tall, it stuck out or the hillside like a sore thumb! So, to disguise the height of the house, I had planted multiple bushes which in 10 years time have grown well and are doing the trick. Look for yourself! You may not even realize how tall the house is now – unless you try to go up the 23 steps.


But I regress….back to the story – again: When Shine came to live with us, our household had to adjust to having a new sibling. As any good parent, I tried to spend some quality “alone” time with each of the others. So, one day, about 2 weeks in, I decided to take my youngest border collie, Allie out to the field to play ball. Just Allie and I, as we had both experienced Shine’s obsession with possessing the toys. Allie needed to have me and the toy to herself for a while. So, Allie and I came out the basement door (actually we snuck out) leaving Shine, 2 other border collies and 2 shelties in the back yard. We snuck out the basement, as we never use the front steps either (Are you crazy – there are 23 steps!) So, Allie and I snuck out of the basement – or so we thought. Now, here comes the place (if you haven’t already guessed) where you’ll realize why I used the skydiving analogy.

You see, I made one BIG mistake. I had a squeaky ball, and as Allie and I came out of the basement, I make the mistake of squeaking the toy. Well, I think I already mentioned the wrap-around porch. I really wasn’t aware of anything, but all of a sudden I heard what I thought was a branch falling to the ground. That would not be that odd around my house. But, I looked up and saw nothing, but then I heard a rustle at my feet, and here came Shine out of the base of the big shrub, and jumping up at the squeaky ball. I had forgotten the fallen limb, and was wondering where she had come from……then I remembered the falling limb – which seems it was actually more like a flying squirrel – or rather a flying Shine – without a parachute. See, no common sense! Well, it shook me up a bit at the time, as there were landscaping rocks all around that she could have landed on and really been hurt. But, she obviously wasn’t hurt. The rails that were to keep small children and pets from “accidently” falling off the deck were not quite close enough to keep a kamikaze flying squirrel from sailing off the deck to get that squeaky ball. I’ll never know what possessed her, or perhaps she just has no depth perception – but thank goodness for that big bush. 10 years and that bush was tall enough with stout enough branches to keep a 14 lb. flying squirrel from hitting the ground too hard. And, I’m just glad she jumped right where she did – and not over a bit!

I will also never know if Shine learned a lesson from that leap or not, as that fence around the deck was quickly covered with smaller wire to keep such a thing from happening again. I’m not sure if Shine, like a cat, has 9 lives or not – and if so, should I count this as #1?