TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

Ninotchka

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
She was a blue-eyed creature of enormous beauty, so beautiful that she was named after a Greta Garbo film heroine. You'd be proud to take her anywhere, as she was always perfectly attired. She was a magnificent Siberian Husky.

She was found in the Sherman Oaks dog pound, and adopted at the approximate age of 9 months, and for the next 12 years of her life, she lived well. My mother would've said, she lived "high off the hog."

After the Northridge Quake of '94, we planned a move to Guadalajara, Mexico, but Amtrak said Ninotchka would have to ride in the baggage compartment. That was not good enough. Planes wouldn't be an option either, not with the way certain dog people are prone to worry when their pets are out of sight. There was no choice but to take all the savings out of the bank and hire a Lear jet to fly us to Guadalajara. Any dog person will understand.

It was in Mexico that Ninotchka met the love of her life. But it wasn't a Husky or even another dog -- it was a horse. The horse was a stallion who lived next door and whose owners had named it Lassie. From the minute dog met horse, it was true love. It might've even been obsession since, for the first time, Ninotchka refused to come when called, insisting instead on remaining at the fence and French kissing Lassie through the openings between the chain links. Lassie was even more intensely enamoured and kissed back with a tongue longer than the red carpet on Oscar night. Doubting human friends came to witness this phenomenon and walked away true believers. There was even a write-up in the local papers. With pictures.

Soon Lassie's enthusiasm broke all boundries of civilized behavior and his ardor was aroused for all to observe. He whacked frantically at the fence for immediate admittance, leaving hoof dents in the chain link as mute evidence of his passion.

One day, Lassie was gone. His owners had sold him and did not tell his whereabouts. Ninotchka never loved again. Her Mexican Lassie was her soul mate forever. The only thing she ever loved as much was snow. Each year, we drove north to Taos, New Mexico, so Ninotchka wouldn't suffer from the dry heat that strikes Guadalajara every April and May. We took long walks in the forest along icy creeks and had wonderful times, always returning to Mexico, until the time came toreturn to the U.S. permanently.

Ninotchka has been poorly for about a week, unable to come on her beloved walks, not wanting to eat, so we went to her longtime vet in Brentwood where she spent two days and nights and had some tests. The prognosis was negative.

Today, I brought her a cooler full of snow from home and spread the snow all around her as she lay in a kennel at the vet's. With great effort, she managed to get herself up on one elbow. She licked the snow.

Then she put her beautiful face in it, and died.

You may think the pain of loss is a terrible thing, but I don't. Love is like that.


Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"

January 21, 2005 column

More Animal Stories
 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: April 29, 2007