Lena, the GSP

She was named after Lena Horne, that icon of suave, sophisticated jazz, and she is as thoroughly unlike her namesake as a bitch can be.


She is energy and power and speed, her preferred mode of movement is the all-out sprint, she leaps and spins and tears across lawns and through thick forest with equal abandon.


When I go into the woods to work with limb lopper or chainsaw, she plunges enthusiastically into the effort, digging with her paws, yanking on root and branch with her jaws, leaping to grab high branches and vines, yipping and squealing and barking with a cheerfully weird intensity, and when I move to the next work spot, so does she.


When she chases a squirrel, it's more like a race than a hunt, though she has caught and killed one, and with Goon, a fawn, but if the squirrel runs up a tree, the other dogs will besiege it while Lena will sprint a victory lap around the field.


She is the joy of muscle and movement, the ecstasy of speed, a whirligig in a windstorm, a bouncing ball of happiness when you come home.


When she chews a stick too successfully and a piece gets wedged in her upper jaw, she runs to me and lets me yank it out, and then she leaps up to kiss me in the mug before racing off to chew another stick.


She leaps into any pond or stinking muck puddle she can find, heedless of your screams to get out and threats to bathe her when we get home.


She eats more than the other dogs, and yet she hasn't an ounce of fat on her, just lean, hard muscle. Pound for pound, maybe the strongest, fastest, and most durable dog I know, and she will take a morsel of food from your fingertips with perfect gentleness.


She has a weird obsession with patterns of light that the window in the door to the garage sends across the utility room when you open it. She is at her most still when she hides in the shadowy room, waiting for the lights, like fleeting angels, to move across the wall. And when they do, she explodes into action, but never catches them.

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