I recently completed this painting of our beloved Maud.
“Sweet Maud” is an 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas.
It was just an ordinary summer day on Green Hill Farm. I’d been busy all morning with housework and farm chores when I decided to take a little break to relax. After a cup of tea, it was time to take Maud and Dash out to the backyard to play. I don’t normally put a leash on them to just walk from the house to the backyard as it’s only a few steps; we save the leashes for longer walks on the farm, where the dogs may decide to chase a rabbit or deer. Well today, it wasn’t rabbits or deer that would be an issue.
As I walked out of the house with the dogs, our UPS man was leaving, driving out of our driveway toward a busy highway. For some reason, because she’d never done anything like this in the ten years we’d had her, Maud TOOK OFF….and Dash was close behind her. Maud and Dash tore across the yard as I stood helplessly screaming for them to come back. As I watched Maud disappear down the driveway toward the highway, Dash turned and ran toward our kitchen garden, tucking his tail and finally stopping. I breathlessly grabbed Dash and frantically searched for Maud.
When my eyes finally landed on her, she was crossing four lanes of oncoming traffic, narrowly escaping being hit by a car, all while in hot pursuit of this UPS truck. Yes, this is the same dog who would hardly pick up all four feet to propel herself forward on a walk. She could be such a lazy hound dog sometimes. 🙂 But, something about that brown UPS truck and the sound it made going down the driveway got her motor running. Let me just say—I’ve never seen her move so fast. If she hadn’t been chasing that UPS truck toward her death, I would’ve thought it was a beautiful thing. I mean, you should have seen her running with such enthusiasm and gusto, legs outstretched like a cheetah, ears flapping in the wind, and howling all the time. That’s probably why she couldn’t hear me yelling and screaming behind her like a crazed banshee. I think everyone else on the farm heard me, though.
At this time, Mom and Dad who were outside gardening, ran toward us with concerned looks on their faces. I yelled that Maud was heading across the highway as I put Dash securely in the backyard. Thank goodness my parents were home, because Mom went after Maud until I finished getting Dash to safety. Anyway, the UPS man finally stopped, once he heard Mom yelling and saw them both running behind his truck. With Dash safe, I grabbed Maud’s leash and ran down the driveway and across the highway to where Mom, the UPS man, and Maud were waiting.
By this point, I was exhausted. After sprinting around, I was out of breath and the muscles in my legs were burning so much that I thought I was going to fall out, but I couldn’t stop. I finally reached the unlikely trio across the bridge—yes, there’s a bridge—as if four lanes of busy highway traffic wasn’t enough; Maud also crossed a very high bridge that goes over train tracks, too.
Relieved to finally put my hands on Maud, I felt like crying. The nice UPS man offered to help walk us back across the bridge and the busy highway; however, by this time, I was just flat out DONE. I was breathing hard, my legs were shaking, my nerves were totally wrecked, and I needed a strong drink. “Can you just give us a ride back across the highway?” I asked. “Well….we’re not exactly supposed to let people ride in the truck,” he said. After giving him a look of, “There’s no way in the world I’m walking this crazy dog back across this bridge and road,” he apparently took pity on us; he walked over, slid the big, heavy door open, and pushed down the jump seat. “Thank you!!” I gushed.
I climbed up the stairs and hardly had time to say, “Come on, Maud!” when she energetically bounded up beside of me. I could barely fasten my seatbelt as my hands were still shaking, but Maud was having a blast! She sat up straight, ears set forward, tail wagging, and ready to go for a ride in this UPS truck that she’d chased with a single-minded determination. This was her reward, and she was having the best time ever!