By MARY TOBIA
This is a story about Angel.
Angel is not a real celestial being. She is our daughter's family's seven year old Australian Shepherd dog.
When the family decided to get a dog, they researched and concluded they should get an Aussie because they are known to be highly intelligent, kind, loving and devoted to their family.
The family had their hearts set on a blue merle. These dogs are multicolored with tan, grey, copper and some white. They usually have one or both eyes that are blue.
Our daughter found a reliable dog breeder selling a litter of puppies in their area. They arrived to find one black, and twelve multicolored little Aussie puppies which swarmed around their feet. The family played with the puppies to help them decide which personality and color they would take home. As they were choosing, all of the puppies, with the exception of the small black one, returned to playing. This puppy, the runt of the litter, did not leave them, but instead laid down at their feet. As our daughter will tell you, Angel picked them. The dreams of a multi-colored with a blue eye went out the window. This puppy was all black with a little white on her belly, feet and a very small stripe on her nose. No blue eyes, but very intelligent-looking brown ones.
Our granddaughter named her Angel. It was a snowy December evening when they picked her up so she was officially named Angel Snow Lowe. Angel came home to live with her military family near Fort Drum, New York.
Angel lived up to her reputation as highly intelligent, devoted to her family, and an excellent watch dog.
Our granddaughter taught Angel to retrieve her stuffed toys by name. She would line up all of Angel's stuffed toys and then ask her to bring them as she called them by name. She also taught her to jump through a hula hoop on command. Our grandson taught her to catch a Frisbee or a tennis balls in midair. Australian Shepherds are known for their eagerness to work and please their masters. Angel was no exception.
It is also in her nature to protect their property and does show cautious guarding behavior, making her an excellent watch dog, keeping all deer, fox, squirrels, skunks, and occasionally humans, off her yard.
Angel has given her family anxious moments, or hours, as well. Like the time she chased a deer into the woods. It took a few hours, and help from the neighbors, to find her and bring her back home.
Another time, the family was leaving for the day and was ready to put Angel in her crate. Angel was nowhere to be found. After spending much time looking, our exasperated daughter decided the dog must have gotten off the property somehow. She decided to get into the van and drive around the neighborho