Dear Lizzie was a Queensland blue heeler with a docked tail that I picked out of a litter of dogs bred on a farm on the edge of Bellingen. She was the runt of the litter but so bright and curious, she squirmed and tussled under my raincoat as we walked back home across the paddocks, smuggled into my life. The deal was that she had to live outside, in a basket with an alarm clock to start with, to simulate her mothers' heartbeat.
She used to go into town with me, riding up on the bench seat, not out on the ute tray like blue heelers are supposed to. I thought once that she'd better have a lead for town, which she absolutely refused to allow, so I trusted that she would follow me everywhere, and she did.
When I later lived in the house alone she saved my lonely ness, I don't think I actually talked to her out loud, but she brought good cheer to my sadness and the remembrance of loyalty, a dogs life.
Blue heelers really need a job, they're working dogs, and she was fairly big on chasing cars, or any wildlife that she could spy out. In the back paddock mobs of feral cows used to jump the fences to eat my delicious grass, they had really annoying alpine bells on so I always knew when they were there. Her biggest usefulness came when I could stand on the river platform and yell 'see them off Lizzie'. She'd leap up from her slumbers, swim over the river, round up and chase the cows down the huge paddock until they jumped back over the fence, then return proud and panting for her supper.
We used to swim in the river on hot afternoons, I'd roar over to the bank in top gear on the tractor, she'd jump in first, belly flop, to scare the eels away, then we'd laze away in the cool water, overjoyed at our luck.
Later, when I'd left the house, gone to pursue something or other, Lizzie went to live with the neighbours, people who were out at work all day. At that time a world famous pianist had just moved into a little house up the road, he talked to himself all day, even when he was playing the piano, but his big plus was that he was there, all day. I believe Lizzie lost no time in moving into this glorious situation of company and chat and peaceful artistic endeavour. Years later when I was living in Seville a letter arrived from the pianists' wife saying what a wonderful dog she was, how well brought up, nothing else, just that.
She was hit by a car she was chasing and didn't live a great long life, but I think she was a contented dog beside the Never Never with me, and later the pianist.