We would not have predicted this, given her appearance: a Skye is built like a dachshund who has streaked her hair and let it grow long, producing an Old English sheepdog who is apparently walking on her knees. Add to this a pair of outsized prick ears which at a distance conjure Micky Mouse. One neighbour referred to her as our "stretch limousine."
A series of casual liaisons put the lie to our assumptions. First to fall victim to her allure was Alfie, who was not only a pitbull but a particularly tough one. He ran daily past our place with his athletic owner until the day he spotted Jewell sitting peacefully on the lawn. She was not a wanderer and never had to be leashed. Alfie came to a full fast stop and affected a casual saunter towards her. Concerned, I started towards them, but there was clearly no need. If anyone needed a rescue, it was Alfie. He was besotted. They romped in circles for a few minutes and Jewell even allowed him a deep sniff after satisfying her own nose as to his worthiness. After that they always galloped towards one another ecstatically. He would return to his human but not without at least one yearning backward glance. Jewell was already thinking about something else.
Alfie passed away but was easily replaced by Mouscu, a scruffy Pomeranian with a pronounced under-bite. No matter. Different actors, same plot. And so it goes. The saddest part was seeing Mouscu scan the lawn in January while Jewell snoozed on the best chair in the living room. The only two male dogs who disliked her were nasty old Caspar (a dauchshund, of all things) and Canyon, who took his cue from his steady girl but came calling as soon as she moved away. Our lawn was an olfactory Eden and, when we were out walking, I frequently congratulated Jewell for her diligence about sending and retrieving peemail.
Not that male dogs were her only targets. We started to call Jewell The Schmoozer after she was invited to a number of garden parties and we had the opportunity to watch her work the crowd. Her stopwatch must have been set to ten minutes; she would plunk herself down in front of a man and stare at him until he patted her. Next, she would flip his hand up until he patted her some more and got into a rhythm. About the time (Minute 11) that the poor sucker had begun to mutter endearments, she would stand up and pad off to the next conquest. And repeat. Again, it proved heart-breaking to watch. She was always a bit full of herself after a party.
I took the shot for this painting on a sunny October day when Jewell climbed into a pile of leaves and settled in for a sniff. I think she was re-reading old love letters.