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As another group of quilters pile into the lodge for a long weekend of non-stop quilting, Star assumes her position in the middle of the Great Room floor. She knows that it is her job to care for, entertain, and act as tour guide for the weekend.

When I was nine years old, my dad and I headed out to the far off town of Coeur d’ Alene in search of a new puppy. We arrived at the home of the owner of two litters of puppies. One tiny fluff ball was outside of the kennel and I immediately scooped her up into my arms. The tiny puppy cuddled into my arms, happy to remain there as long as possible. I socialized with the 14 or so other puppies but that first little female Border Collie had stolen my heart. I had decided, before ever even seeing the puppies, that I would name my new dog “Star”. So that afternoon, I brought “Star” to her new home. As the years passed, it became obvious that Star was less than interested in anything I or my other family members did. I even took obedience and agility classes with her. To my dismay, she was the most unenthusiastic participant in the class. I was nicknamed, the “cheerleader”, because of the way I had to be so overly energetic just to get Star to move out of a lazy walk. Despite my jubilant attitude, on the final day of class, Star demonstrated the full amount of her interest in agility. As I directed her to run through a long curved tunnel, she lumbered in and proceeded to lie down in the middle. Needless to say, I have not attempted to do any other such activities with Star.

Star may not have an interest in competitive ventures, but she is always more than ready to entertain the guests here at the ranch. I cannot think of a more perfect guest ranch dog. As soon as an unknown car arrives in the parking lot, Star arrives to greet the newcomers and show them the way to the lodge. For those guests who stay in a cabin, they have the special treat of an adopted dog for the duration of their stay. Are you interested in going for a scenic hike on the ranch? Star will be more than willing to show you the way. Would you like to spend some time lounging about the landscaped yard? Well, Star will make sure that you never bore. A game of sticks will certainly be on her agenda.

Star’s version of sticks may be a little different from what you have played with other dogs. First of all, she always has to have the perfect “hiding spot” to crouch in while you throw the stick and to return to after retrieving her stick. This hiding spot may or may not be near your location. Second, you mustn’t throw the stick too far, because, remember, she is almost 13 years old and doesn’t enjoy running about to retrieve her sticks. Thirdly, you mustn’t throw it in the wrong spot or she will simply wait for you to retrieve it and throw it again in the correct direction. Don’t worry. If this seems confusing to you at all, Star is sure to have you trained by the end of your visit.

As the cold weather sets in, Star prefers to spend her time indoors. You will often find her curled up on one of the couches when she thinks no one is looking. I think she looks forward all week to when the quilting ladies arrive on the weekend. Not only do they provide her entertainment, she is allowed to stay inside with them most of the day, and often spends the nights with them in the cabins.

Star has become a living legend here at the ranch, ranking up there with Tulip the Goat (another story for another time). Star receives more fan mail and gifts than anyone else at the ranch. Guests make return visits to the ranch, often, because of Star. Year after year, the legend of and love for Star grows. After traveling and estimated 17,664 trail miles in all her summers and 6,856 sleigh miles in all her winters at the ranch, for a total mileage of 24,520, she is still going strong.

So the next time you visit the ranch, be sure to give Star an extra rub behind the ears; a small gift for her years of service to all those who have enjoyed their time here at the ranch.

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November 9, 2009

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Freya Ford, Miss Rodeo Idaho

November 23, 2009

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