The Papago Springs neighborhood has lost one of its own. Windmill, our smart, beautiful, and loving blue tick coon hound passed quietly on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Windmill was a beloved friend to all who met her, and her absence is palpable. Anyone who met her knew she was a special being.

Windmill seemed destined to be with us. In 2011, a crisp, color picture hung at the Sonoita post office announcing that she was looking for a forever home. She had been found in the Bradshaw mountains near Prescott, AZ by some hikers who had come across her. She was frightened, dehydrated, and had been bit in the face by a rattlesnake. She had no identification, so she was called “Windmill” after the windmill she was found near.

How that poster of Windmill ended up at the Sonoita Post Office is a mystery. We were interviewed, and our property inspected and deemed suitable to adopt her if we fenced our yard. “Once a runner, always a runner” is what we were told. Once, when let off of the leash, she ran off only to be found blissfully rolling in a cow carcass.

Windmill was a big girl, but could curl up small enough to sleep on our ottoman, which she claimed as hers, despite multiple dog beds throughout the house. She was not a barker, but when she did, her voice was as loud as a 50-caliber machine gun. She loved basking in the sun and rolling in the dirt, making it hard at times to see her beautiful tri-colored coat. She had the largest feet and toes but could dance with abandon and rhythm. She was calm and cool around other dogs and seemed to ignore them rather than engage – a lot less drama that way.

With Windmill, we learned patience. She sat patiently for pats and ear rubs and would actively seek out eye contact; your mind and hers were now bonded, and her calming presence could be felt.

Every day Windmill could be found standing vigil from her vantage point in the yard where she could keep an eye out for her many friends as they walked or drove by. She quickly established a treat routine with many of our neighbors who would stop by with various goodies for her. Together with our dogs, we would talk and philosophize and sniff, just taking in nature and discussing the events of the day.

Morning came at 5am and dinner promptly at 3:30pm or as soon as we got home, or sometimes both! She loved walks, rides in the truck, going to the dump, and greeting her man, Bruce, anytime he came into the room. The “happy dance” came with anticipation of a treat; her front feet marching to an invisible beat and her tail twirling around like propeller.

She was a constant companion for Bruce and through her we have met and befriended many of our neighbors. Our neighbors are a caring group and Windmill provided us all a reason to get to know one another better.

Windmill rests now in the place her friends know, in the yard where she continues to beckon others to stop by to say hello.