She thought, of course, that it would end.

She had moved to Los Angeles, looking for that movie career that never materialized, and ended up working in a laundromat. She had picked up a smoking habit, and whatever money she didn't spend on that and kibble, she spent playing poker with the dogs upstairs.

But then, the phone calls, waking her up at two in the morning, hung over and lying next to the Doberman from apartment #217:

"What's that Lassie! There's trouble in the mine!"

"What's that Lassie! Mom fell down the well!"

"Lassie! I've been bit by a rattlesnake!"

"Lassie! I'm caught in a bear trap!"

And so she'd crawl out of bed, crumple into the seat of her old Pinto, and drive to sort out whatever trouble the kid was in.

The strange part wasn't that they could understand her barking.

The strange part was that she spoke Spanish.