I’m lucky. I’ve loved many, many dogs in my life.
I’ve been friends with a kick-ass standard poodle named Yankee. A stubborn but silly Dalmatian named Oliver Twist because he was famous for twisting out of my reach as a pup. Two Golden Retrievers have blessed my life with very different personalities and challenges. Mandy was sweet, lovable and so tender-hearted that she died just a few months after my first cat, Bartholomew Jones died from lung cancer. Heather was a smart, willful, high energy field dog who managed to take down a duck at the park by jumping up and catching it in mid-flight.
These are the dogs that I’ve lived with in my own home.
I’ve dog sat, walked and helped rescue many more. Flash, the toy poodle, was amazing and aptly named. Jake, a golden, was a big teddy bear. Libby, the golden was soulful. Duke, the giant Doberman, had a heart bigger than he was.
But one of the most outstanding dogs in my memory will be Kariba, a beautiful grey Doberman. She was rescued by my friend, Chris, and was a high energy, intelligent and particular being from the beginning. She picked her ‘people’ and if she liked you, it was for life. If she didn’t, well, you had to get over it. She’s been well loved and babied through 13 wonderful years. She’s sweet and tough enough to survive cancer not once but twice. But unfortunately, the third time isn’t the charm. It’s the end for her.
I’m sad. I can’t walk her to the park anymore or wait for her to bring me a shoe. We can’t play chase or hide n seek in her yard. The only thing I can do now is rub her ears, stroke her forehead and kiss her one last time. Then, let her go on, hopefully to a place with endless fields and dog treats and no pain. And no skunks.
It’s so hard to say goodbye to our four-footed friends. I want to talk not just to them but with them, explain what’s going on and why it’s time to say goodbye. And I do. And I feel they understand but I can’t be sure.
Here’s what I know for sure: the dogs in my life just don’t live long enough.