Memory of a Friend

This entry isn't about food necessarily, but about friendship.  It's not even about a typical friendship, but of one between a beloved dog and myself.  If you're not a animal lover, you can skip this blog, but if you love pets and animals in general, this is written for all of you. 

The journey of Hartlin and me started April 8, 1999.  She arrived that day, sans collar and leash, courtesy of my husband's boss at the time.  She was not much more than just a pup.  In typical dog fashion, within the course of a day or two, she wove herself into our hearts.  She is still firmly there today, and always will be. 

She was also fascinated by the two lovebirds I had at the time, just staring for hours, in what must have seemed like two snacks in a cage.  Yes, she was a bit of a hunter given the chance.  She was a strange mix of something like a yellow lab and a basenji, or African Hunting Dog.  She never was completely comfortable in her new city skin, but a couple of years later, after moving to the country, she loved nothing better than cruising through the deep grass in the field behind our house.  I swear she must have thought she was on the savannah or something.   She also never trusted water, or cars for that matter.  Rain was something to be avoided at all costs.  In contrast, she loved the boat.  She would stand at the bow, nose in the air, enjoying all the wonderful smells wafting by.   We had to encourage her to swim in the lake, which she would do (the retriever side must have won out at this point), happily retrieving sticks for us.  She was a champion frisbee player, people being astounded by her leaps and flights in pursuit of the yellow disc. 

The car was another matter.  That never went over, possibly because of one simple equation:  C = V.  Car equals Vet.  That was worse that B = Bath.  When time came to get in the car, you could swear she had been part mule in a previous lifetime.

As she got older she slowed down of course, and then arthritis struck first her left knee, but then the other as well.  Other heath problems manifested themselves as well, but as one vet said, "She's a tough old dog."  Finally, last Saturday, the 19th, it was time for her to make the trip over the rainbow bridge, and we stayed by her side during that trip.  

To say a hole has been left gaping in our hearts in an understatement.  Her presence, everything about her, is sorely missed.  A house is truly not a home without a dog.  We had her cremated, as I knew there was no possible way to bury her on our property, given the amount of rock, unless by dynamite or backhoe.  Her ashes came back Friday in a most beautiful, exquisite wooden box.  This story is a testament to a great dog, and all the love that it engendered.  Hartlin, we love you.