Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Hardest Goodbye

Pup ~ March 1997 ~ January 15,  2011

In my lifetime, I never found the partner I was seeking, but I did find my soul-mate. An unlikely one, but one who gave me the unconditional love and devotion, the steadfastness, the intuition, the laughter and companionship I waited a lifetime for.

This is Pup, my wolfish companion for  fourteen years. He was my buddy, loping along miles and miles of sandy beaches that stretched ahead of us forever, the years we lived in Tofino. He accompanied me down every forest trail, tail up and ears alert for critters in the bush. He was the companion of my wild wilderness heart through the happiest years of my - and his - life. His spirit, like mine, found its home on the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound.

He was, my sister said, "an unprepossessing little puppy", a little black fellow with ears too big for his head, off the reserve in Opitsat. He must have followed the big dogs over the trail to Kakawis, where I worked, and got left behind. The maintenance men found him, more dead than alive, in the March rains. He had been living off the dump. When they brought him to me in the office, his skin was already cold. Another hour would have been too late. I gathered him into my arms, and I was sunk.

He might have had a life more to his liking if I had left him on the island, to be a Kakawis dog, free to roam the island's trails and ocean shore. But somehow he needed me and I needed him. The staff told me he was from the Chief's dog's litter, and was part wolf. I got permission from the Chief to keep him.

Then life got very comical.

                                                   Pup and Stephanie

He has been the most hilarious dog. When he was little, I sometimes called him Goofypup, which  got shortened to Pup, a name difficult for calling over vast distances, and I was always calling him over vast distances! Sometimes, when he was older,  he was Mr. Dog. But mostly he was Pup.

He adapted willingly to living with me but, being in large measure wolf, he remained very Alpha. I, in a word, am not. So there was little doubt who was soon running the show.

I lured him with treats to do my bidding, but he got very smart. I'd throw a treat into the car to get him to jump in. But soon he'd refuse to enter, if I didn't throw the treat. Argh. When we started disputing who was going to sit in the driver's seat, I knew I needed to get a grip!
He was highly intelligent. Had I put in the time training him, he would have learned fast. But he was so funny and cracked me up so often, I let him be himself. I didn't want to curb that free wild creature living inside him. It was compromise enough expecting him to live within four walls, when his spirit so inhabited the wild.

He hated my going to work. In those days I was beginning the disability process and working part time. On the days I worked, I woke really early to take him to the beach for a run. Even mornings when the winter storms raged and the rain poured down like a fire hose, he had his run every morning. As I got ready to leave, he'd sit balefully in the hallway staring at me reproachfully. I would offer him a treat. He would accept it, then spit it disdainfully onto the carpet. He would not be appeased.

The neighbor told me that after I pulled out of the driveway each morning, he would howl a mournful wolf howl. Poor Pup. I returned at the end of the day to a riotous and joyous welcome. The treat would still be lying there, and would now be eaten. Then off we'd go for our second, more leisurely lollop along the beach - morning and night, twice a day on the beach, pure heaven for me and my pal.

He grew so fast, it was like someone was inflating him with a pump. He was little for such a short time.

Then, I had an eighty-pound half-wild animal at the end of the leash, in a huge hurry to get to freedom. He hauled me along, heels skidding, for years, calling after him (to absolutely no effect), "Don't pull me!" Once we went downhill past the gas station, where some young men were gathered. Pup whipped me around so fast, in his rush to greet them, that I actually twirled in a circle, the leash wrapping around me. The guys cracked up. "Never saw that before!" one said.

He hoarded the pig ears I gave him. He remembered hunger, and always saved something for later. One night I came home from work to see he had buried his pig ear in the hugest plant pot, a great big tub with a fig tree in it. A mound of black earth sat on my brand new cream-colored carpet. "No! No! NO! NO pig ears in the planter. BAD!" A second night: "NO PIG EARS! No,no, no!" Pup looked nonplussed: but where else can I bury it in here?

The third night: no dirt on the carpet. "WHAT a smart puppy! What a GOOD BOY!" Until I saw.......he had craftily scooped dirt from the BACK of the planter, down along the wall, burying his pig ear behind the tree, where I couldn't see it as easily.

Waaaaaaaay too smart!

And goofy!

 He led me a merry chase - literally. He'd run around and around bushes, dodging back and forth, grinning mightily, like the bad-ass he was, as I huffed and puffed after him, demanding he Come Here NOW! Passers-by would comment, "That dog is having way too much fun!"
He would run far away from me along the beach. I worried about other dogs, about him getting lost....until I began to realize that, no matter how far ahead, he always knew exactly where I was. He would come back - when he was done.

Once when I was away, my sister took him for a walk in the forest with her dogs. At one point, Pup disappeared. She was worried. I'd come home and she would have lost my dog. She spent an hour retracing her steps, calling and calling. When she finally gave up, there he was, sitting beside the car, waiting for her - "where've ya been?"

There were two things I coveted when I moved to Tofino: a glass ball and an eagle feather. The glass ball got delivered one early morning after a winter storm. I was thinking, "I should go look for glass balls," but decided to have my tea first. Later, at the Co-Op, my neighbor told me how she had plucked my glass ball from the base of the dune right in front of my house. Argh.

I was walking along Lynn Road one afternoon with two visiting friends, explaining that I wanted an eagle feather but how you couldn't just "get" one. "It has to be gifted to you, by the universe, when it decides you are worthy." As I was speaking, our six eyes were fastened on something lying on the road directly in my path. It eagle feather. "I believe this is for me," I said, picking it up. "I believe it is, too," said one of the women, in awe.

A few months after Pup had come into my life, I was moving furniture around, and was busy hooking the stereo back up when I heard crunching right behind me. I figured Pup was eating a pig ear. How cute.

When I finished hooking the equipment up, I turned around and - you guessed it - he had eaten my eagle feather, all but the spine. I could only laugh. The universe gives, and the universe takes away.

He was always very bossy in the car. We could never get to the wilderness fast enough. The grandsons remember him barking relentlessly in the car, bark, bark, bark. Once Lisa and the kids were driving behind Pup and I, on the way to the beach. They said it was really funny, watching from behind, him sitting beside me in the front seat; they could see his head turned towards me and his mouth going, bark, bark, bark, me turning my head every now and then, my mouth moving, obviously telling him stop barking!

One fellow I dated, had one comment after riding with him: "Dog needs a muzzle!"

I never would do it again, but in desperation, I did actually try a muzzle once. Because an hour and a half of barking each way to the beach gave me headaches.  He spent a few intense minutes, flipping himself around the back of the car, clawing at his nose. Then he - somehow - simply ENLARGED his snout until the muzzle ripped and he was free. I resigned myself to the barking. Fourteen years of it :)

He has been a handful -  and the being I loved the most. He needed a firmer hand than mine and I loved him way too much. I so loved his irrepressible spirit, and always remembered that he was part wolf. I didn't really want to tame him, had it even been possible, though it would have made my life easier. He also was a chauvinist. He would listen to men, but not to women. That always burned me up!

Once I took Pup and the grandkids to the lake for a picnic........he disappeared to the other side of the beach, where there was a family setting out their picnic. When I looked over, there was Pup, hulking across the sand with a long trail of weiners hanging from his mouth. By the time I reached him, it was too late to save them. I was so embarrassed.

Another time he and Ali ran ahead of me onto the beach. I heard a kafuffle and went to see. There was Pup, dragging a hysterically laughing and on-the-ground eight year old Ali along the sand by her sleeve.

He was born of the wilderness and the ocean tides. Like me, his spirit was woven into that place, and was meant for no other. When we had to move away, we both grieved the wild beauty and freedom we were leaving.

But I was ill, and the insurance company declined my claim. While I had no income, couldn't work, and was living on line of credit, the debt mounted. I felt rising panic. I couldn't afford to wait it out, and didn't think things through. I should have held on. But I sold my trailer, my toehold on life in that beloved place. There is hardly any year-round housing in Tofino. One finds place after place to rent for a few months at a time, if they are lucky. I was too ill for that kind of stress. And too poor to pay the high rents for anything one did find. And I had a big black  dog.

We decided to spend the winter up north with my sister while I decided what to do. Steph drove Pup and I to the airport. The vet had given me some sedatives and told me not to exceed five, that I should only need two or three. Ha! Two....nothing....three......not at all sleepy. He REFUSED to be put in the kennel. He made his body heavy like cement. He could not be budged. We got up to giving the fifth pill. I hesitated, but gave it to him. Finally it was down to minutes. He HAD to get in the kennel or we were going to miss our plane. A man saw the two of us struggling to push this big, resistant, feet-planted dog into the kennel and came to help. The three of us got him in, slammed the door, and I made the plane.  But when we changed planes in Vancouver, I saw his kennel on the tarmac. There was Pup, STILL sitting upright, ears alert, watching everything. He would not relinquish control for one moment.

He was very stoned when we arrived up North.

Pup loved the north, loved the cold, the snow, the wild scents on the air. Loved the freedom of running loose. He never wanted to come in at night. I'd pace up and down the freezing streets in my pajamas,  calling, while he eluded capture. "Let him freeze, he'll come in when he's ready," my sister would say. But I couldn't rest inside with him out there in the cold.

When we headed home in the spring, we were both ecstatic. By now, I was receiving monthly benefits. I was going to try to find somewhere to live in Tofino. When we got off the ferry up-Island, I pulled the car off the road right away, and opened the car door. He was off, joyously pelting along the beach like a newly released prisoner.

We found temporary digs in the basement of a family in Port Albion, outside of Ucluelet, beside a pond, where Pup ran free, barking at bears and every passing truck, playing with their dog, Shima, and generally behaving like the bad-ass he was.

But I couldn't find a place to live in Tofino,  especially with a big black dog. And I was simply not up to the uncertainty of temporary housing and the stress of always searching for the next place to live.

We were going to have to leave our beloved beach. Unthinkable. Below, Pup frolics at Wickaninnish with his small buddy, Hope, a teeny Yorkie with a big heart, who  belonged to my daughter, Lisa. She is the tiny blur in the foreground, running beside the clump of kelp.

I made the difficult decision to move to Port Alberni. My daughter and the grandkids had just moved  there, housing was cheap, and it was one and a half hours from the beach - the closest I could afford to live. These would be my grandma years. The Tofino years were mine. All of the other years of my life have been for family.

So Pup and I found ourselves on a city street, cheek by jowl with other houses - and neighbors who did not relish a loud barking dog next door. There was no fence. He had to be tied up. A wolf on the end of a chain. It killed me. And it made him even louder.

I took him every day to a different trail, to the river, to the lake. He lived for those hours off-leash, when he could run free and be the wild creature he was born to be. The other hours, he endured.

Anyone who thinks dogs don't feel grief, just look at the photo below.

He would sit looking out at the city streets. He was remembering the wild beaches, the days of freedom, the forest trails, the pond where he and Shima used to play, just like I was. He needed the wild, like I did, to be happy. It was part of his soul, his spirit, as it is mine.

We were both depressed that winter. Shortly after we moved, I had a car accident and wound up in intensive care. I had a broken collarbone and knew it would be a month before I would be able to manage Pup on a leash. I arranged for our former landlady in Port Albion to take him for a month. I was in bed at home and Pup was sitting by my bed. I knew Sandy would arrive soon to get him, and asked, "Do you want to go play-play-play with Shima?"

He practically sobbed his response: "Bark! Bark! Bark!" There was a shrill edge to his bark, nearly hysterical with longing. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

He didn't look back when she came. He leaped out the door and into the van as fast as he could. Poor boy. He missed Home as much as I did.

Now we were really sunk. I had totalled the car. We were stuck in the city and I could take Pup only as far as I could walk, which wasn't far. I was ill. We sought out every wild undeveloped corner in our area. But soon I had to have another car to escape the confines of the city. Neither of us could stand not having a daily dose of the wilderness.

Once we had wheels again, our  rambles resumed. But it was when I pointed the nose of the car towards Sutton Pass and he knew we were going home that he would blaze with joy. In his excitement, he'd "pace" inside the car, leaping from back seat to front, front seat to back. Each time, his big thick tail would "whap!" me across the face and I would laugh. Such joy!

After two years uneasily in town, feeling alien, I bought a little trailer out Beaver Creek, right across the street from my sister. It was a rural area, and I had a huge green sweep of land and big old trees around me, a ravine out back and a little creek. Our  spirits expanded. We had space and greeness again. Now we could manage.

At first we didn't have a fence and he had to be on  a run. But he had a huge front yard from which he monitored all movement on the street. He had the scent of nature in his nostrils once again. We still went for our rambles. Life got better.

The sight of green and trees all around eased our spirits. While we were not in our true home, we made a home with what we had.

When my brother-in-law built a fence, and I finally could unsnap Pup's lead and tell him "you're free", he ran around in ecstatic circles, so grateful to have what he  should have had all along. He made a little, prancing bow, to thank me. In order to be with me, he accepted every change we made, in our  fourteen years together. He was my comfort in losses that broke my heart. He kept me from loneliness, always there to welcome me home, to lounge by my computer while I wrote, or in the living room while I watched a movie. To walk by my side through tame forests, while we remembered the old growth, and the wilderness that coursed through our souls.

   Pup,  a country dude.

He had a way of giving me affection: he would come up to me, smiling, bend his head down, pressing the top of his head against my legs, and stand there a bit, tail softly waving. It was his way of giving me a hug. Beautiful boy.

I blocked off the furniture to keep the dogs  off it. They were both big dogs  and a lot of the outdoors came back indoors with them. With Jasmine, my golden girl, simply putting pillows across the top of the couch  seemed like an obstacle to her and she stayed off. When I came home a couple of times, I noted the pillows had been TAKEN OFF the couch and tossed onto the floor and Himself was up on the couch, grand as you please! I had to laugh.

I somehow enjoyed how difficult he was. He was a wild creature. He agreed to live with me. But he did not surrender his spirit. I would never have wanted him to.

When we went for car rides, out to the river or the lake, he remained all excitement, even the last few times, when it was nearly impossible for him to get back in the car. Once he had had his portly, slow, old gentleman's swim, and we were driving home, he'd sit behind my shoulder. This is what any kid in the car loved best.

I always had treats in my pocket. He'd softly nudge my cheek with his nose, like gentle kisses. His eyes would be focussed intently on my pocket, his head tilted, especially if my hand went in that direction. "Awwwwwwww," I'd say, "little kisses!" thinking how terribly endearing he was being. The kid in the passenger seat would be saying "look, he's making his cute face!" His nose would nudge again, more forcefully. And if I took much longer, he'd take his snout and WHACK me across the cheek! I'd collapse into giggles.

Cesar Milan would be horrified. But I could never have mustered the severity required to undo all the bad traits I had enabled. At some point, we recognized our failings,  just agreed we were in this soup together, and muddled our way through, with much affection and laughter. My boy.

Yes, I have been known to suffer indignities upon my wolf-dog, which offended his wolfish sensibilities deeply. In his dotage, I recognized the deep embarrassment in his eyes, and stopped doing it. I never should have. I do not include the shameful antler photos, out of respect.

Because of his puppy days out in the March rains, his body was riddled with arthritis for years. His front paw was lame from the age of seven. Then his hind end began to give out. The last few times he overdid it, he collapsed. Each time I was afraid he'd never get up again. Each time, somehow, he did.

I curtailed his walking to a slow, stately hobble down our street a little ways. He lay on his side all day long now, and avoided getting to his feet.His legs thrashed when he slept, his whole body jerking, and when I placed my hand on his head, I sometimes felt a sort of current, like little seizures. His hind end was barely there. Just crossing the porch, it would give way on him and he'd collapse to the floor, then get back up.

He loved his last snowfall, rolling over in the snow and gyrating luxuriously, like a young pup.

Even in these last weeks, he asserted his Alpha nature. When I went out to run errands, he agitated to be outside. He liked to be on guard when I was away. But in bad weather I made him stay indoors. He didnt like feeling confined. I think he knew death was close by, and would have preferred being outdoors, old wolf that he was.

Things were getting worse.  I was watching for a sign, to know when it was Time. But I started to worry that, if I waited too long, he might go into distress, and have to be put to sleep during a crisis. I heard of a dog who went into seizures and howled for the last few hours of his life. I could not bear one moment of that for Pup. I would spare him that.

I took him to the vet. I joked with her that "it took him fourteen years to mellow". It was the truth. She told me it was the End Time. She said the "euthanasia" word and gave him some anti-inflammatories to get him through Christmas. They perked him up and he enjoyed seeing everyone. One by one, he made the rounds to all his people, gently butting his head against their knees, tail waving softly. A hug, to say he had missed them.

"Is it Pup's last Christmas, Mom?" asked Jon. I looked over. Pup looked sad.

"Yes.  I don't say things like that in front of him, because he's so smart."

But it was. Pup's last Christmas. With such a sinking in my heart, it was.

I began grieving Pup's loss long before he died. I knew it was going to be the hardest goodbye of my life. The mere thought of it brought me to tears. I have experienced no love purer or more devoted than his. He was my once in a lifetime dog for certain.

I began reading books about dogs, and of course in every book about a great dog, the dog dies, reducing me to  rivers of tears. I was trying to prepare myself for this passage we all navigate, when we love someone or some creature - or some place -  and  have to give it up when we most want to keep it forever. I can believe the words that each soul has its journey, the path is the path, the love we had is never gone. But to not have this big black wolf-dog physically here ? When he has been the biggest part of my life for so long? I can't philosophize that one away. There was no way to prepare for such an absence. I knew the hardest goodbye of my life was almost here.

One night, towards the end, I told him that when I die, I want him to be the one to come and meet me. He listened hard, as if he understood it was important. He noted all my tears the last weeks, when he asked for and received all the treats he wanted, when I put extra special fish or chicken or buffalo on top of his kibble, told him I loved him so many extra times.

One just has to remember that the only way out is through. In time, it will get easier, as have all the other heartbreaks, all the other losses. The one thing we have in abundance in life is loss.

My other losses have taught me well and I will never say goodbye to my boy. I'll carry him within me, like the wind and the rain and the ocean's roar, like the shores we roamed together all those happy years.

Yesterday in late afternoon, he barked to go out. Luckily, I had the gate across and the porch closed off, because as he stepped onto the porch, his hind end began collapsing, first to the left, back up, then to the right, back up, several times dizzily around the porch. I called my sister, then the vet. It was Time. Pup had made the decision.

He wouldn't get out of the car  though. He knew, and he didn't want to leave me.

The vet was wonderful. Pup, of course, resisted sedation to the end, she had to give him more. But finally, finally his big head relaxed, and she administered the final shot and he was gone.

I had a struggle over cremation. I couldn't bear the thought of him burning. I thought I should let him return to the natural world he so loved, become one with the wind and the rain and the earth and the trees and the sky - that ineffable spaciousness his soul needs, as does mine, that we have both so sorely missed these past years. But I couldn't bear the thought of putting him in the cold wet ground which is all running with mud right now either. And I wanted him with me in a way I could see and feel. If I moved away, I didn't want to have to leave him behind.

So I walked away with his collar and leash but without my boy. A few days later, when they handed his remains to me - in a small take-out contained - the thought of my big, noisy boy reduced to this small bag of ashes reduced me to tears, along with everyone else in the office.

I will never love another creature on this earth the way I love him. The house is silent now with his absence, and empty. Jasmine feels it too. I am grieving, and shaky. But it was good that Pup was the one to make the decision. There was no wondering, no ambiguity. His body could not get back up again. It could not keep walking. His spirit, though ~ that was right there to the very last second.

We shared so much that was glorious, those golden years we spent along the shores of our hearts' home, the most glorious years of my - and his - life. And he was by my side as I weathered the pain and losses that followed. He accepted all the changes, all the hardship, just to be with me. We shared the utter devotion of two hearts, each of  whom was all in all to the other. We had time,  fourteen years of it, to be together.

He had a good life. He would have wanted no other.

And now he has gone on to run wild beaches on a farther shore.

This is where we will leave my poor old boy, once more beside his beloved beach. I hope to dream of him, young and joyous and running once more along the water's edge. As soon as the roads are clear, I will be heading there, to walk there on my own. If I can bear to, I will scatter just a small handful of his ashes there, where his spirit - and mine - belongs.

I know all dogs go to Heaven. And I believe that God is kind. So I'm counting on seeing Pup when I cross over. He'll lead the way, because he always has, along a forest trail that winds down to a long, long beach, with Forever in the distance. And we'll begin the next leg of that journey, together once again, with the sound of the sea in our ears, and the fresh wind hitting our faces, as we're heading Home together.

Good night, Sweet Boy. But never -never- Goodbye.

[Update:  It is eight years later, and I still grieve. Now I realize I always will. His absence has become a presence that I live with. I will never let him go. What joy he brought me. What glorious times we shared. What a gift that big black wolf-dog was. Here is a poem that I post every year on the day he died, in remembrance. I had moved across the street, and worried he would not follow me there, as he wasn't too welcome over there. That explains the referance to "that was never home to you."

But I did make it back to our hearts' home, Tofino. I walk the beach in any weather. He is never far from my thoughts. I have cried a river of tears over my boy. I will miss him forever - until we meet again.]


On the anniversary of his death - January 15, 2011

I feel it coming, this poem
I will  birth
on the eight year anniversary
of your passing from this earth.
So close to tears, I realize, of course, it is you.
Just how much, how long, I'd miss you,
back then I never knew.
Like a burrowing owl, you have lodged in my heart,
a prickle-burr that hurts,
from which I do not want to part.
You live there, night and day,
in a corner labeled Grief.
From the missing and the being-gone
there is no relief.

Ghost voices whispering on the wind,
and wolf howls in my dreams,
you look right into my sad heart;
your wolf-eyes gleam.

The barn owl says to light the lamp
on the windowsill for you.
But how will you find me in this place
that was never home to you?

I'm homeless in the universe, alone, without you
and I fear you're out there somewhere,
feeling homeless too.
Lead me back, wolf-spirit,
to the land we loved together.
I will walk there again
as we did in any weather.

When I can hear the rhythm of
the turning of the tides,
my spirit may still find a home
once more, where peace abides.
Maybe your ghost shadow
will accompany the hours
as I walk forever beaches that,
for a time, were hours.

***   ***   ***

I went to bed and slept, and then they came:
four beautiful, white, snowy wolves
who already knew my name.
The first came close -
oh, the beauty of her face!
pushed a friendly nose towards me,
as I stood still, accepting,
but respectful of her space.
We were at the beach, the wolves and I.
A visitation from the spirit-world
of the not-alive,
and from deep within my spirit,
which needs both wolves and ocean waves
to thrive,
because it has never been enough
simply to survive.

The barn owl called sleepily
in the early light to wake me.
Four white wolves live within me now,
never to forsake me.

And you?
big, black, laughing, hilarious
creature of the dawn?
You're in my heart
forever now.
You are never
fully gone.


  1. Beautiful words for a great dog.

  2. A wonderful tribute for a faithful companion, Sherry. My heart is with you,


  3. Grr @ Blogger. It is still showing the record store post as your newest! But HW told me this was here, so here I am. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your beloved Pup. He reminds me so much of my Sunny, except for one thing...Sunny favored ladies! SUCH a shameless flirt.

    We love all our dogs, of course, but certain ones touch our very souls. Pup was that one for you, as Sundance is for me. And now that rascal Bosco.

    Keep him close to your heart, Sherry. He will know, even still.

  4. oh Sherry, tears are running down my cheeks as my sweet, badly behaved but filled with love dog Ellie lays curled up on my bed against me...I'm so sorry for the pain you are moving through...and at the same time so happy for you..and for Pup...because you found each other, loved each other with wild fierceness and always will. How blessed you both have been.

    gentle steps

  5. there is no friend like a dog... and one doesn't know what it is to be loved, until one is loved by a dog...
    Yes, it is so sad to see him go... but as you say, surely he must be in heaven... i am sure he is still barking and barking... :)

  6. "Be comforted, little dog, thou too at the Resurrection shall have a little golden tail."

  7. Sherry, an absolutely beautiful write for a very special companion. I am so sorry for your loss.

  8. Simply beautiful, thank you for sharing this story.

  9. Sherry From his picture and from your story, I almost feel as if I knew him. A wonderful dog. The most wonderful dog. How much is enough? There is no way to say, but you were blessed and he was blessed in an unending love, few know in this life. One last farewell, and a promise. "I'll meet you on the shore." And he will be there, and in your heart forever.

    There aren't tears enough, for this saddest of stories. What a tribute you have made to him. A beautiful black angel like no other.

  10. Sherry I wrote a little stone for Pup.

    I see your strong body,
    Dance and play on the beach,
    The tide is coming in,
    You are a dark shadow,
    In memory,
    Lie down in love,
    You live today,
    Your heart, your will,
    Spirit too strong to kill.

    I didn't Pup except through Sherry's writing, I will remember him always.

  11. Annell, thank you for your words. They make me cry, and are such a beautiful honoring of him. Yes, "spirit too strong to kill". He was such a big Presence, his absence is keenly felt.

  12. Sherry, I am so sorry for your loss....and I know what you mean about the devotion the two of you had for each other. I empathize. There are few relationships closer than that of human and dog, I think. Been there. AM there. You will meet Pup again, and I hope he is the one to guide you Home!

  13. Though I didn't get to meet Pup in person, he feels like an old friend to me after reading the loving and joy-filled words you've shared about your life together. What a wise, funny and spirited soul you got to spend the years clearly loved each other with uncommon devotion. He will most certainly be waiting for you up there, keen to lead you along the next trail toward what he's found. Until then, keep him in your heart of hearts, and embrace the peace and healing that will come with time and memory, and the knowledge that so many of us are wishing you well...

  14. Pup reminds me of my dog; We had a hard time taming his spirit and I finally gave up. I loved your tribute and words to explain your special relationship, with Pup! He gave you the best of both worlds, his kindness and wild spirit, stirred your soul, as he did yours~ I had a hard time reading it, my eyes dripping pain for you! But remember he was a gift to you and you to him and there is no bond like an animal that sees beyond, to one's true spirit! I am so happy you rescued him, a Chief allowed him to live with you~ He was an amazing soul~ Please write a book of animal stories, his included and dedicate it to him~ xXx

  15. I haven't been around; life has been intruding in a big way. But I've been thinking of you, and Pup, and wondering. Now I've read this wonderful piece, and I know. Tears are running down my cheeks.

    There are no words of comfort. I know that. But my heart aches for you. I know how empty yours must feel.

  16. I love your wonderful story. I very seldom read prose blogs; I can't get to all the poetry I want to sample. But this completely had me after looking at a few of the photos. And of course by the end I was crying. I wish I could give you a hug. and Pup is such a lovely animal, he must have a soul of deep wisdom. I do wish for you another love in your life to equal or come close to this. Keep your heart open for it.

  17. Oh my friend. My new found friend. Oh, oh, oh ... I cannot imaging your pain. Oh yeah ... been there. Numerous times. But somehow this is different. She says seeing through the tears. I hope the two of you get together. Incredible story, so filled with beauty.

  18. What a wonderful Pup. It's amazing how they choose us, isn't it. You were meant to have each other. He is waiting for you but, I'm also sure he is waiting for you to go for your walks again and, you will find him there.
    This is a lovely story Sherry. It's amazing what we do endure for them too. The barking right in my ear in the car would have driven me nuts! LOL
    A fabulous read.

  19. What a wonderful companion your Pup was! He reminds me a bit of my Sedona, who is part wolfhound, and has a mind of her own. She's not an alpha, though. You and Pup had a wonderful life together -- especially while you were close to the beach. That sounds like heaven. And he was a beautiful boy, to boot. Tall, dark and handsome... you hit the jackpot.

  20. How blessed the two of you were to have had each other...soul mates. Now, I know that a soul mate does not have to be that of a human, not at all.

    I don't blame you at all for not wanting to tame Pup...and don't even know if you could have...not even Cesar himself...and that is as it should have been. He was are special...your love is all still there for one another and there's no doubt in my mind that he will be there to greet you when your TIME comes.

    I loved every sweet, beautiful, love-filled word of this...


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