For those who love dogs, it would be the worst form of a lie to call any place where dogs were banned "Paradise." Certainly no loving God would separate people from their canine friends for eternity.
Stanley Coren, dog psychologist
Quality Time Together We did have an amazing life together, though, yes? Back in the day of snow at Lake Tahoe, you loved running up and down the berms. Remember when we'd walk to the campground during off season in autumn and spring. You'd jump over the huge pine tree logs again and again. Not to forget taking you to the Lake. I know, the water was too cold for you to go swimming...but you loved the sand, sun, and looking out at the water and Canada geese. Ah, the winter nights under the full moon, you walked with me on the fresh snow after visiting your best dog friend. It was bliss while we were in the hot tub and you and "Rat Boy" played non stop outdoors and indoors. I can still see your beautiful smile--and as I view so many photos you were happy, a happy, balanced gentleman with stable energy.
...On the Road And the book signings you escorted me to were fun, yeah? As a puppy in Carson City's Borders you were so cute (I was pleased by your perfect presence) and as an adult at Chico's Barnes and Noble--I was also so proud of you. You worked the crowd and acted like a therapy dog. Don't forget we ordered a third bed for you in the hotel...but you snuggled and slept with me (under the covers often) as you did for more than a decade.
Not to forget you kept me company day and night, on errands, walks, writing books, photo shoots, and my true soulmate with paws. We got each other. And hey, you were famous! Yes, your photo and feats graced msnbc.com to The Writer and and Complete Woman magazine (right below Oprah! in the TOC) for being a seismically sensitive pooch partner in my forecasting earthquakes to simply being my best friend during the best and worst of times.
Not to dismiss the time when a cameraman let you and Seth outdoors into the wild. Before the on-camera interview I was scared at least one of you would head near the highway or Lake and never to be found again. But I followed our normal walking path and there you were--taking care of your younger sidekick whom you bonded with ever since. You were the wise, balanced one out of your comfort zone all alone.
Dog Days, My Best Friend
Okay, I won't dismiss a few close calls: There was the time you sprained your foot in the snow--but you healed quickly! A few teeth cleanings; you ended up having 38 out of 42 pearly whites! Amazing. When we evacuated the chaos of the Angora Fire, not only did you stay centered for me in a Reno hotel--you got bit by something in the foreign grass. One nose surgery later. You healed. And when you were 10 1/2 I found the little lump on your forehead. Both our vet and I were concerned. Surgery ASAP. Benign. We were elated with joy, despite the scarring. But your beautiful fur grew in within weeks! My canine warrior lived on for two more years (about 14 in human years). And I am so grateful for the time we spent together from beginning to the end...
I know you loved your canine pals--Zorro, your sweet Rat Terrier BFF with Type-A energy; and Seth, my Brittany pup whom you raised. He loved you more than you know. You two bonded and despite being from different lines--you looked like one another. You sensed when his health took a turn for the worse just as my Aussie and Siamese noted you were not yourself. I sense they miss you, especially Skye, whom you helped socialize with strangers and allowed you to maintain alpha dog; he played with you so gently even though he knew and I knew you were growing older, growing frail. He is trying to behave like you did when we lost Seth--strong for me (but I confess, he's a bit clingy).
Saying Goodbye You are in every room: Posters of us at bookstores, in my magazine articles, books, plaques, and dog bones. My pen names are connected with you Calliesimon and I cannot delete them because it's my lifeline to you. Your fave comforter is on the love seat. I want to smell your scent and will not wash it. I feel your spirit is in the air. How I long to hug you, kiss your nose, and tell you how much I love you as I did every day.
It was difficult for me to face the facts that you were slipping away. But I knew on Friday, October 23rd, when all of the classic canine dementia signs came together. You told us--all of the people who adored you--it was time to go. "I'm tired. I don't like the way my mind is not clear. I'm anxious. I'm scared. I'm confused. I want to go where it's safe and peaceful." I saw you had left me in your eyes and felt your spirit had left me when I hugged your body. Goodbye Dear Simon. No words needed.