“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” - Roger Caras (Wildlife photographer, writer and television host)
We lost a member of our family this morning. Josie joined us almost ten years ago as the runt of a litter of pups. Her mother didn't want to nurse, so we got her early and raised her, for the first few weeks, on cottage cheese. I could hold her in the palm of my hand. Half Husky and half mutt, the Husky genes eventually kicked in and she outgrew her mama and her siblings. She had the bi-eyed trait common to Huskies - one eye was brown and one an eerie blue. It made for a disconcerting, Kujo-ish look that kept a lot of people at bay. I think she actually enjoyed that reaction.
|Josie and Grandson #1|
What she lacked in ardor, she made up for in protectiveness. With the exception of an occasional, and well-earned, warning growl and nip, she never harmed a person, but she didn't allow other creatures near her house. She killed rats, possums, and (sorry) stray cats. She didn't even like birds being in her yard and could actually catch them. (If you ever saw the scene from Eight Below where one of the sled dogs catches a bird in the air and you thought it was facked? Believe it! I saw Josie do it several times.) She even challenged a skunk once. The skunk came out alive and Jo came out smelly, but that skunk never returned to her yard! Even those of us she spurned - or deliberately disobeyed - knew Josie would stand between us and danger.
Recently, we noticed a steady decline in Josie's weight, appetite and energy. A visit to the vet diagnosed her as diabetic and in congestive heart failure. The combination meant little hope of recovery and a life of pain in the mean time, so we made the choice to end her suffering. Our hearts are broken today and the yard seems empty, but life's better for having had ten years with her.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
- Will Rogers