Saturday, April 16, 2011


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
Josie wasn't a particularly affectionate dog.  She would stoically allow us all the occasional pet or even a quick snuggle, but most of her devotion was reserved for Dave.  For him she would even hoist her 80 lbs. onto his lap to watch Jeopardy.  In spite of her dislike for being petted, we saw through her cool demeanor.  She loved to play wrestling games with Dave and Mitch.  Amanda and I were wise enough to concede before the match began.  She couldn't hide her excitement when Amanda or Mitch came home from college.  She slept on Mitch's bed every night for years, sometimes squeezing him onto a corner so she could have more space.  When he left for college, she checked his bed every night for weeks, but wouldn't sleep on it without him.  

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


  1. So sorry for your loss. Animals, to many of us, are our family. I love the photo and may the good memories remain forever.

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry. There's a reason why dogs are called "man's best friend."