Sunday, April 19, 2009

Goodbye, Tasha

My folks adopted Tasha shortly after I left for college, between Thanksgiving & Christmas of 1996. They had an empty nest, so it was time to get a dog. While it wasn't intentional, they got a black lab to replace the son who dressed all in black.

I met her just before Christmas when I came home. She was just over a year old at the time, rather protective & paranoid. When I walked through the door, she leapt off the couch, ready to attack the stranger. I put out my hand; she recognized the scent from my old room, and instantly became mellow and affectionate.

Tasha had an innate understanding of reciprocal affection. She'd be lying in Mom's chair (as seen in the picture), and if you sat down on the floor and started to pet her, she'd try to wrap her arm around yours. And once she knew who you were, she was always excited to see you. If she saw two people hugging ("bye, Mom, see you next year"), she'd run up, bark, and try to get in on the hug, too.

Tasha was also a bit rambunctious. The squeaky "human foot" toy was her favorite (outside of the rawhide chews, of course), and would follow it wherever you moved it. She loved play fighting, and knew exactly when to stop.

As is natural, she started slowing down in the past couple of years. Her hearing & sight deteriorated. There was a close call in January, where she wouldn't get up and had trouble eating. Mom got her to eat some baby food & aspirin, and that got her up. But a day or two ago, she just stopped moving around, and had no interest in food.

Tasha died this morning. She wasn't in any pain. She had a good, long, happy life, and because of her, so will we.