Saturday, August 3, 2013

From The Dog's Paw - A Tribute to Tasha

Today, I host a special tribute to a special dog written by a special human-

"Tasha and Julie"
(C) Allen Pearson, 2013, All Rights Reserved
I met her online. I saved the email for about a week and just happened upon it again. These are usually the types of emails I delete right away…but for some reason, I didn't. And then, when I read it again the next week and my colleague was reading over my shoulder, he said, "Oh just go meet her!" So - I did.

It was a Sunday. I was expecting to simply meet this girl and on the drive home, think about whether or not to do this. In the end, she was in my car riding driving home with me. The premise was that it was only for a week - like a trial period - so that the foster could go to Florida to look for a house to buy. After day One, I knew she was going to stay….

(C) Allen Pearson, 2013, All Rights Reserved
Not thinking I was coming home with a dog, I had done nothing to the house in preparation for a doggy visit. So that Sunday afternoon and evening was an effort trying to figure out a place for her to sleep, where her food and water bowls should be located, getting her familiar with going outside, etc. Not to mention that I had to go to work on Monday morning…. I had no idea how she would behave left alone in the house for a fairly long period of time. So as I was leaving Monday morning, I had a 'talk' with her…."Now, be a good girl…no poop or pee in the house, don't chew up anything, you can bark at the mailman and guard the house. But please be a good girl and I'll be home as soon as I can."

I was a nervous wreck all day at work. I'd heard too many stories of dogs with separation anxiety who tore the house apart trying to get out and get to their human. Thankfully, I was able to leave work a little early just to ease my mind.
"Tasha and Toy"
(C) Allen Pearson, 2013, All Rights Reserved

When I opened the door, Tasha was there coming to me in a full-body wag and something in her mouth to greet me. I greeted her back and with great anticipation, tip-toed around the house in search of what I knew was to be some type of devastating disaster. However, there was nothing that I could see that was out of place or even moved an inch. There was no poop, no pee and nothing was chewed up. She was a perfect angel! Thinking that this was just first-day luck, I decided to go through the whole 'talk' each morning…telling her what not to do and what she should do and that I'd be home as soon as possible. I did this while rubbing her forearms up and down. It worked! She's been a perfect angel from day one all through her life with me. I couldn't have asked for more.

I also discovered early on that one of Tasha's favorite things to do is open packages. From boxes that get dropped off by the mailman or the UPS man to gift bags…..she can rip apart a sturdy cardboard box - especially if there is something of interest inside (food); yet she can be as delicate as can be when taking out one tissue at a time from a gift bag….and then, of course, shredding the bag afterwards!
"Tasha Waits"
(C) Allen Pearson, 2013, All Rights Reserved

She has also been my gardening partner over the years. Again, early on, I discovered that she could dig in the dirt….but that she had more of an interest in doing so if she was 'helping' me. So when I was digging a whole in which to plant a bush or tree, she would come over with great interest. Then I would point to where I needed to dig more or to loosen the soil, and she would go at it! Full-body digging action! When I said stop, she would. She could also pull out some of the most stubborn roots….when she could get a hold of one, she would tug and tug until it broke away! She was an awesome gardener!

In the eight years that we've been together, Tasha and I have enjoyed life from the daily routine of things to the adventures of road trips, to long walks and discovering new neighborhoods and trails, to visiting other people's homes (with and without other dogs), to dog parks, to shopping in the dog-friendly areas of Arlington (she loves going behind the counter and checking out the back of the house!), to staying in hotels and just plain enjoying our own yard and 2 porches. She and I are a team and neither one of us feels complete without the other.

Tasha is getting old….faster than I am! She was diagnosed with Stage 5 Lymphoma on January 15, 2013, and was given 4-8 weeks to live. Today is July 6, 2013. She is clearly defying the odds and the predictions. For the most part, she is still a healthy, vibrant - albeit senior - dog, who I love and adore. I was devastated with the diagnosis and know that I will be even more so when she does finally pass away. I simply keep loving on her and enjoying every day that I get to have her with me. I know one day this will end, but I like to think that she will always be with me…continuing to be that angel in my life that I knew she was from day one.

Tasha has taught me many things - many that I will not forget. Patience is number one…..not only does she have Incredible patience with me, but I must also have incredible patience for her….like, on walks when she has to sniff one blade of grass for over a minute (60 seconds is a Long time). She has taught me that breathing and enjoying the outdoors is an incredible pleasure that any man-made experience cannot duplicate. She continuously reminds me of my feelings and compassionate side. In the hurry of daily life, I tend to forget, but Tasha always brings me back to my basics. She made me realize how much I enjoy the 4-legged friends and has got me to think about my second career of caring for K-9s. I credit her with awakening my inner feelings and core to pursue my passion and to feel every day and feel life - for without feeling, you haven't really experienced anything. - Julie K.

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