Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Eulogy For A Good Dog

Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong. 
~W.R. Purche 

Betty was the first puppy I ever lived with or "had." I was also relatively new to being a dog (step)mom, only having lived with Olive for a few months. Oh, my goodness what a good big sister Olive was to Betty who certainly must have tried her patience. I think it is not only the people who were worse off without Olive when we lost her just a few weeks after Betty's first birthday, but Betty would have benefited so, so much had she had more time learning how to be a dog from an expert dog like Olive.

The dogs required us to put Ella the Cat's food on the counter. Ella was getting older so we put a stool near the counter for her to use to get up there. Betty learned that she could also use the stool to get up there, so the stool moved away from the counter, but close enough Ella could jump. A few times we would walk into the kitchen to find Betty on her "shame stool"!
Betty was super snugly from the time we brought her home until she got sick this spring.

Betty may have been inexpert at certain aspects of dogging, but I sure learned a lot from her. I learned patience and persistence - the former because of her skill at the latter. She could tell you again and again and again and again that you should kick this pine cone or ball for her to chase, each time as though she hadn't just asked/demanded. Sometimes I could wait her out, often not. She was passionate about her hobbies!

Grandma gave the Beastie Grrrlz large Chuck-its for Christmas 2015. I thought maybe this would mean Betty's fetch sessions would only require 2 balls - one to carry and one to chase - but, nope... she could still carry two of the big ones!

I learned about the joy in repetition and in the little things. Every time a pine cone was kicked it was a thrill to block it or chase it or pounce on it. EVERY. TIME. Of course, the same goes for fetching balls. Betty was a ball chasing maestra and a pleasure to watch run after them. She was so fast on her long, muscular legs that people would ask if she was part greyhound when we lived in Portland and went to the dog park every day.

Betty learned to be a water dog at the Thousand Acres park at the Sandy River Delta.

Sometimes a stick isn't enough, but to a dog their people are good enough even when they're filthy from remodeling a kitchen.

When she and Delia decided they could not stand each other, I learned about loving someone so much and so hard that I had no choice but to accept a catastrophic flaw.

I re-learned to be ready for the fun and funny unexpected things. Betty did not howl or bay really. This is the only time we can remember her doing it and we were just lucky that I happened to be filming the play session when it happened.

I learned that a nap with a dog was one of the best naps one could nap. I relearned how it was nice to hold hands on car rides. I learned it is just as much fun to make costumes for dogs as it is for people, in fact maybe it is more fun.

Captain Betty. This post on got this project published in a Star Trek craft book - no doubt because of Betty's elegant good looks as the model.

So prim.

I never got a good photo of her in her completed hobo spider costume.

Luchadog! La Cazadora, The Huntress

I picked up this elf outfit for Betty at the after holiday clearance. I am glad I got a photo then.

I learned more about sharing and more about the joy in watching others that I love in the acts of
loving each other.

A snap Betty's Auntie Adrienne took of Betty with her cousin/best friend Wacho and her people-cousin, Kate playing in their yard.

Getting up in that hammock with Eric was her idea and she managed it all on her own.

I have so many photos of Betty throwing herself at guests, but can't seem to find most of them. :(

Fathers Day 2016 walk in the National Forest.

I have already known the sorrow and deep pain of loss from pets dying and now I am learning it again. I love Betty. I miss her.


  1. This is wonderful stuff you wrote about a wonderful family member. I am going to read it all and look at the pictures many times.

  2. Oh dammit, tears again. I'll miss you too Betty, you are inexorably tied to your mama in my memory because I only ever knew you together so I'll also carry you in my memory and in my heart. You were a good snuggler, I can vouch. You were loved tremendously and will be missed that much more. My love always.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. And wow, I guess you have never known a Tara without a Betty.

  3. Aww Betty. Good dog. Good dog. <3

  4. Having had Herb for about a year now, I realise the way that you love dogs, while simultaneously knowing they'll break your damn heart one day.
    A fine eulogy. :)

    1. Thank you, Jamie. It's hard as hell, but worth it.

  5. So sorry about Betty, Tara. I've so enjoyed her life through you in her pictures and stories.

    No dog is ever truly gone when they have been loved and carried in your heart. We keep them there for safe keeping, and bring them out when we need a smile, laugh or sigh.

  6. What a lovely tribute, Tara. I was smiling the entire time. Then when I came to the playtime clip, my girls heard it and wanted to tear outside; that's where they are now! Betty called to them! Good girl, Betty.

    1. Thank you, Peggy! I'm glad my girls could get your girls ready to play!

  7. *Sigh* So, so sorry. We've lost too many fur never doesn't hurt. That was beautiful.
    Love and healing, from our house to yours. :'(

    1. Thank you so much. I know all the people who have loved pets as family know exactly how this feels.


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