Friday, June 13, 2008

In Memory of Abby, A Great Golden Lab

Our friends Steve and Janet recently put down their wonderful golden lab, Abby. They wrote a loving tribute to her which they said I could share with all of you. She's pictured below doing what she did best, being a pillow and a friend to a child (Mathew) who knew he could trust her to be gentle. Here's her story as told by her mom and dad, Janet and Steve.

November 13, 1995 - June 3, 2008

Our sweet puppy girl is gone. And what a girl she was.

From the day she was born to Daisy and Luke, one of three girls and four boys, she stood out from the crowd. She was spunky. She'd roar off after deer as if she was bravery personified until the deer turned around and she'd make tracks for the safety of the front porch. She was stubborn. By the time she (and Janet) graduated from obedience school it only required fifteen commands of "Down" before she'd comply. She was spirited. As a puppy she'd arrive at the vet's office, paw the big glass entry door until it slammed open, visit all the dogs and cats in the waiting room, shakedown anyone with treats in their pocket, and head for the door as soon as her name was called. She had an incredible nose. Or was it her hearing? We never could figure out how she could be clear across a huge field and know that we had unwrapped cheese. She was patient. Children could crawl all over her and she'd just get up and move only to be crawled over once again. She had a tail that wouldn't quit wagging, a smile that never stopped and a sweet nature that won us over from the first time we laid eyes on her. And that face. What a beauty she was!

Of course, she had her rowdy moments. When Steve worked in the yard she'd steal a glove and hold us both at bay while we chased her around the yard trying vainly to get it back. Empty toilet paper rolls, Steve's handkerchief, empty plastic bottles and shoelaces were all fair game. Carpet was for digging. Leashes were a bother. Heeling was for wimps. What was the point of fetching if you had to return it? "Leave it" was practically her middle name. Water was for swimming, not baths. Sand made her wild. Vacuums and hair dryers were terrifying. Rolling her over on her back was never, ever allowed. Barking was saved for serious occasions. Birds were fascinating. Cats were pals but they never knew it. German Shepherds were for flirting. She never met a dog cookie she didn't like. Whenever one of us was in the shower it was time for a nap -- right outside the door. Whenever we spelled "w-a-l-k" or "s-w-i-m-m-i-n-g" she was on her feet and ready to go. Kindling on the front porch was for chewing. Collars were for licking and so were feet. The ocean was paradise.

She was the only dog to make regular appearances on the 29th floor of PG&E in San Francisco (interjection from the blogger: that's where all the officers, aka stuffed shirts, from the utility had their offices. It was like visiting a morgue. No one ever laughed. Abby didn't care.) She went to Gumps (a very high class gift store in a ritzy part of San Francisco; I never bought anything there but they did have puppies from the SPCA for adoption in their windows at Christmas) and Williams Sonoma. She dined on bacon at Harry Denton's (a very tony restaurant in San Francisco; Abby was not a snob, nor were her parents). She went down a slide and Steve has the claw marks to prove it. She attended the Memorial Day Bash thirteen times (that's where we camp every Memorial Day) She went to weddings. She posed for photos. Whenever Steve got an ice cream cone, Abby shared it. She could pop bubbles with her nose. She drank water in cadence. As she got older she tried the couch in every home we entered. On cold nights she loved sharing our bed and taking over. She visited National Parks. She appeared in Country Coach's (their motor home) "Destinations" magazine. She saw bears, deer, eagles, coyotes, buffalo, bobcats, turkeys, newts, snakes, elk , antelope, armadillos, javelinas, roadrunners and never bothering anything. Except for mice. If a mouse crossed her path it was gone.

In ten years in the motor home she got to sniff most of America and Canada. Each new overnight spot was an a adventure. And everyone we met was there just to see Abby. Trails were paradise and not to be passed by. Any body of water was meant for swimming. Any ball or Frisbee was hers. If it looked yukky it was worth a taste.

She was our Abby or, sometimes, Angel Mae Louise. After expensive vet visits she was known as Goldie. When she was boisterous she was Devil Dog. Even as her hips and shoulder deteriorated and she had trouble walking, she'd ignore the pain to please us,. Her eyesight went a little but her hearing stayed acute. Making the decision to end her life was torture for us but we did it for her. Before she suffered even more. She's buried in a beautiful spot on Yellow Dog Ranch within sight of our barn. The original Yellow Dog lives on forever in our hears and in the hearts of our family and friends.

We miss you Abby.

I just needed to share that with you. Steve and Janet are great folks and Abby was wonderful.
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dykewife said...

we had a dog like abby, a golden retriever named 'sandy' when i was a little kid. he was amazing. this has inspired me to do a blog about the old pooch.

blogauthor said...

That made me sob! Beautiful tribute. ((( hugs to your friends .. and you )))

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

What a beautiful story. Loved the photo, too. Thanks.

I've also been poking around in here and hope that Vicki is doing better (sorry, I can't check the spelling while commenting). Not sure who Vicki is, but I'm off to investigate...