About 20 years ago, a new puppy joined our family.  She was a beautiful German Shepherd whose grandfather was a police dog.  She had the classic German Shepherd markings that included the black dimple on each cheek.  I loved her the minute she joined our family and she helped raise my children and protect our family for over sixteen years.  She was a good dog and though gone four years, my children still talk of her and cry because they miss her.


Other dogs have joined our family but Shasta holds a special place of honor.  I named her after Mount Shasta in Northern California because of the strength she possessed, even as a young puppy.  And as she aged over the years, the tufts of gray in her coat resembled snow-capped mountains.   Her name was fitting and she meant the world to our little family.   When my children were babies, while I worked in the yard or washed cars, they would sit in their exer-saucers - the 90's answer to the walker.  They would bounce and spin but could never take their eyes off Shasta.  She was a well-loved pet.


A few years back, I came home during the day to let an appraiser into my house and yard.  I warned him of the big dog in the backyard but to not fear her because she was friendly if you were.  He promptly came and found me to tell me that my dog was sick and breathing heavily.  I went to the backyard to see what was wrong.  Shasta was in her dog house and couldn't move.  She tried to lift her head when she heard my voice but was unable.  The appraiser went on his way and I called my office to say that I wouldn't be returning; I had to take care of the dog before my children came home.  She had had a stroke or something of the kind.  I knew it was the end.


My two older daughters had early release from high school and found me in the backyard trying to get Shasta to drink some water, any water.  We were able to get her out of the doghouse by taking it apart and lifting her into an old, clean comforter.  She was dying.  We sat around her, held her, and told her how much we loved her.  Through our tears we hugged Shasta as memories filled our minds and quenched our hearts.  She had been a wonderful dog and we were devastated.


As if on cue, through the side gate into our backyard came my boss, the Managing Director of the search firm where I worked - and our dear family friend.   Sensing the urgency in my voice when I had called earlier; he had cleared his afternoon schedule and magically came to our rescue.  He lifted Shasta into the backseat of his pearl white Lexus, without even blinking.  He carried her into the animal hospital with three sobbing girls in tow.   He made the necessary arrangements and we said our goodbyes.  I found out later that he had told the veterinarian and his staff that I was never to see a bill or hear anything from the hospital - I never did.


People come and go out of your life, as do animals.  Shasta will be remembered for her fearless yet loving, protective nature.  As will my former employer.  How will you be remembered?


by rayannethorn

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A much appreciated & well written piece, Rayanne!  I especially love your closing sentences! Thank you for sharing this with us! :D

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