After a family trip to the vet, I was overwhelmed by two polarizing emotions.  The first was payment shook at the almost five hundred dollar bill. This outrage was tempered by the knowledge that it was all the shots our four domestics should need this year (fingers crossed!)

The second feeling was pride; everyone passed with rave reviews.

Not a flee in the bunch.  Teeth all healthy, ears clean, coats shinny and everyone well behaved.

I was also grateful for the ability to bring all three dogs and our feline overlord in at the same time.  Our vet was very surprised that the cat could easily be examined in the same room with the dogs.

I was elated to get a clean bill of health for our matriarch.  Honey is somewhere around 15 years old.  This is a ball park estimate since her age at the time my husband adopted her was uncertain.  She has been such a blessing in our lives and rather than singing her praises after she is gone (an inevitability I don’t like to think about) I wanted to take some time to truly appreciate her and all that we have shared as a family.

She has lived a pretty amazing life for a dog.  Scratch that.  She has lead an amazing life for an earthly being.

Her relationship with me started with a fair bit of drama.   When the boys were moved across the country, she was left with a neighbor.   Even though we quickly recovered her it did nothing for her already tentative trust in humans.  At the time we lived on a boat with the little dog, Pele and had to scramble for other accommodations.  Two dogs on a 30 foot boat is no good.

It was cozy.

Their first night together.
Their first night together.

We relocated to the redwoods.

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Shortly there after; Honey almost disemboweled herself on a ivy covered stump- bounding down the hill to bark at another dog.  She healed amazingly well.  With the help of many modified teeshirts (I sewed layers of fabric on the inside that could be cut away to reveal fresh layers of wrapping)  and a salve made from apothecary honey and sugar.

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This tragic injury put her and me on the fast track to a wonderful relationship.  Even though it was hard, I am grateful to have had such a willing patient.  It wasn’t long after she healed that we packed up and headed east and both dogs began their tour of the USA from the backseat of the truck.

Both dogs had been well traveled- as the were always with us.  They had already been all over California.

The Yuba panning for gold.
The Yuba panning for gold.

Their first stop outside the state was Crater Lake.

CIMG0439 It was also her first experience with deep snow.

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It would not be her last.

"I just want to pee!"
“I just want to pee!”

Through it all, she has been patient.

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She kept Portland weird.

In Portland Oregon at the rose gardens.
In Portland Oregon at the rose gardens.

In the high desert of Montana she supervised sapphire mining.

Honey in the high plains desert.  She gets around :)

After driving through a herd of buffalo in Yellowstone; she was almost shat upon by her sister.  During that period of change and upheaval, her trust in us was absolute.  Knowing we would always find a safe place for all of us to sleep every night.  All that mattered was being together.

This is why we started just getting a room with two beds.
This is why we started just getting a room with two beds.

We made her a solemn promise to her on that trip; we would find her a place to retire.  A haven at the end of her travels.

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Somewhere with enough space for her to roam without busy streets or strictly enforced properly lines.

Fall, on the top of the mountain.  She now wears shirts for a different reason.
Fall, on the top of the mountain. She now wears shirts for a different reason.

A place where her bed is the family couch; under handmade quilts.  She deserves it.

She has become a well traveled dog.  Who began her life swimming in the Pacific-

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and will end her life with walks along the Atlantic.

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She has seen the world from the top of many mountains.

Acadia, Cadillac Mountain.
Acadia, Cadillac Mountain.

Been by our side through the worst and best that life has to offer.

Don't we all look happy? Even Honey was grinning ear to ear.
Don’t we all look happy? Even Honey was grinning ear to ear.

Our constant companion.  She has tolerated her two sisters and become the undisputed leader of our pack.

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She has endured the love of two young men;

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and some really immature adults.

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She has enriched our life beyond my wildest dreams.  We are honored by her loyalty to all the members of this silly family; even the ones that she might kind-of want to nibble.

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She is kind and obedient, truly one of the best dogs I have ever had.  I feel honored to share my home with her.  Now I must go, there is a spot on the couch calling my name.

May your days be filled with unexpected adventure and your nights, with the comfort of a quilt wrapped dog pile.

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The way life should be.

 

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