I apologize for the lack of posts for a couple of days. I was trying to process something very sad that happened over the weekend. I had had a great weekend up until Sunday night about 11 pm, when I found out that my family’s very much loved dog Tasha had died suddenly.
I still get choked up thinking about it. At first I cried a lot. Tasha was the most special doggie. She was a huge part of our family and brought so much joy to our lives. Of course I moved away from MN a few years ago so I hadn’t spent as much time with her lately, but when I was still living at home she and I were buddies. Actually, she was buddies with just about everyone in my family. Everyone has some reason why she was “our” dog.
For me, she was “my” dog because I personally chose her out of a litter of very cute Golden Retriever puppies (the best dogs ever, by the way). My dad took my brother Daniel and me to get her one night. It was going to be a surprise from the rest of my siblings, who were much younger then — this was about 7 years ago. My dad instructed us on the proper procedure of picking out a puppy. You’re supposed to stand back a little when they let the puppies out of their crate and then call them to come to you. Some of the puppies will go wandering off or mosey around awhile before getting around to coming over and meeting you, but you want the puppy who is most eager for human interaction and who comes to you right away. Well, that was Tasha. She bolted right over to us and started gnawing on my hand. I fell in love with her and we brought her home that night, where everyone else fell in love with her too.
[baby picture! sorry about the poor quality]
We named her Tasha for no other reason than that we liked the name and she looked like a Tasha. When she was a baby one of the cutest things about her was that her skin seemed to be too big for her. Her face was covered in wrinkly folds that made her look so adorably weird. That only lasted until she got bigger, but for a while we called her Wrinkle Face. :-) In a kind way. She was always on the smaller side for a Golden Retriever, but she was a beautiful dog.
[fun in the snow]
I guess the reason we were all so close to her was that we all took part in raising and caring for her. All of my siblings were old enough to help. When we were potty-training her we would take turns getting up in the middle of the night to take her outside. We all participated, and before we knew it she grew up into a very good, mostly disciplined, very loved and very LOVING dog.
When you’re homeschooled, you spend a lot of time at home and that was how it was for my siblings. Tasha was always around wanting to be a part of everything.
[what can I say? after all these years, my mom could teach just about anybody]
My parents didn’t really want dogs in the carpeted part of the house because they have what you might call a “pet hair phobia.” So Tasha mostly hung out in the kitchen/dining room, unless she was outside. This is probably why she was obsessed with food and always would be begging for bites of anything you were eating.
[this is her “can i have a bite?” face. she was very persistent.]
Tasha was probably the most loving dog I’ve ever met. There wasn’t a trace of aloofness in her. She was devoted to and extremely affectionate with my family. She loved to be snuggled (which my younger siblings, especially Jesse and Naomi, did all the time) and she would purr almost like a cat when you rubbed her back. Some of her favorite things included tennis balls (lots of them), chewing on things, being played with, and of course, food. Although she was always able to maintain her girlish figure!
[we had a hard time with the whole retrieving tennis balls idea. she preferred to hoard and eat them.]
Tasha wasn’t always the healthiest — she had had seizures before, and was on medication for them. But she had been doing fine for years, and so it was a big shock when she died on Sunday. It happened very suddenly and was over quick. According to Jesse, it was just a normal evening and she was about to have her dinner. Suddenly she just fell down, breathed irregularly for a short while, and then stopped breathing altogether. No once could believe it. We really don’t know what happened — maybe a stroke or something of the kind.
My siblings and mom especially have been really torn up about it. She was just such a sweetheart of a dog and they spent so much time with her. I know it must feel so strange not to have her around. I miss her too but I feel especially bad for my family. As much as I loved Tasha, I know they loved her even more. It’s so hard to lose a pet, especially when it’s unexpected. Tasha was only 7 and we all assumed we’d have lots more time with her — our last dog, Ginger, lived to be 13.
But, even though it hurts, here’s what I try to keep in mind so I’m not too sad. First of all, Tasha didn’t have to endure a long, painful illness. Up until the moment she died she was fine, and then she was gone. It makes it harder for us to adjust, but I am glad she didn’t suffer. Second, Tasha had a very happy life. It was a simple life, but she had everything that she needed, and every day she got all the love and attention she could handle. And last, I’m just grateful for the time we had with her. It was only 7 years, but those were 7 good years! Tasha was so special — I will miss her, but I’m glad we got to be her family. We were so fortunate to have her.
[our beautiful tasha]
Tasha, I knew it the minute I saw you: you were perfect. I’m so glad you were part of our family! We will always love you.