Thursday, January 08, 2009


I lost a good friend on Friday. Tara was my 13yo German Shepherd. She would have been 14 on January 17.

It is hard for me to believe that in the beginning I didn't want this wonderful girl. I had just had to put Toby, my cocker spaniel down on the Tuesday and on the Saturday my DH and DGS tried to convince me that I needed this dog when we came to town to visit our family. My DD had sighted her three weeks before while working on a charity event for the Humane Society and had called and said, "Mom, there's a German Shepherd pup available and you know how you love German Shepherds...." I told her I didn't need another dog in spite of the fact that we were living on a farm at the time and had lots of room. "But mom, she's really cute and you'd just love her." I kept saying no.

Then after Toby died my DH was determined that I have another dog since I lived way out in the country and I was alone all day. No matter how many times I said "NO!" that Saturday we ended up taking Tara. We were staying overnight so my DD got permission to bath Tara at the pound and brought her to us on the Sunday.

It took me awhile to warm up to Tara I am ashamed to say. I was still grieving for Toby. Tara had the patience of Job and I guess she realized that I would grow to love her because one day she just jumped into my lap and that was it. I was hooked.

We have had some funny experiences with Tara. She loved to run in the fields at the farm. It was 200 acres with a woodland on it too. My DD came to visit with her dog one day and took the two dogs and my GDS for a walk into the woods where they found a marsh. DD threw a stick telling her dog to fetch it but before the other dog, Sam, could react Tara had leaped into the water after the stick. It was my dog that came trotting home covered in mud and foul smelling water but with a big smile on her face.

Tara was great at leaping. We had to put her into a kennel whenever we went away. When we went to pick her up the owner told us she had leaped the eight foot fence and gotten into the outer yard when she heard a car pull up. She thought it was us. We left her at that kennel several times over a period of 1 1/2 years as both our fathers were dying so that we traveled back and forth a lot. It seemed each time we returned there was another story of Tara leaping or climbing up the chain link fence trying to get out. The owner ended up putting a roof over her kennel. He never refused to take her though. He liked her.

Tara was afraid of loud noises. During thunderstorms her favorite place to hide was in the bathtub. We tried all kinds of things to help her get over her fear but nothing worked. The same thing happened with a car back-fire or fireworks. The poor dog was beside herself with fear. We never knew why.

I forgot to mention one of the funniest things that happened that involved DH, Tara and PennyCat. We inherited the cat from my DGS as Penny didn't like my son's new wife and stepson coming into their lives. Anyhow, one day DH was playing tug with Tara using a heavy toy rope. Tara was snarling and growling, as dogs do when they're engaged in this activity. Suddenly Penny jumped off the dining room chair and onto Tara's back. Tara didn't know what was going on. (Luckily Penny doesn't have front claws.) I took the cat off the dog and sent her away. Tara and DH started playing again and I have no idea where the cat came from this time but again she jumped on the dog swatting her hard on the nose, hissing and spitting. She was protecting DH from Tara.

Tara and Penny used to play well together after they got used to each other. Initially Penny hid under the couch and whenever Tara passed the cat would swat her. Then, the chase was on. First the dog would chase the cat and then the cat would chase the dog. The farmhouse we were renting was quite large and had long halls and a full finished basement. We would hear these two chasing each other around the house, having a great time. I think Penny really liked Tara though because every so often she would bring her a mouse.

Tara loved DH too. On the farm she would wait for DH to come home from teaching school and if he wasn't home when she thought he should be she would cry. She seemed to have an internal clock that let her know when DH was due home. When he appeared she would grab her favorite toy in her mouth and run to greet him, wagging her tail from side to side and also wagging it in circles like a plane's propeller. I don't think I ever saw a dog do that before.

I have been quite sick in the last few years and Tara was my unofficial "nurse". Before leaving for work DH would tell her to look after me. She took the job quite seriously. One of my problems is that if I bend down I black out or pass out. The first couple of times I actually went out, when I came to Tara was washing my face. Also I was told by my DH to stay in my chair until such time as my DD could make it over from work to stay with me. It was not unusual for Tara to jump into my lap and stay there for a half hour or more until I got the idea. Then she would lie on the floor on top of my feet.

It was because of Tara that we first learned our DGS, who was about six at the time, had inherited his Great Grandfather's love of puns. When he was visiting one time Tara was playing with DGS and Michael piped up, "Mama, Tara is Tara-rising me."

Tara was a very smart girl. She was a wonderful dog. I miss her terribly.


Blogger Keziah Fenton said...

I wish I'd taken a picture of her this summer when we were renovating the bathroom. The ladder was inside the tub so we could reach the top of the tub surround. There was Tara huddled beside the ladder shivering. She was despondent because you and Dad were out of town. There was nothing I could do to entice her out of there.

She was a good dog even if she never did grow into those ears. We miss her too.

4:11 PM  
Blogger rssasrb said...

This is a lovely tribute to a wonderful and loving companion. I am so glad she was there to wash your face and wake you up when you blacked out. And I'm so glad you have Casey with you now.

Crying for you and the hole in your heart.

4:06 PM  

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