They were the original "Good Dogs!". Luna on the back left, Walden on the right ...and my baby the little Bliss in the front row. All gone now -- they are the dogs that first inspired a career (Walden- the Golden) and the ones that followed Luna & Bliss, the Belgian Tervurens as the training bug took hold.
Losing them all was very hard - losing Luna this past December was perhaps the hardest of all. She was just days away from her 16th birthday on December 24, 2011. I am sure her loss was harder because she represented the last link to so many parts of my life now passed. Dogs lead such short lives, even Luna's life of nearly 16 years didn't seem long enough.
She was there in those unsteady days emotionally and financially when I left one career to start another - making the decision to train full time. She was there when my father got the news of Alzheimer's disease, she was there when I lost my father. In fact Luna's life spanned the loss of both of my parents, a best friend to breast cancer and of course she outlived Walden and even baby Bliss.
One dog's short life that touched so many more, my own, and the many dogs and people she helped as we worked together. To reflect on her life, is with the bittersweet recollection of all that a dog's life brings us.
After her loss I found Jon Katz' book "Going Home, Finding Peace When Pets Die" to be very comforting to me. From Jon's book...
"In my dreams, dogs don't die. In my dreams, my dogs talk to me. They speak to me of life and loss, of love and joy, of the gates through which they entered and left my life. This is comforting. And nourishing. And very real to me. My dogs touch me in ways that stick. And that does not die."
How has a dog's life touched your own?