Christmas day 2011 started out on the happy note of waking up to the wafting smell of coffee brewing. It did not last that long however as I made my way downstairs to discover that Dakota our beloved dog of fourteen and a half years was not sitting at the bottom of the stairs. He was always waiting for me when I woke up and he would greet me with his tail flapping and some form of singing dog talk. “Where is my lucky charm dog?” I asked Brian who was sitting on the rocking chair, fully dressed with coat and hat on. “I was just going to come and get you”. Dakota was missing when he had gotten up earlier and after driving around for half an hour on the way back to the house he saw a white nose sitting in the woods.

“Dakota wandered off into the woods and he won’t get up” Brian said with that calm resolve I so admire in him. “Where is he?” I demanded with the complete panic mode button switched on as I was throwing my coat and boots on over my PJs heading for the front door. Brian had already set up camp beside Dakota with a blanket, his best food biscuits and water by the time I made my way to him in the woods.

Sometimes in life you just do not need any words to explain a situation. This was one of those times. Our beloved pet; big teacher spirit dog sitting there in the woods showing us in the only way he could that time was near. I sat down beside him and told him I loved him, but how I was hoping he would reach the Guinness book of records for oldest living dog of say 45. I then burst into tears and told him that he could not leave for dog heaven yet, and that he had to come back into the house.

He did. He could barely  get up and struggled with his walking but his sheer will to please me, made his way back to his favourite blanket by the fireplace in the house.

The last six months Dakota’s aka “Fluffy”, “Smoogy”, “Mr. Big”, “Moogleberry”, overall ability to get around had been failing but his nose was cool and wet and his appetite never waned. He was always happy to see us.

That was Christmas day and Dakota left for dog heaven on January 3, 2012. We did get in a lot of wonderful conversations in that long week. New Years eve day was sunny and we lifted him into the car and took him for a drive to all his favourite spots.
That sniffer of his was on full throttle open and his head was propped up with his nose sitting on the car window ledge. We visited the lake, the park and then stopped to visit two of his dog friends that he liked from his neighbourhood walks that were out with their family. It was a good day and makes New Years Eve special forever.

In that week between Christmas and January 3rd 2012 he wandered off into the woods again for a second time and this time when we found him we told him that we understood.

Dakota died peacefully with us by his side at our home. He gave so much to us. We are touched to our core for the better.

I read a special blog posting on by Erik Fisher Ph.D on his family dog passing. A reader commented to his blog posting with the following:

“The way I look at it, theyr’e not really gone anyway. They live on in every single set of paws or pair of grinning chops I see every day. doG is Love.”

I will add to that by quoting from my memory on Morgan Freedman in that movie Shawshank Redemption.

“You have a choice”. “Either get busy Dying or get busy Living”.

“Fluffy” showed us how to live. He had no regrets. He made every single moment count. There will never be another nose like him. Love you Dakota…. you’re  a good boy.

Adele sings three beautiful songs at NPR:

How to: Not Regret Dying

Have a beautiful day,


photo: new years eve 2011


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