When I first met Lady it was beneath the yelping slobber of her hot, young, golden retriever breath. Lady was the requisite dog for my on-again, off-again girlfriend from high school. The same girlfriend who would one day go on to become my wife.
If first impressions are everything than this dog made a strong impression on me. For the most part this dog and I did not get along. I’d go on to learn that Lady was someone my girlfriend was deathly allergic to and someone I had to avoid.
There is also a thing about dog owners; they love the slobber, the hair, the energy and the love they get from their dogs. Then there are those who’d just rather not be bothered, who find the slobber offensive, who think walking a dog really is a shift of the balance of power for the human animal relationship. I happen to fall in the latter category.
Still, Lady brought a certain comfort to my brother in law and mother in law which was a guiding force during troubled hours. Lady brought her own brand of loving scolds almost daily and Lady was always there to cuddle up with any who would cuddle back.
The last years for Lady had been tough. My in laws moved into a split level and Lady had to remain largely on the ground floor. Lady was not well in her later days. My wife and I just learned this Thanksgiving morning that Lady was put to sleep this week.
I am thankful for a lot; the love and community my in-laws have shown me by their welcoming me into their family and extended family is comforting as my immediate family is splintered. I am also thankful for the comfort Lady brought my new family. As much as I was not all that taken with Lady, the golden retrievers impact on those who loved her was palpable.
I hope that Lady is in a better place now.