Saturday, December 29, 2007

Farewell to a Good Friend

Yesterday night, Friday, December 28, our dog Tova suddenly became sick, and we rushed her to the vet clinic. After a variety of tests, it was found that she had cancer and that it had spread all along her right side. There had been no previous symptoms and this was a complete shock to us.

We decided, in one of the hardest decisions we've yet had to make, that she would be put to sleep as no treatment could cure what she had. I held her while it happened, as the vet gently gave her the shots to put her to sleep, and she calmly went to rest. So ended 9 wonderful years of companionship with a very good dog.

We were lucky to have Tova. A friend of ours found her abandoned at a highway rest stop, at about 12 weeks old. She immediately bonded with us from the moment he brought her to us, knowing that we wanted a dog. Once we saw her, of course we couldn't turn her away. We named her Tova, the Hebrew word for good, and she lived up to her name.

We think she was an Alaskan Sled Dog, a mixture of Husky, Lab, Shepherd and Malamute. She certainly had a Labs' sweet disposition, with a Husky's pulling drive, and many ingrained snow dog habits -- she loved to lay out in the snow in the winter, only coming in for a treat and then demanding to be let outside again.

Of course, she wasn't against being spoiled, and as soon as she grew and decided she didn't want to be spending the night in her crate, she claimed the couch as her own, when she wasn't on the bed.

A kinder, sweeter, better-dispositioned dog is impossible to imagine. Always patient with children, Tova would let them pull on her ears, tail, nose and even stick their hands in her mouth without the slightest growl and she never, ever, bit anyone.

She also had a real smile that she would display when she was happy.

Did I mention she was also very smart?

Tova also played well with other dogs and her friends Lagniappe and Remington will miss her tugging sessions where they would play tug of war with their toys:

Tova was also great with our kids, and did not have any issues with the new additions to the family. She was very friendly with them and acted in a very protective manner - sleeping under their crib or outside their door at night.
The kids enjoyed being with her, feeding her, brushing her and walking her. Leah's first word after Mama and Dada was Dog.

Farewell, good, true and faithful companion, thank you for the time we had with you and how you lived up to your name every day. Goodbye Tova.

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