Shasta Cove Dogs
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Hank....

Hank died in the end of July.
He was 15 years old and had been ill for some months, so it was not a surprise.
We knew he was ready, it was his time to go, and yet it was a very difficult decision.
Hank made it easier on us, leaving quickly and quietly, as was his way.
He always saw what needed to be done and simply got on with the doing of it.
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Dying was no different for him.

Hank was the third of our pups to die in the last few months, Tux & Jasper went before him.
I feel as if I have been holding my breath, knowing Hank's death would come
and wondering how we would all get through another loss.
And here we are. Getting through. Slowly, sadly. Together. 

Hank's passing has another level of grief accompanying it:
he was one of my Dad's beloved companions in the last years of his life. 
I have been convinced that the fullness of Dad's last years, 
his ability to have a loving and generous life beyond the loss of my Mom, 
was due in large part to the deep companionship he shared with his beloved dogs. 
As with all the pups, Hank's ability to give and receive love 
kept my Dad's heart open and flowing.
It is this connection we are also grieving,
a living link to Dad has left us. We must find our own way to both of them now.

Of all the dogs on the cove, Hank had one of the biggest followings.
The connection to my Dad was part of the reason for that.
After Dad's death he became the embodiment of the love and wisdom we shared with Dad.
And the acceptance we received from him.
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Hank came to Dad an anxious and distrustful pup.
With gentle, shared loving his anxiety and fear went away
and the wise old man of the cove emerged.
Hank would quietly contemplate everything.
He was the observer, carefully letting us know what was really going on. 
When we could quiet ourselves and listen, Hank had much to say.
His fierce distrust of everybody except Dad
became an incredible acceptance of (almost) everyone.
He treated all his people as if they were as special as he was.
Which, of course, in his presence we all were given the chance to become.
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In the last few days of his life Hank would go out and wander his 3 acre, fenced enclave.
He would be out there for hours, sitting, sniffing, even running, digging, watching, 
taking it all in, as if he intended
to leave part of himself here and take a part of this with him. 
I would sit out there and watch him
as he came out from under brush, covered in pollen and dust, 
looking so happy and young again, pleased with himself and this doglife.
He would catch my eye and just stare at me as he walked my way and
I could almost hear him say "It's all good, Peg, it's all Life".

I will find that place again. Soon. But I am not there yet.
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Dad with
Hank, Lucky, Rusty & Tux,  2000




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There are love dogs no one knows the name of.  Give your life to be one of them. - Rumi