Thursday, December 18, 2014


A Story Of Hunter...More Than Just A Pet

In one of my last posts I spoke about several unique dogs and their loyalty and dedication to their owners.  But....let's cut to the chase here.  It's more than that. It's a two way street in most cases.  And well it should be. 

If you didn't read my previous story, let's rewind to the end where Dr. Bonne Doron was relating the death of her Golden Retriever, Hunter.  Her words, spoken with such love and candor were directed to the volunteers of the Iowa Golden Retriever Rescue. 

"I just wanted to let you know that Hunter had to be put to sleep last week. He was failing badly: couldn't walk or stand without wobbling, coughing, etc.  At 12 1/2, he was entering the final parts of his life.  The vet and I had pulled him away from the brink several times, but he was really suffering recently".

"I wanted you to know how much having Hunter in my life meant to me. Admittedly, I am a cat person, so Hunter and I always had issues.  They eventually lessened as he wove his way into my life and heart. 

"He was a therapy dog at the homeless shelter where he was read to by the kids once a month.  They too LOVED him.  One time we were going down to the community building when a young boy was coming towards us, followed by an adult who was offering up discipline.  You could tell the boy was really upset.  I called out to him, "Hunter is coming to see you."  The boy hugged Hunter tightly and smiled.  Hunter had that effect on people.  He welcomed them with a bump to the leg (he knew I would pet him if he put his head on my leg).  No matter where he went or who was there, Hunter made them feel comfortable and welcomed.

He was my companion through the hard times.  Always he stayed near me (which could be annoying as he followed me from room to room until I settled down . . . he made sure he was nearby).  He traveled with me in the car sitting tall in the back seat to catch the wind in his face.

And he loved camping and would whine until I let him run to the camper.  In reality, he taught my friend's granddaughter who often camped with us to learn to not be afraid of big dogs.  It took a summer trip or two, but she finally would walk the park with him on his leash and asked about him often.  The young kids who live next door would run to the fence and ask their parents to lift them over so they could throw sticks for Hunter to retrieve and chew up.  All of these friends will be sad to know Hunter will not be there again for them".

But I found a great book I will be reading to them about a land where an animal goes after it dies.  Within those pages are words that capture an  animals' specialness to us and even though it is fantasy, it helps with the healing.  I will miss my boy like no other animal I've ever had.  Thank you for letting me share such a special life".

Dr. Bonne Doron

How does one summarize the life of a family pet?   More of Bonne's words: 

I will try to keep this scenario short and sweet.  First,  Hunter was not a pet. He was the center of my family life and loved by many outside our circle.  In fact, he never met a human he didn’t like and want to be next to every minute of every hour of every day. He followed me from room to room and when outside, searched the window for my shadow for hours, with beseeching eyes. 

He loved my son most. I allowed him to take care of Hunter while I was visiting him in Texas one year. Because Hunter loved playing catch with a Frisbee and my son loved Frisbee golf, the two of them would play in the green areas until after dark. Once the Frisbee drifted into a nearby creek, complete with moccasins and who know what else. However, Hunter didn’t consider any of that...but bounded into the water with abandon and recovered the Frisbee in record time. My son was amazed as a drowned-looking dog lifted the prize up to him with pride of “a job well done.”

The groomers were especially happy to see Hunter because he never refused their washing, blow drying, and brushing but he was always the cooperative, willing client.   I always got the report that he was such a “good dog”.  Even for his regular anal gland cleaning at the vets, I could see his tolerant, yet reluctant, eyes patiently waiting until the humans were done when he would jump down from the huge sink, with a wide, long-tongued smile that it “was finally over.” And he forgave them in an instant.  Every time.

There was one little girl who was deathly afraid of dogs.  She was the granddaughter of a friend of mine who camps with me. She was scared of the “gentle giant” and would squeal with fearful surprise at his size and hugeness compared to her little 6 year old stature.  She would give him a lot of distance around the campfire with hand held high to avoid his touch....until he gave her time to learn of his sweetness. At our last camp out, she walked him on the leash by herself, let him insist on a pet from her with a nudge, and played “retrieve” with a ball, Frisbee, or fall leaves. He taught her so much in a few short years. 

Hunter in dress-up mode
Even with other animals, Hunter showed his loving ways. With five cats in the home, he thought at first that they were there for his personal play time. With some instruction, “NO CATS,” or “That’s GOOD cat,” Hunter realized they were part of the family although mostly for his healthy snoot full of their back ends but they were fine with that. Especially my fearful Starr, a black beauty who feared all other humans and outside noises which meant hiding for hours long after the danger passed. However, she absolutely loved her doggy buddy, crying for him to pay attention to her.  If that didn’t work, she wove herself around his legs and looked longingly into his jaw, waiting for a sniff. She still looks for him to come round the corner.
What Hunter did for me is difficult to explain. He taught me much about myself that needed improvement, But....he loved me in spite of those "learning moments".   He return after a scolding or a particularly difficult bath time with that smile and wag of his sweeping tail. “Am I forgiven?” he whined.  To which I answered, “It’s the other way around, buddy.   Do you forgive me?” “No problem,” he grinned as he waited for his treats. 

He also brought the best out in me as I learned patience and calmness in crisis, most of the time. When he mischievously ate cat litter (“Really they are treats, you know,”) or chewed on my new slippers, his eyes would plead for me to look the other way or he would slowly drop his treasure and pick up his green monkey as a substitute. “I’ll be good. Really, I will. Actually until you look away!” 

Hunter was my protector when I camped.  He was always the first one to the camper   driving companion with the windows open for breathing in the fresh air..... my walking buddy bounding ahead or sniffing out everything along the trail......and most importantly, my friend to hug and cry with.  His looks often exhibited, "I am so sorry! What can I do?”  when times were tough.  AAAHHHH, for the memories. 

Those are images that will never be replaced.  Are they unique?  To Bonne they most likely are.  And for many others, probably not because it's all too relatable.  We've been there.  Done that.  Lived that and LOVED that.  Because each dog, has it's own treasure, waiting to be unleashed.  But wait.  There's more to come....

Check back soon.  When the Story of Hunter, Continues.



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