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Our Faithful Companion

Agile, powerfully muscular, astute, and beautiful, Lois was a dog I loved like my own and spoiled like a grandchild. She never refused my homemade treats, or when I offered her a plate of salmon or her own shepherds’ pie, much to her “parents” chagrin. In return, she was generous with kisses and ready to snuggle at any time.

A Rhodesian ridge-back/boxer mix, Lois belonged to my son, Joe, and daughter-in-law, Ashley. Joe had rescued her when she was about 8 months old, and she was loyally, intuitively connected to him ever since.

Lois was wickedly fast, lean, and strong. She was magnificent to watch tearing down Colorado snow-packed mountains alongside Joe while he snow-boarded and circling around us while we hiked those mountains in the summer.

Our entire family adored Lois. She was fiercely protective, yet gentle. She was our guardian, playmate, and faithful companion.

This special girl was as close to having a dog as I’ve ever come. For 11 years, Joe, and later, also Ashley, worked in a ski resort in Telluride, Colorado. I stayed with them a couple of times a year when I’d go there to visit, and they stayed with me in the Midwest during their off seasons. They also lived with me when they moved back home to be with my husband in his last months of life.

After they moved into their own home, Lois periodically spent days with me while her “parents” ran errands. I believe it was Joe and Ashley’s way of offering us both some company.

When I was frail with pneumonia in 2014, Lois was an attentive nurse. She stared at me while I laid on the sofa as if her intense glare could scare that illness away.

On another occasion in Colorado, she barked alarmingly as we left my son’s home to prevent us from encountering the bear that she blocked us from encountering. Lois would have given her life to protect the ones she loved.

Sadly, we recently lost Lois at about 15 years of age. The mobility that once defined her was taken from her, likely due to strokes. Now that she is on the other side of the clouds, I imagine her running through the heavens, visiting with loved ones who’ve also passed, and enjoying lavish banquets of her favorite foods, which is everything.

Joe (Joseph Cannella), an accomplished fine artist specializing in pet portraits, drew the drawing above in her honor.

The poem bellow was written by me.


Our Faithful Companion

Our faithful companion,

who else could have loved us

more perfectly,

more unconditionally,

or more completely?

No one was happier to see us,

or sadder when we left the house,

than you, our dear, sweet girl.

You snuggled next to us and gave endless kisses,

were eager to join in games of catch,

and made us laugh with your silly antics.

Wherever we were, you wanted to be,

whether watching us work in the garden

or running errands in the car.

And when we babbled on about nothing,

you tilted your head and listened intently,

as if we were quite fascinating.

All you asked for in return

was a walk,

one meal a day,

a bowl of water,

a belly rub,

and a few—or more—many more—treats.

Our four-legged friend,

thank you for the laughs and love.

Our days were sweeter, because of you.

©Mary K. Doyle

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