This month one of my best friends left this world. Our dog Taz, the little miracle mutt who survived a crazy emergency surgery last year, finally succumbed to old age at thirteen + years old. Up until very recently he was still chasing squirrels and had hauled ass after a fox that had shown up in the flower bed. For most of his life he was a happy, healthy mutt from the pound who we loved dearly. I sure do miss him.
For those of you who have by chance read my book, you know that my relationship with Taz was not always one of full love and mutual admiration. We survived, sometimes barely, incidences of peeing on the Christmas tree and eating the smoked salmon off the kitchen counter. It took me quite a while to fully recover from the “ate my wedding bouquet” incident.
However, I came to love and appreciate life with Taz, even the puppy mishaps and the stubborn “I’m not going out in the snow” tugs-of-war. The universe does not always offer advice and motivation through a dramatic burning bush or a spectacular show of nature’s power. Sometimes, if you really pay attention, quiet little lessons sneak into your thoughts in the most interesting ways.
Here are just a few of my favorite Taz-induced insights; let’s call them Tazisms:
1. A sad puppy face can get you out of a lot of trouble.
2. A little nap in a sunny spot is always a good solution.
3. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. We rescued Bonz the cat when Taz was eleven – he rolled with it like they had always cohabitated.
4. Almost everything tastes better with just a smidge of peanut butter.
5. No matter how old you get, you still wanna run with the pack every once in a while.
6. A cheerful little wag of your tail often gets you what you want.
7. Love unconditionally; it is contagious.
8. It’s rarely fun to be stuck in the doghouse.
9. Just because you mark your territory doesn’t mean it’s actually yours.
10. Be someone’s very best and most loyal friend.
Have you realized an “aha” moment or a fun insight from a canine (or feline; yes, I know you cat lovers are out there) best friend? I would love to hear about some of the “Tazisms” you’ve experienced.
**PS: For every comment to this post, we will donate $1 to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter Trust Fund**
**UPDATE: Thanks everyone for all the comments and well wishes. Greg and I have made a donation to the Humane Society of Fairfax County as part of their summer fund drive.
kate mayer saysJune 6, 2014 at 11:30 am
so sorry about your pooch. what a very lucky dog to have you for a family.
Kim Dalferes saysJune 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Thx Kate – we were very lucky to have him with us for 13 + yrs.
Diane saysJune 5, 2014 at 10:59 pm
So sorry about Taz, but glad he was so active up until the end!
Sadly our four legged friends cannot talk, but they sure can comminucate. As my own sweet best fur friend "Hunter" is in his golden years, I reflect quite often about just how much he has enriched my life… one never owns a dog, quite the opposite I believe. Hunter stole my heart right from the start……
Kim Dalferes saysJune 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm
Isn't it amazing how you and Hunter have learned to comunicate? I was amazed by Taz's ability to convey his moods and feelings.
Julie saysJune 5, 2014 at 5:00 am
Your story about Taz reminded me how much I love Ellie, my rescue dachsund-SharPei
, who found her forever home with us. I can't save all of the abused and abandoned pets in the world, but I can save this one. Like you, I am so happy for all of the joy our pets bring into our lives. Thanks for sharing (and bringing tears of appreciation into my eyes!).
Kim Dalferes saysJune 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm
Julie, I do think that rescuing a best friend from the shelter is always the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Trish saysJune 3, 2014 at 8:11 am
So sorry for your loss and what a beautiful way to honor and memorialize your friend. Shelter dogs are so special. I think they know they've been saved and they bring a special love to a home. So glad you found each other and he knew such love. He sure had a sweet smiley face. My version of a tazism come from my little dog Peewee. We grew up together and met when I was 18 mos and she was 4 months. I had her 15 years. Sweetest dog you could imagine. Bite? She never even growled. Till I once tried to take away a beef bone mom had given her from the soup pot. "The bone is mine till I say otherwise".
Kim Dalferes saysJune 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Peewee sounds like a terrific dog. I never heard Taz growl unless he thought a family member was in danger. And I never, ever, saw him bare his teeth.
Ned saysJune 3, 2014 at 2:19 am
Taz told me that Greg was the one that didn't like to go for the long walks…
Kim Dalferes saysJune 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm
LOL Ned, I have no problem believing you here!
Nathalie saysJune 2, 2014 at 8:07 am
I love my poochies. I can only imagine how hard this must be. It's so nice to have wriiten this tribute for him. A big hug you way! xoxo
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 9:23 am
Thx so much Nathalie – it's indeed a tough loss, but moving forward every day.
Jennifer Sanders saysMay 31, 2014 at 2:56 pm
I feel how you must be feeling this week as we lost our beloved dog at the age of 16.5 years old this week. He had a grand old life and had travelled to many places all around the world. HIs name was Celtic warrior and he will be sorely missed by all that knew him. I am sending my thoughts and love to you and your family there xxxx
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 9:30 am
Jennifer I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your trusted companion and firend. Celtic Warrior is one of the coolest names I have ever heard.
Dana saysMay 31, 2014 at 11:52 am
Kimberley so sorry about Taz, our pets are our children too! I love the insights 🙂 especially 1, 4, and 7. xo
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 9:40 am
Thx Dana, a lot of folks are gravitating to #7, my favorite too.
Marquita Herald saysMay 31, 2014 at 9:50 am
Oh my heart goes out to you for your loss Kimba. I'm a life-long dog lover so I've loved and lost a few best friends over the years and no matter how realistic you try to be about the "typical" lifespan of our 4-legged friends, it just never gets easier when they leave us.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 9:50 am
Thx Marty. I've only lost one other dog, and he died unexpectedly when I was traveling. Took a long time to get over that loss. Losing Taz was different, but just as difficult.
Bryan saysMay 30, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Sorry to hear about Taz. When Gina and I got married she came with two little fur balls (Dolly and Sydney) They were 6 lbs. Yorkies. Dolly was the lover and Sydney was the protector. One afternoon Sydney spotted a great Dane near our front yard. He was on the sidewalk but for Sydney that was to close. The poor great dane had no clue as to what to do as the 6 lb fur ball went through the front screen to yet under the great dane and bark all around his feet until he decided to move on. Sometimes it is not your bite but how fiercely you defend your turf that wins the day. It does not matter how small you really are but how big you think you are that allows you to move mountains.
Kim Dalferes saysMay 31, 2014 at 8:34 am
Bryan, I love the image of those "little fur balls" taking on such a giant adversary. I bet they are two tons of fun together!
Tans Tobias saysMay 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm
I'm so sorry for your loss. Beautiful blog. I've loved and lost many of them over the years, and think your Taz-isms fit many of mine. And I no longer put up Christmas trees. 😀
Kimba saysMay 31, 2014 at 8:35 am
He did, over the years, learn that the tree was not his little personal potty stop. Thx for stopping by.
Vitoria Castro saysMay 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm
I'm very sorry to hear that Kim. My "Layka" also left this world when I came to USA and it was such a hard time for me. I really relate to your story. It is important that we love them with all of our hearts and sure you did your part also on that 🙂 There is a time that they need to rest.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:02 am
Thx Vitoria. It's hard, but each day that I miss him I also appreciate how much joy he bourght to our family.
Twochickens saysMay 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm
Cat wisdom: humans trip easier in the morning. Water from the humans' glass is way better. I can't hear you tell me to stop clawing the couch, but I CAN hear a tuna can opening from across the house when I'm on a different floor and under the bed asleep.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:07 am
I trip over our cat EVERY morning – what is up with that?!
Maria saysMay 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm
He sounds like a sweet dog. Your "Taz-isms" go for cats, too!
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:09 am
Hi Maria – though cats are very different, I have been surprised to discover their similarities; each loves unconditionally (even if my cat isn't quiite as unconditional as Taz was!).
Famin saysMay 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm
What a lovely epitaph for Taz. My favorite of your Taz-isms is surely #7. If I were a cross-stitching type, I'd turn it into a sampler.
Sorry for your loss, Kimba. He'll be waiting for you on the Rainbow Bridge (maybe with your wedding bouquet in tow)!
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:09 am
Love, love, love the Rainbow Bridge. Thx my friend.
Terry saysMay 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm
It is a loss for sure.. your companion for many years. Sounds like a great dog despite salmon eating and errant peeing. You will miss him. lLove your sayings at the end.. esp the mark your territory quip !
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:17 am
Taz was a pistol for sure. I remember the vet saying – "Oh he'll calm down when he gets to be about seven." He was two yrs old at the time…
Phyllis M Alston saysMay 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm
I am so sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your Taz. As with any other relationship, you two had your ups and downs and periods of adjustments – but he knew and knows that you loved him and he loved you unconditionally. -Peace & Blessings!, Phyllis
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:25 am
Thx for stopping my Phyllis. I would not have traded Taz for anything – he was a great dog, even when he was up to his "tricks."
Vicki saysMay 30, 2014 at 10:58 am
My family has always considered me a "non-dog" person & were amused & amazed to see me petting or playing with Taz. He was my "grand-dog" after all & I will also miss him when I go for visits. I still laugh at the wedding bouquet story..maybe somewhere in there it brought you good luck..if nothing else..funny memories.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:26 am
Oh, I think Taz brough me luck almost every day. He was indeed a happy member of our crazy family. Maybe it's time for YOU to get a mutt Vicki! 🙂
Kathi saysMay 30, 2014 at 10:05 am
I have my own "Tazism" from when Ned and I dog sat for you guys. Communication does not always need words.
When out walking, Taz could smell which one of his friends had been to each spot recently and wagged his tail at some, nose up in the air for others… He also gave a look and simply stopped walking when he did not want to go back home yet and saw that's where you were headed.
Smart dog. We will miss him too.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:28 am
Kathi, I love that you shared a few of your Taz stories – really makes me smile. Now, if we could just get you to come around with Bonz… 🙂
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com saysMay 30, 2014 at 9:52 am
Sorry to hear your fur-baby Taz is gone. Your story reminded me a bit of our dog Chi that we rescued from an abusive family. Chi was a gorgeous blond cocker spaniel that looked just like "lady" in Lady & The Tramp–except he was a he–and he was very cranky and anti-social. We got him when he was about 18 months and it took years before he would even let me pet him. He was a uneasy member of the family for about 12 years and while he got better and slightly more affectionate through the years, when he got older he took to bitting the hand that fed him (me). To make a long story a bit shorter, when he passed away I was so surprised how much I missed that dog! Like you say, when they are part of your family it is difficult to see them go. So glad to hear you remember good "lessons" from Taz. He will stay with you longer than you realize.
Carol Cassara saysMay 30, 2014 at 9:49 am
Any dog owner would recognize themselves in this post. Blessings to you all.
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:32 am
Thx Carol. I certainly did learn a lot about life and love from Taz.
Astra saysMay 30, 2014 at 8:54 am
Awwww, sweet story! Sorry about Taz but his Tazisms will endure!
Kimba saysJune 2, 2014 at 10:31 am
Thx Astra, he was a very special mutt.