Saturday, March 1, 2014

Good-By Tanner

                                          FAREWELL TO OUR BOY TANNER

On the afternoon of February 28, 2014 my lady Jennifer, his sister and littermate Xena, and I said good-by to our yellow lab Tanner.  Tanner was nearly 14.  Dr. Jennifer Ginn and her assistant Heather from Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital came to our house to offer Tanner a peaceful departure from his back yard.  He spent his last hours in the comfort and sunshine of a sunny 60-degree Colorado afternoon gnawing on a big soup bone and receiving many a loving embrace.

                                                                                           Xena, Jenn and Tanner February 28, 2014

I first met Tanner and Xena on September 20, 2003, the night of my first date with Jennifer.   Jenn and I drove separately to a meeting place in Downtown Denver.   It was a magical night and somewhere in the mix of it all I knew that Jennifer was my ONE.  Sometimes I guess it does just happen like that.  For reasons that are the subject of another story I drove Jennifer home.  Tanner and Xena had their quarters in a spare bedroom in Jennifer’s charming “Pottery Barn” home near Denver University.  While Jenn was gone they managed to lock themselves in the room.  I used a screwdriver to spring the lock.  Two three-year old labs bounded through the door and into my chest in a flash.  The four of us have been together ever since.

Tanner had a unique ability to positively impact his world by trading a little mischief (OK a lot of mischief) abandon, warmth, and doggie charm for the lifestyle he coveted.  It was a one-sided trade when I tally up all the delight he created over a long but still too brief life.  I write as a means of personal therapy.  I share as a form of tribute to T-Man. The lessons he taught me:

1)   There is supreme joy in the routines of a loving home
2)   You are welcome in any gathering if you generate smiles and laughter
3)   When you go to bed with a light heart you have sweet dreams
4)   Don’t be afraid to be audacious in public – people love a good story – be the story
5)   There is no risk of taking your loved ones for granted if you consistently slobber them with affection
6)   Let someone scratch your head if it makes them feel good
7)   If you chase a squirrel away -  you have one less friend in the backyard – chat him up instead
8)   Play hard every chance you get – one day it will be too hard
9)   Don’t learn any tricks for others you don’t enjoy doing for yourself
10)  Show the same spirit in bad times as you do in good times – it gives strength to those who love you

The best measure of a life is the memories you leave to those who care about you.  Tanner has blessed us with many memories that will carry us past the sorrow of his loss.  My favorite Tanner memory was from the summer of 2010.  He was ten years old and slowing down quite a bit.  Jenn, Xena, Tanner, two of Jenn’s girlfriends and I were hiking on a beautiful trail in Crested Butte, Colorado.  We got caught in a rainstorm and were getting soaked getting back to the vehicles.  Tanner and Xena were off leash racing back and forth across a mountain stream.  I caught a glimpse of him through the rain with his tail wagging, tongue hanging out, spirit soaring…………………………………..