February 27, 2009

A Tribute To Taz

Last week I said good-bye to the sweetest soul I've ever known. My heart is aching and there is an emptiness that nothing or no one else will ever be able to fill.

Taz came into our lives over 13 years ago in the form of a little ball of fluff. We lived in Colorado and already had one Pembroke Welsh Corgi, but wanted another. We made the 1 hour drive to a very reputable breeder in Denver and went in to see what she had available. Of course, I had my eye on the $1000 plus show prospect puppy. But my husband, Michael was looking in another kennel on the other side of the room.

"Those are pet quality puppies" The breeder explained. "That one is a fluffy"

I've owned, bred and showed dogs for over 25 years, but I didn't know what a "fluffy" corgi was. Evidently, they are considered genetically defective. They are perfectly wonderful and healthy, but the long hair does not meet the breed standard for corgis, so they cannot be shown in the conformation ring or bred. Evidently, many fine show dogs will "throw" the fluff gene occasionally. When they do, this is what you get.

Taz was a holy terror around the house. Running and barking in this tiny little voice at Mindy our older corgi, who had decided that her "new little brother" was no bargain!

Soon, it became very apparant that Taz was very special. His intelligence was superior and his endurance made Mindy look like an old dog! As our "pack" increased through the years, we added Bailey, Abbey, Pebbles and Cody. Through it all, Taz remained ever faithful and steadfast. He was not an "alpha" by any stretch, so he would wait until all the other dogs had eaten or had water to take his turn. His sweet disposition made him a favorite with everyone who met him, and he became my husband's "little buddy".

Walking the corgis was always entertaining. No matter how far we would walk, Taz would circle the others and herd them. Corgis are by nature herding dogs, and Taz had a natural gift of it. Whether it was the other dogs, children or us, he could always be found bringing up the rear and making sure everyone kept moving forward. He was always prancing at the end of the walk when the other dogs had long since lost their energy and had tongues hanging out.

As he got older, Taz would take his post at the top of a hill or on the porch keeping watch over his "domain".

He was always the clown, singing for his dinner every night with a sort of howl that was distinctly his when Michael would sing the "Dinner time Song".

Then one day, Taz stopped singing. He was sleeping a lot and other than getting up to go outside, he spent his days on the kitchen floor under our table, close to Michael's seat. I keep all the dogs healthy with natural, organic food and glycerites when they have a problem, so we took Taz to the vet to see what was the matter. They told us he had diabetes. His glucose levels were over 600 and we could not get them stabalized. Taz stopped eating, slept most of the days and did not have the same "happy man" expression we had come to know and appreciate so much over the last 13 years.

We tried giving him insulin shots in a desperate attempt to save him, but we finally realized it was time for us to let him go. He was suffering and this was no quality of life for him. I left the decision to Michael since Taz had long ago become "his little buddy". It took a couple of days, but he finally decided it was most humane to let Taz go. We took him to the Vet and held him while they gave him the shot that would put him to sleep. I bent down and stroked his soft fur and whispered, "It's OK, Taz. Run to the bridge."

I let go of the sweetest soul I've ever know. I can't ever remember Taz misbehaving. He was always sweet, even though the other dogs picked on him. I never saw him bare his teeth or even growl or snap at anyone. He was, as most animals are, the perfect example of God's unconditional love.

No one will ever replace Taz in our lives or our hearts. We will bury his ashes up on "Mindy's Hill" in the Spring where Mindy and Abbey are. He was the kindest and sweetest of all the Corgis and we will miss him for a long time. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear that happy bark of his as he ran through the woods behind Michael and the other dogs, making sure everyone was accounted for and in their place. Good-bye, dear, sweet Taz.