Tamra taught me everything I know about dogs. She was an amazing being who lived and loved life to its fullest. We had 11 wonderful years together. She was a champion in my eyes in all that she did. We trained together with love, compassion and respect. She was mischievous, clever, and tenderhearted. The challenges she brought to my life made me a better trainer and a better person.
Click here for her story in video- "Tamra" Sunshine's Grateful Red
A very rocky road led Tamra to me. It took her four years and two families to find her forever home with us. Tamra wanted a person to call her own and she found that in me. We became a Delta Society Pet Partner Team and started a Reading Education Assistance Dog program at a local grade school. We competed in AKC and UKC Obedience and even earned a few blue ribbons in novice and open. At the ripe old age of 15, Tamra and I even began to train in K9 Nose Work.
Tamra was my constant companion. For 11 years, she followed me from room to room, never allowing me too far out of sight. When I left, she would stand at the front door as my car pulled away. When I returned home, she was there again, barking before my car even turned into the driveway. She would always greet me with a "big hello", even if I had only gone out to get the mail.
She was a true classic beauty. In her younger years, her coat was almost burgundy. As she aged, her coat turned a lighter red. Once someone asked me, "Would you be insulted if I told you that you and your dog look alike?" I said, "She might be insulted, but I take it as a compliment".
Tamra enjoyed riding in the car, swimming in Trillium Lake at Mt. Hood, snow shoeing with her family, running on the beach, and hiking in the forest. But mostly, Tamra enjoyed being with her family. I often would joke that I had taught my dog "Stranger Danger". Tamra could not be enticed to get more than 10 feet from me even with a tasty treat. She would never go on a walk with anyone but my husband or me. She wasn't shy, timid or fearful of people in the least. She just did not want to leave her forever family. We were hers and she was ours. She was going to make sure no one took her away from us.
Tamra was loved much by her family, but our love paled in comparison to the love that she gave us. I miss the sound of her footsteps on the hardwood floors. When I leave the room, my heart aches to hear her jump off the bed to follow me. I think of her every time I return home and she's not at the door waiting for me.
I was blessed to have her in my life for 11 wonderful years and even though I know how much it would hurt in the end, I would do it all over again. She was my soul dog. I know in my heart that love is too powerful of an emotion to just end when the body fails. Someday, we will find each other again and I'll get that big hello that I've missed so much.
If you know of someone who's lost a beloved friend, "Best Friends for Ever" is a wonderful little booklet written and illustrated by one of my students, Sylvia. Envelope is included to send like a sympathy card. http://www.etsy.com/listing/56242077/best-friends-forever
A booklet that captures the joy of living with a dog. Perfect for a puppy shower or any new pet owner. Comes with an envelope. http://www.etsy.com/listing/35313774/how-to-have-a-happy-home?ref=pr_shop