First of all, condolences for your loss. I think every pet owner has that one perfect pet. No matter how many may come before or after, there’s the one that has a bigger place in our hearts. For me, that’s Taz. He was a German Shepard/Chow mix. As a puppy, he looked just like a fuzzy little Chow but grew to more resemble a German Shepard. He kept the black spots on his tongue, though.

Now, there’s nothing paranormal about this story unless my theory is correct – that he was an alien sent here in dog form to study humanity. Taz was the smartest dog I ever met and his amber colored eyes the most expressive I ever saw – and that includes humans! He was house-trained on a weekend and I’m pretty sure he was leash trained at birth.

While married, my now ex-husband and I adopted him as a puppy from a shelter while we lived in North Carolina. He was small enough to fit on Ken’s lap under his truck steering wheel, but grew to 85 pounds as an adult. He was sensitive and afraid of loud noises. Not only fireworks and thunderstorms, but Ken’s shoot ‘em up video games as well. We already had a Pomeranian, who I loved as well, and even though Taz ended up outweighing her by a lot, she was always the boss. They moved with us to Washington where they were eventually joined by an awesome cat.

After Ken and I broke up, I took the animals. At the time this area wasn’t as pet-friendly as it is now and I had a hard time finding an apartment that would allow 3 pets – particularly an 85 pound German Shepherd/Chow. The place I settled on was fine, but Taz was not one for change and he missed his dad who was still in our house. I almost had to give him back to Ken because he was miserable and misbehaved – he literally ate a wall. Tore the drywall right off…. I don’t know what changed, but suddenly he was back to being his fantastic self. Ken didn’t deserve to get him back anyway and Taz probably knew that.

He became afraid of other animals – not his, but all the rest of them. We were out for a walk and he got attacked and rolled by another dog in the complex. No injuries except maybe to his pride. He was a lover not a fighter. Honestly, the most gentle giant ever. But I have no doubt if someone had messed with me, Taz would not have hesitated to rip out a throat if necessary. He certainly could look imposing when he wanted to.

He avoided most other animals after the attack. I saw him shy away from a neighbor’s Guinea Pig, but for some reason had an affinity for the horse and the alpaca that lived on one of our walking routes. And speaking of walking, he knew the difference between the morning before work walk, the after work walk, the weekends… He always picked the right route knowing how much time we had.

One of his favorite things was to sit outside and observe the world around him, but he never liked the deck at our new apartment. It was big and he had plenty of room, but didn’t like hanging out on it like the deck at the house. It occurred to me one day the awning had aluminum lining which was probably blocking his communication with the mothership.

He was a favorite at the vet, where I would also board him (and the Pomeranian) when I would have to travel. Once it was just him, they would let him have his run of the place. He would check on the other animals, come to the reception desk to make sure they were okay. They told me he made the same rounds every day at the same times.

Eventually he succumbed to bladder cancer and hip dysplasia. It was the right thing to do when I let him go, but the hardest thing. It’s been something like 15 years and I still miss that dog and sometimes still feel him around. I know he lived his best life and I took good care of him. I’m sure Jake feels the same way about his life and his people.

I don’t know if any of this is show-worthy, but I woke up at 4am this morning with it practically written in my head, so it wanted to at least come out. I have one remaining picture of Taz (stupid vengeful ex-husband) which I have attached. And apologies for all my rambling.

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