For as long as I can remember, it’s been a standing order for me to have a dog, and while I didn’t actually get my wish until I was twenty, when I did find him, I hit the lottery. Owning a dog is a privilege. They bring you joy and they bring you tears, and while I’ve had 13 years of joy with undoubtedly the greatest dog on the planet, Tag, it is the difficult decision I’ve recently made that has brought me to tears.
As many of you may remember from a previous blog post, Tag became ill with heart failure at the beginning of 2014. To say he is a champ is an understatement. Nothing shy of the strongest willed dog in the world, he has continued to be the happy, charming dog he’s always been; just a little slower, and a little calmer. However, he is now but a shadow of the dog he used to be, and while he remains fierce in his fight, I have decided that it’s now time for me to be strong for him.
As I sit here with my tears and sorrows, all I can think of is writing to him. So that’s what I am doing – writing down the words I hope he’ll somewhat miraculously hear and understand, so here is my heartfelt letter to undeniably the greatest dog to ever live.
Oh Sir Tag Willigurs the 3rd, lover of green beans, car rides, hikes, eating corn on the cob like a person, and chasing squirrels… where do I begin? I’ll start by telling you that I practically bugged Mom for a dog as soon as I could talk. I was also that kid that would tie a string around the necks of my dog toys because I didn’t actually have the real deal, so I had to use my imagination. Basically, the closest I ever got to owning a dog was in my dreams.
I always thought about how great it would be, but I never imagined a dog to be as amazing as you’ve been. My very first memory of you, is of you curled up in a little ball like a fox looking up at me with your big brown eyes at the shelter. I knew right in that moment that you were the pup I’d been waiting for, but the truth is, you picked me. You waited for me every day after that for me to come visit you because you knew you’d found your forever home.
Always full of life, you were wild in the beginning, but always super intelligent. We quickly learned how smart you really were as you looked at us as if you understood every single word that rolled off our lips. For such an intelligent dog, you also had your moments. One of my favourite memories of you is when you dove head first, straight into Ty’s car window after a summer of teaching you to jump into the car. You couldn’t help it, you were always so excited to see him, and while Ty will never forget the look on your face, I will never forget seeing your back legs try to put the brakes on after you realized what a bad decision you had made. Being the lover of life that you were, you still loved jumping into the car anyway.
There was also that time you ate a pound of mini eggs and sent us all into a tizzy. While the vet told us to give you peroxide to try and get you to vomit, you were calm, cool, and collected. You happily drank it like it was a fizzy treat, and when we took you outside for a walk to get you to expel that chocolate from your system, you trotted and pranced around like it was the greatest day of your life.
Your love of camping is another one of my favourite memories of you. There was the time Ty and I tried to feed you frozen salad while you looked at us like we were batshit crazy, and rightfully so; we were. I’m sorry I’m not sorry, but just so you know, I’ve made a note not to do this to future dogs. There were also all those times you snuck out of the tent to go on bear patrol, the countless times you stuck your nose in holes you probably shouldn’t have, and the limitless love you had for hiking. You often reminded us of the littlest hobo, so all those times you heard us singing, that was what we were singing to you. I will also never forget the time you tried to be a superhero and catch a snake. You always were the most daring and adventurous dog which is one of the things I love most about you.
Then there’s your love of ice cream. My lord. Whenever we got you this special treat, you sure knew how to make the best of it. With your eyes as big as saucers, I remember the time you ate the entire cone in one swift bite so as not to savour it at all. You never were one to waste your time. A true lover of life and living in the moment, there was never a need for you to waste a second because the best second was the one you were in. I’m also fairly certain that chipmunks and squirrels everywhere are rejoicing that you are unable to chase them, and to be honest, I am scared for all of the ones you are chasing in heaven right now. Godspeed buddy, try not to catch them all at once, but treat yo self!
As many great memories as I have of you, I think the thing I wish to tell you most is that you have taught me some of the most important things to live this gift we call life. You have reminded me that the best moment to live in is the present, and to always be true to myself. You taught me to seize the day by rising with the sun, and to enjoy the simple things. You inspired me to be a better person, but the most important thing you taught me was to always find happiness in everyday. There isn’t a day that has passed that I haven’t seen you wag your tail. You have this way about you, a charm like no other. You never judged a soul, were able to make the angriest person smile, and no matter where you went, you had the ability to make everyone instantly fall in love with you. Your happiness was your gift to this world, and I am so grateful to have been a part of something so special. It is a gift that you have given me to keep on giving.
So as I write this to you with nothing but all the love in my heart, I just want you to know how thankful I am for this beautiful adventure we have taken together. Thank you for all the kisses, all the cuddles, all the laughs, and all of the adventures big and small. I know I have said it about a bajillion times, and that you know this, but you truly and genuinely are the most spectacular dog that has ever lived. I love you with my whole heart and am the luckiest girl to have owned you.
Love the girl who has always dreamed of you and always will,