As a sophomore in college, I was in the midst of thinking what was I going to do post-graduation. I had two ideas: Peace Corps or a dog. On a whim, I stopped by the local animal shelter and fell in love with an out of control black lab named Juneau. I had wanted a dog and chickens for as long as I could remember. However, my mom is neither a dog or a chicken person. After having both dogs and ducks, I very much understand why my mother was not going to get the 10-year-old me either.
Juneau was a little over a year old when I took her home and both of us required lots of training. She was there next to me throughout my 20s and early 30s, a fixture in my daily life while I was her entire life.
Together we’ve hiked mountains and hills across Alaska.
She eagerly endured the car trip to DC and then back to Alaska. Always up for a car ride and an adventure.
We learned about ticks together as we explored the East Coast.
She was there when I received my undergraduate degree, my masters, and my first job. I sobbed into her fur after many break-ups. She accepted my husband as one of the pack when she realized he was here to stay. She was with us when we got married and thoroughly enjoyed her mishap with nacho cheese that night.
She has had her toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
She wanted to be everyone’s friend, and most everyone wanted to her friend.
She tolerated dress-up and endless photo-ops.
She was always up for an adventure even at the end when her body was no longer on board. She still gave life everything she had. She did everything with overwhelming enthusiasm. Two traits I want to emulate.
Friday we had to say good-bye to my best friend. As much as I would have wanted her to live forever, I couldn’t allow her to live in pain for me. After 14 years of non-stop adventure, she was ready to go even if I wasn’t ready. She was everything I imagined my first dog would be, I simply wish she could of lived forever.