Today we said good bye to a dear friend and partner. Over 13 years ago, Aryan v O'Meara/Sengpiel joined our household as an impish blur of brown and white. She amused herself by torturing Tom's elder statesman Labrador, Arlie, and was Tom's introduction to pointing dogs. She came from an illustrious heritage, with a pedigree far more impressive than either Tom or I. Her sire, Jeiko v Jakobsbrunnen was the first Small Munsterlander to earn a UT Prize 1 and go to the NAVHDA Invitational Championship (1996) ; Aryan became the second (1998). Later, her brother Andreas (Hans) was the first Small Munsterlander to earn his Versatile Champion title at the Invitational.
Tom said " I owe her so much and I miss her. She overlooked my shortcomings and forgave my handling errors. This morning the spark in her eyes was gone and I had to let her go."
Aryan turned 13 in September. She was the last remaining puppy from her litter, but lived long enough herself to see her grand-puppies this summer. She was still hunting with Tom at age 11. This past summer, I took Aryan, Arec and her C litter daughter, Confetti, out for a run together and lost Aryan in the pond for over half an hour, chasing ducks! She was not too old to remember the scent of duck and to pursue it with all she had.
Today, when it was apparent she was asking us for respite from the tumor that pressed against her heart and lungs and made it difficult for her to breathe, Tom held her in his arms and said good bye. Why must that gift be the hardest one to give? But yet, it was the kindest response for all that she had given us. No more suffering, and in my mind I see her greeted by Arlie, Eros, Sofie, Kilo and Mitsubishi, all running free and healthy, waiting for us across the Rainbow Bridge.
Making these farewells is a difficult task. There is little heed given to mourning the loss of a dog. There is still work to attend to, meetings to make, other dogs to feed and train. We have no public sharing of grief with pretty slide shows of their lives and aside from a honorable mention, are expected to move on. We have known them longer than many people we call our friends today, shared our most private moments and left wet trails of tears in their fur with many disappointments and losses.
Tomorrow morning, there will be an empty kennel and a gigantic hole in our hearts.
Good bye, Dear Aryan. We love you so.