Patsy never knew a stranger, and while all the other dogs at the dog park were busy sniffing each other, Patsy would be making the rounds among the humans to see who would return her affections, then move on to someone new. She especially liked the elderly and little children, and much to the concern of young mothers, would make a bee line to see who was sitting in any stroller. She was very good as our son was growing up, never once showing anything other than total tolerance to being pulled at and climbed on. Late in her life she became a therapy dog for kids struggling to read. While they plodded through vowels and consonants, she would sit patiently at their feet listening without judgement.
Patsy was a love sponge and wanted nothing more than to be petted, unless of course you could roll around on the floor with her in a human vs. canine wrestling match. When she was very happy she purred like a feline (perhaps because she was left alone with that mean old cat). As good as she was with humans, dogs and cats - she was ruthless with small furry or feathered things. Diana the Huntress managed to catch birds on the wing, a possum in the back yard, muskrats, and let's not forget squirrels, for as any hound can tell you, once you have had your mouth on squirrel butt you are a changed dog.
Always up for adventure, camping, a walk or any trip involving the car, she was a great companion and travelled well. Today she took her last ride and even got to sit up front, looking more at ease then she had in months. It has been difficult to watch her slow decline and even more difficult to know when it was time to let her go. Before leaving for the vet today I was full of second guesses and trepidation, but as the radio came on in the car the first words I heard were:
Glory be to God for dappled things-
This is the first line from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins titled Pied Beauty. It was being read on a show about poetry on NPR. I was unable to listen to the rest of the poem, being incapable of moving beyond that first line, but knowing that we had made the right decision to let her go.
It is said a dog's year equals 7 of ours, but for me, my life is measured out in dog's years.