Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sierra, Molly, and Rojo...

Click on photo to enlarge - Photo by Bill La Haye - December 2006

Pictured, left to right, are Sierra, Molly, and Rojo, the faithful companions of our friends Bill and Kathy.

These dogs also inhabit the hearts and lives of Peggy and I, and our four-legged friend, Dallas.

Rojo and Sierra are seasoned veterans of many years of Spotted Owl surveys here in the San Bernardino & San Jacinto Mountains, having hiked much of the terrain between Wrightwood and Mount San Jacinto with Bill many times over.

And sadly, as Peggy, Dallas and I were taking in the beautiful Big Bear sunrise yesterday morning, another sweet sun was setting.

Sierra had to be put down because of bone cancer, she was 12 years and 9 months old.

She will be sorely missed by her constant companions, Rojo and Molly, and her loving owners, Bill and Kathy...

...and by her friends here at Earth Home Garden too.

Below are some reflections from Bill about his companion of nearly 13 years.

"Sierra was a funny dog. Only six to eight weeks old when we bought her from North Shore Animal Clinic (now VCA), in July of 1994, she was extremely independent right from the start.

As a puppy, she had no problem sleeping outside by herself that very first night we brought her home. Yet, she was really afraid of the world (looking at the big picture) for most of her life. Routine was her salvation. Of course, having to constantly comfort her and bring her out into the real world only tugged at my heart strings more and more everyday throughout her life.

Thus, while she could be incredibly independent, she was also my baby girl who needed special love and attention on a regular basis. She was also a loving dog, but she had to fight herself to come to you to asking to be petted. Most of the time I had to go to her, or make her come to me, so I could give her the physical affection she craved and needed. The only time she could bring herself to break out of this emotional handicap was when another dog came to me to be petted. Then she would show up front and center and sometimes growl or nip at the offender that invaded her special space.

The funniest story about Sierra that I can remember, right off the top of my head, was when she was about one year old. Her and Rojo were running like the devil, rough-housing on our normal, daily dog walk. Somehow, Sierra lost track of important objects, like trees, and ran full-bore into one, because she was distracted by Rojo. Of course, it was a personal and emotional crisis (not to mention physical) for her at that point. So, she came running over to me and I had to comfort and soothe her while sitting down on the ground with her cuddling for several minutes until her whimpering subsided and she could once again cope with real life and we could complete our walk.

Sierra was a great dog that I took everywhere, that never needed to be on a leash, and rarely got into trouble because she based her behavior by cuing off me. On my 1,000s of owling hikes, I rarely even spoke to her. She new the routine, got out of the truck, went owling, laid down whenever owls were around, hiked back to the truck and hopped in without a single command from me.

She was like a satellite appendage, which worked on trust and love.

You can't describe this to other people adequately. It's one of those things that you appreciate tremendously. Yet, its like breathing. You don't have to think about it, it just is. And, it is truly amazing and special. If you have never experienced it, you don't know what you are missing. Needless to say, I sure know what I'm missing now and it's a very sad time for me."

Bill La Haye


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Blogger Tim Hodgens said...

Sorry for your loss. Do you have a funny story about Sierra?

10:19 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Tim-

Just as your comment came in I was adding some thoughts about Sierra from her owner.
Thanks for asking...

10:41 AM  
Blogger Jacki said...

Condolences for your loss; losing a dog is so incredibly hard!

3:11 PM  
Blogger David Edward said...

this makes me miss my dog, again.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A wonderful tribute for a wonderful friend. Peace.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a wonderful tribute to Sierra. I love my companion animals so much and they bring so much peace and joy. I had to help one of my five "fur people" take his journey to the Other Side in November. I miss him so much, so I understand your loss. Perhaps my Thor and your Sierra will meet up!
Peace Be to You - Kathy in Kentucky

9:51 PM  
Blogger Tree said...

Such soulful eyes...
Not sure what I'd do without my Sheltie, Kenyon.

6:23 AM  

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