|Bob looks out over the estuary|
On Thursday night, kind, gentle Bob passed away from a sudden heart attack at his home. Those of us who hiked with him are in shock, and our hearts weep for Bonnie and wolfhounds Drayann and Keegan.
I first met Bob in 2007, before I even made the move to Crofton. I had come to meet Caleb, the pitti cross I was to adopt from the Cowichan SPCA. During my three-day stay, I was invited to take Caleb and my collie Charley for a hike to Swallowfield with the Wednesday Walking Group - a group of dog-loving friends who took the dogs out for a hike together every Wednesday afternoon. Bob, Bonnie and their wolfhounds were part of that group. I liked them immediately.
From early 2009, in the months before moving here permanently, I frequently travelled over here to check on the status of the work on my newly-purchased house and invariably joined the group on their walks. And for the next year or two, I walked with them weekly. And got to know Bob, the only male (human male, that is) in a group of about 5-7 women and up to 16 or 17 dogs.
|Heading out - women, dogs, and Bob.|
|Bob and Bonnie and dogs|
on Swallowfield estuary
Bob had an quiet, easy manner that immediately put me, the newcomer, at ease. He had a ready smile that spread to his eyes, and a gentle way with all the dogs. He shared tidbits of knowledge with me constantly - especially of the nature around us - and introduced me to wild onions, sweet tiny yellow plums, grapes growing along an old abandoned foundation of a wall, apple-pear trees growing wild on the estuary.
|Bob offers me a handful of sweet yellow plums|
gone wild on the trails at Swallowfield
But whenever I think of Bob, I shall remember most of all the first time we took my dog Sadie to Swallowfield. She was trotting down the path with the other dogs, ahead of the humans as we strolled along. As we crested the final hill before the river, the dogs raced to the water. Most were swimmers and divers - but not my Sadie. And, unfortunately, she didn't realize there was a slippery bank overhanging the river straight ahead. While the other dogs swerved to the left to dive in at their usual spot, Sadie tumbled over the bank right into the wet, wet, wet stuff two or three feet below. Instantly, Bob was lying flat on the ground, arms deep in water, hauling out my seventy pound, wet, hairy, panicky collie cross.
|Ah almost dwowned! Bob saved me!|
Bob and Bonnie had three wolfhounds on that hike - two of them, Blue and Mara, have since passed away. I know they bounded forth, along with other dogs who shared Bob and Bonnie's lives, to meet Bob as he reached the Rainbow Bridge. And I'm just as sure that loping along behind, with her characteristic waving of her ruff and tail, was my Sadie, eager to greet her friend and ready to help guide him to the other side.
The world has lost a good man, a gentle soul, a friend to many, both human and canine.
Rest in peace, Bob, surrounded by the spirits of many furry companions. We shall miss you.
Bonnie, know that we are here for you. Hugs and tears.