December 01, 2004 - January 22, 2019
Tonight, my Emma is running free at the Rainbow Bridge.
Emma was just a baby when her dad brought her home - a wiggling, happy, silly, plump little yellow lab puppy to be company for our border collie-rough collie cross Charley. I was on sabbatical from work and would be at home for the first eight or nine months after Emma's arrival, a great opportunity to teach her and exercise her and bond with her.
|Hai! Can I come live with you?|
|I promise I'll only chew things I'm supposed to.|
I'd never, ever, ever, chew your shoes. No, never.
|Emma in snow|
|Mah big sister Charley can show me the ropes.|
Sit! I can Sit!
Part of her socialization was to spend one or two days a week at doggy daycare, where she loved playing with dogs of all breeds and sizes, and went hiking for hours in the hills of the Fraser Valley.
|Emma (in front) and her daycare buddies on a spring hike|
When Emma was about 18 months old, her dad and I split up. We both desperately wanted Emma, but as we had two dogs and the law considers dogs 'property', we were given no choice but to each take one. As Emma was bonded to each of us, but Charley only to me, Charley came with me, and Emma stayed with her dad, with an agreement in place for me to continue to see her regularly.
Emma grew from an exuberant pup to an exuberant teen to an exuberant adult. There is a saying that labs remain puppies until they are about eight years old, and this was certainly true of Emma. She had lots of energy and that legendary happy lab attitude, and would coerce anyone she could into throwing a ball or a stick for her, especially if treats were involved.
Food motivated, play motivated, happy happy happy Emma was a quick learner, and even as the years went by and distance made visits a bit less frequent, she still happily went through her routine of sit, stay, down, come, heel, fetch, etc. whenever I visited.
|The older I get, the more I like doing "down"|
Emma remembered me from visit to visit, greeting me enthusiastically. But when treats were gone and playtime was over, she quickly ran back to her door and her dad and her soft spot on the couch.
|Mom! You came! Hiya!|
Emma love water - from the time she was a pup and right through her senior years, you could not keep her out of a pool or a lake or a stream. And if you had a stick to throw for her, she would happily pursue it, using her strong lab tail as a rudder as she retrieved it and swam back to shore, head up and proud as punch.
Several years ago, Emma and her dad started spending summers in the interior of BC, where Emma reveled in the attention of new friends and enjoyed frequent cooling swims in the streams and more time with her dad. In 2017, they moved there permanently. She had aged considerably the previous year, and I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't see her again. Her dad kept me updated on her well being and activities and sent me photos of her enjoying her new life.
|Emma having summertime fun in BC's interior|
|Emma and her best friend Abby|
Yesterday, Emma went for a nice long walk with her dad. This morning she got up as usual. And then this afternoon, she appeared to have suffer either a stroke or a cardiac event from which she could not recover. Her dad and a caring vet were with her at the end, and she peacefully slipped away.
Emma, you were the bestest, happiest, most loving lab in the world, and I smile through my tears just writing this. You made me laugh with your antics, your expressions, your funny little wrinkles on your brow as you worked something out, your ball-crazy and water-crazy and stick-crazy energy.
You had lots of friends, human and canine, but most of all you had us. A mom who gave you a good start, a dad who continued to love you and take care of you to the very end. Run free, happy girl, run free at the Rainbow Bridge.
Thank you, Emma's dad, for all the love you gave her and for keeping me in her life. She was one very lucky and very loved dog and neither of us will ever forget her.
|In life we loved you dearly, in death we love you still,|
In our hearts you hold a place no one could ever fill.