A 5-Decade-Long Friendship That Began With A Phone Call My Man’s Best Friend

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My Man’s Best Friend

My husband, Ginger, is not an early riser. In fact by the time he gets up, Nutmeg (me) has usually finished work-out, done laundry and gone to the grocery store. To be really clear, there are two things that make him get up early; Downhill skiing (never cross country) and flying. Yesterday, Skoki our 14.5 year old black lab started with an early morning phone call to say he wasn’t feeling well. Ginger got out of bed and drove to Canmore to see her dog and attempted to set a land speed record. She wasn’t feeling well, and although a trip to the vet seemed to boost her energy a little, it wasn’t for long.

Our black Labrador dog, Skokie was born in Leduc outside of Edmonton. Ginger convinced Nutmeg to go for a drive on a snowy Saturday 14 years ago. Nutmeg is pretty sure about two things; You don’t drive to Edmonton “just for fun” and no dog lover in their right mind goes to “see” puppies. The long and short of it, of course, is that Skokie headed south on Highway Two back to Calgary. She sat in the back seat of our car and it lasted for about 5 minutes before she started crying. Nutmeg quickly succumbed to mom’s pressure and Skokie sat in the front seat on Nutmeg’s lap for the rest of the trip to her new home, and she was very proud of herself for scoring the first point in our long relationship.

From the start, Skokie can be described as a little bit headstrong. In the early days, walks were dictated by the will of a mighty little creature who clearly didn’t want to walk the icy sidewalk. This is a dog with selective hearing from day one. However, if food is involved, she has excellent ears. Over the years, the Skokie has been a faithful companion for dog walks, runs and hikes. Most of all she loves people, although she is very careful about giving love.

Ginger went to school for the past 10 months and returned home only two weeks ago. Skokie has been on guard all that time, making sure her owner (Nutmeg), her canine companion (Jade) and the house are safe and sound. She knew her time was short and that her master was home for good now, as his piles of belongings began to pile up. In her own unique way, Skokie said goodbye to her best friends yesterday. By this early morning, it was clear she wasn’t regaining her strength or her lovable spunk. Nutmeg took her for a drive to see the mountain scenery in Canmore, and then she said goodbye. We miss our best friend but know she is somewhere close by pretending not to care about us.

Animals are wonderful creatures. They are active, sensitive, carefree and personable. It’s amazing and wonderful how pets can truly become family members and loyal companions. Over 14 years, our relationship with Skokie has grown from wonder and delight at the puppy’s antics to a deep respect and love for each other. Every morning, it was clear that she had missed us and had seen us the night before. My husband was not lucky enough to grow up with dogs. His family consists of cats that have unique personalities, but are often people first and foremost. Skokie is a Labrador with personality, independent streak and special love for her owner, she is truly my husband’s best friend. She will be missed.

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