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Old dog, new tricks

Dakota gets his 3rd chance at age 9

Remembering you, 6 months gone


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On the sixth month anniversary of your death, I am practicing remembering your life with gratitude. It is a deliberate choice and it’s hard. It is easy to feel anger at those who abused you but harder to think it’s their loss that they didn’t know what you could become. For me, anyway.

Part of my exercise in deliberate gratitude has been to look at many pictures of your life. They do make me smile. I want to share them with everyone here so they can smile, too, and help me remember how lucky we were that you chose us. Thank you, my golden sweet potato. (And how fitting that the pictures I chose are snow pictures. You loved your snow so much!)








The night before you became a tripawd, asleep with me in our hotel room. You trusted me completely, and I thank you for that.

The night before you became a tripawd, asleep with me in our hotel room. You trusted me completely, and I thank you for that.









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by posted under Life without you | 4 Comments »    
4 Comments to

“Remembering you, 6 months gone”

  1. June 16th, 2013 at 10:22 pm      Reply benny55 Says:

    He is indeed your “golden sweet potato” boy. A find looking lad!

    The photo of him in his hotel room really show what beautiful markings he has. I love those feet!

    You already know Dakota’s life has deep meaning. You already know. e reason this site is a strong as it is is because of people like you. You already kowyou wouldn’t have touched so many if Dakota had not found you! In this case, there were no random circumstances. Call it destiny, fate, or the will of the great big Whopper in the sky, o two were meant to be together!

    Dakota loved being loved by you! I’m sure one reason he enjoyed the snow so much, was because he could frolic in it, get “snow wet cold” and come in ad sit vyyou to get warm. Warmed by the warmth of love!

    Glad you have so many woderful photos to help you recall the joyous memories. And I know he left you so many from which to choose!

    Next snow here, I’m gonna go do Angel Wings in the s w n honor of your Sweet Dakota boy!

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  2. June 17th, 2013 at 7:50 am      Reply jerry Says:

    Shari, we send out all our love and hugs to you on this anniversary. It’s not an easy thing to watch the time go by and not cry or be angry. We get it.

    Dakota, you will always be in our hearts.

  3. June 17th, 2013 at 9:16 am      Reply Michelle Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing more of Dakota. I think we all forget to be grateful for the time we have. We are all busy with our lives and running around until we have an event like this. Time to slow down and enjoy every minute and love like no tomorrow. That is what I have learned in the past couple months. I love that you are sharing his snow and how much he enjoyed it. He picked the most wonderful family he could have when you found him. You loved him with your heart & soul. Like your avatar sign says. Forever in your heart. He loves you and know you did everything you could and would for him.

    Sassy & I are thinking of you on this anniversary. Sassy sends extra hugs and licks.

    Michelle & Sassy

  4. June 17th, 2013 at 9:34 am      Reply Christine Says:

    what a sweet sweet potato! Thank you for sharing.. it is hard not to when those sweet babies of ours steal such a big part of our heart. Many hugs to you over the internet on this anniversary!

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June 2013
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What came before

Dakota is our Golden Retriever mix, and he was likely born in February 2002. His full name is South Dakota Watson, and we found him on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in August 2002. The area we discovered him had no homes, no structures, no bodies of water, no shelter. He had his permanent teeth but was still a puppy, so we assumed 6 months was a reasonable age guesstimate. He weighed 12 pounds, which was grossly underweight. Two weeks later, he weighed 23 pounds. He was too weak to eat much so we fed him 6 times a day. Sometimes he would just collapse at his food dish and fall down, and I would have to feed him by hand.

I wish Dakota could write this page because he is the only one who knows the beginning. From his birth until the day we found him, we have no idea what he endured. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know some of it, and other bits we can infer from his behavior. For instance, we know for a fact that Dakota was suffering from malnutrition, sarcoptic mange, assorted internal parasites, flea anemia, dehydration and dental enamel hypoplasia (pitting and staining of the teeth commonly resulting from distemper as a puppy before the teeth emerge). We can infer that Dakota had distemper from the hypoplasia. We can infer that he was deliberately dumped. And we can infer that a man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses hit him with some kind of stick and chased him off with a hose. Dakota has problems with all of those things.

Dakota has every reason in the world to hate people, but he doesn’t. He’s very mistrustful of strangers, but he is beyond loyal to his family. Once he meets someone and gets the ok from us, he opens his heart to them, too. He is very attached to me, probably because he was isolated (due to the mange) for the first 11 weeks we had him. He had nice digs set up for him in our house, but he could only look at our other 2 dogs and not touch them. I was the one providing all his care during that time, as we found out the hard way that mange can be transfered to humans. To protect our young son, no one but me played with Dakota during those 11 weeks.

Because we feel pretty sure that Dakota survived distemper, and he survived being abandoned, surviving cancer should be no biggie for him.

We know Dakota’s cancer is not an osteosarcoma, and his chest films were clear, one month apart. We are very optimistic about his long-term prognosis in light of those facts. Hopefully we have several more years with him and he will grow old with us, just as he should.

Right after we got home with Dakota, all 12 pounds of him.

Eyes swollen shut, ragged ears, and just as calm as could be.