Farewell to My Sweet Water Dog
Updated: Feb 1
On January 4, 2021 I said goodbye to my sweet baby sweetness, Georgia. She was my best friend and adventure companion for nearly 15 years, but I knew it was time for her cross that rainbow bridge and it was my job to help her. I've been trying to find words to pay her a small tribute and this is the best I could do... knowing that nothing I ever say out loud or write on paper will do her life justice. Regardless, this is for you, Georgie-babe.
My late husband, Tony, brought home this adorable beast while I was attending a Cars and Blondie concert at Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre on May 30, 2006. He texted me about this cutie and I couldn't wait to get home... but of course I needed to finish watching this concert which was totally awesome. Seriously, they put on one hell of a show.
That time she made me bleed
I walked in the door and couldn't see this puppy anywhere, I just saw my husband sitting on the couch looking down at the floor with a dopey grin on his face. "Well, where is she??", I said. He didn't say a word but she heard me and charged at me from under the coffee table. I crouched down just in time to catch her as she showered me with kisses and puppy breath. I rolled onto my back with her on my chest as she hooked my nose with her sharp teeth and drew blood. I couldn't stop giggling through the stinging tears... I just knew this dog was going to be a crazy journey.
The water dog emerges
She took to the water that summer and she was amazing out there! Till this day, she is still the fastest and most fearless water dog I've ever seen. I thought she should have a cover shot on some outdoor magazine. Unfortunately her river shenanigans did not a good fishing companion make... she scared them all away. Anytime we went to the river, it was Georgia time.
I called her "Sweet Poop" for most of her life because of an accident she had as a young pup. We crate-trained her while away from the house and when I came home for lunch one day, she had a major poop blow-out in the cage... she was covered and so was the cage. I gave her a bath and realized that she might have residual issues that night while we would be attending a wedding. Tony kept saying it was a bad idea but I couldn't imagine putting her back in a cage.... so I put her in the tiled bathroom and puppy-proofed it best I could before we left. This was an unimaginable miserable failure on my part. We came home to the most glorious poop-smeared, torn-up bathroom I've ever laid eyes on. She shredded the wicker laundry basket in the closet, tore up every roll of toilet paper, AND all the shampoo bottles were punctured and dripping all over the floor, the shower, the walls. Poop paw-prints were on every surface. The fruitiness of the soap mixed with the stench of poop overwhelmed us into delirious fits of laughter. Sweet Poop.
Georgia and Tony were best friends, it was obvious she preferred him to me. And that was okay because she brought us both so much joy that there was no animosity - just love. But then Tony died in 2009. During the nights I couldn't sleep that first year after he was gone, she would crawl under the covers and hold me as I shivered and cried. She knew her favorite human wasn't coming home and she intended to make sure I was okay. She protected and loved me wholeheartedly until she left to join him.
In the years following Tony's death, Georgia, Cairo (my border collie), and I went on tons of trips. We camped in the Colorado mountains, Moab, on the shores of Lake Powell, and even the Olympic Peninsula in Washington so that Georgia could see the ocean. The big waves scared the shit out of her but she still ran along the shoreline and made the best of it. She was a great road-tripper and her excitement was contagious anytime we neared our destination... the minute she smelled water or evergreen trees, she would start speaking in dog language that sounded much like a trill shriek in Spanish because she was rolling her Rs.
She had no patience for people who wouldn't play fetch with her. It was incessant and annoying and completely adorable. I'd have to tell people, "Don't pick up her ball because she won't stop. If she's keeps bugging you, turn your back to her. Don't make eye contact." But then she would just bark anyway and you'd eventually have to look at her and start up the game again. She even escaped a few times while we were camping and I would find her playing fetch with some random family at another site. When she saw me coming, her tail stopped wagging and her ears dropped as she trudged toward me, totally dejected. She looked back at her new friends apologetically almost as if saying, "Sorry guys, I have to go but thank you for your fetch time."
Hold my beer
Another bad habit that Tony taught her was how to love and knock over people's beers. If your beer was left unattended and she could reach it, it would go over and she would drink it all. Her favorite beer was PBR, just like her daddy.
Georgia Three Toes
Life with Georgia was never boring and oftentimes her injuries put a dent in my bank account... So much so that I got invited to my vet's Christmas party one year. I feel like I might have paid for most of it. That was the year she knocked a tooth out trying to catch a stick. She also got an infected toe that had to be removed after a rigorous hike, so we called her "Georgia Three Toes" for a while because it seemed like a good mobster name.
Just do it
She was the best jock I've ever seen. I recall the time she jumped about 5 feet vertically and latched onto a tree branch in the backyard and then swung her body around in circles until she cracked the branch and it came off. I cringed thinking, "this might not end well." But she landed like a boss and pranced around the yard with her huge branch in her mouth while Cairo and I looked on, completely dumbfounded. Cairo thought she was an idiot.
That was how life was with her... Dumbfounded. I'm honestly surprised she lived as long as she did because of all the mishaps, injuries, and stupid shit she ate. I mean, she was food-motivated like no dog I've ever known. One of her most eyebrow-raising meals was a whole cookie sheet full of raw bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers with toothpicks that were waiting to go in the oven. She got them all in one swoop and never had any associated messiness in the following days. Another time she ate a whole tray of fudge sitting out at Christmas and nothing happened to her. She had a gut of steel.
There are many more stories and I could write for days... but I won't do that here. It's all in my mind, replaying like a movie... mostly a comedy. I am so grateful for how incredible my life has been because she was in it. She was my first dog as an adult and taught me so much about unconditional love, patience, and how to take life as it comes.
I am the lucky one
I gave her a PBR before the vet arrived at the house. It was necessary... I'd want a beer during my send-off too. She seemed comfortable as I held her for all of the last minutes. I kissed her face repeatedly and said "I love you" while holding her three-toed paw as she took her last two deep breaths. Then she was gone and I felt her peace and mine at the same time. Her heart stopped and there was so much beauty in that moment, I am forever grateful that I got to experience that last tiny bit of her in this place. A friend told me something about how much better it is to lose a dog to old age than to an unexpected, tragic situation and I fully agree... I am the lucky one.
Thank you, Georgia
Georgia Demery - you've set the standard for all the dogs to come! I love you baby girl. Give your daddy some love from me.