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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Power of Dog - Ryder (aka Boo)

Every day is a lesson. Sometimes they are good lessons and sometimes they are heartbreaking.

Today my friend’s, Katie and Andy, lost their young Golden Retriever to a blood-type of disorder. For the average human reading this, some may wonder how the loss of a dog is blog-worthy. For those of us who are into dog sports, they understand without another word. But regardless of which side of the fence you’re from, this blog subject is worth the read because it talks about the power of love and the power of dog.

It’s no surprise that dog folks often equate their 4-legged kids with 2-legged human children. Today it dawned on me why this analogy is so correct!

When people have human babies, they put time, energy and a part of themselves into that little life. They teach them, shape them, impart information, create their world, oversee the life lessons that are a part of growing up and open the deepest parts of their soul to share a vulnerable side reserved only for special individuals. Human parents do all of this with care, thoughtfulness and with a relish for this labor of love.

It may be hard to imagine, but dog parents do the same for their 4-legged youngsters. While we don’t give birth to our chosen young, just like those who adopt, we look into that little sweet face and fall in love. A maternal/paternal instinct kicks in. Maybe it’s the want to care for the innocent or maybe it’s just the need to develop a bond with something warm, interactive and emotionally stimulating. Whatever the reason, the 4-legged surrogate children worm their way into our hearts and become members of the family.

This brings me back to Katie and Andy. Today they lost one of their kids and at the moment there is a place in their heart that is aching, empty and pleading for their beloved Boo to come back to them. While this is the hard side of loving and loosing, we have to remind ourselves to never lose sight of how it felt while our dogs are with us. Forgetting the time together would an injustice to the one who touched our heart and it would negate the love they brought into our lives.

In the case of Boo (also known as Ryder), he was amazing. I didn’t get to see him on a daily basis, but what I noticed immediately was that he brought pure joy to Katie and Andy’s life. He made them smile. He worked the two of them by pouring on the puppy love, adding a full-bodied tail wag and a look that said “I love you so much”. They couldn’t help but shower him with kisses, hugs and smiles. From my vantage point, I’m certain these warm feelings poured over into their marriage and that it brought the two of them closer as a couple. They smiled and laughed together over Boo and his antics and those happy feelings overflowed and was shared among their friends.

Boo’s reach was far beyond his immediate family. While judging him in agility, I couldn’t help but smile and root him on. He gave his all in each agility performance and was a force of good that swept through the course. Nobody could resist the happiness watching him brought!

But what I’ll remember most was the whirl of energy Boo and his handler (it didn’t matter if it was Katie or Andy) produced. They were like a micro-burst of fun on the agility course. It started the moment they came to the line and the impact continued even after they were gone. Dan (my hubby) and I would see them hours later and smiles would still be plastered on all of their faces (humans and dogs alike). It was infectious and a feeling that sucked us in. That's how we became friends with them, in part, thanks to Boo.

So while Katie and Andy work through their grief, I wanted to salute Boo for having touched so many lives in such an amazingly positive way. He did touch many hearts and he brought joy to everyone who watched. He was amazing to see, lovable to all and so very special. I know that we are all better humans for having known that 4-legged little fuzz ball of joy.

Thank you Boo for sharing your gift with all of us and our hearts are with Katie and Andy during this time.

With Love,

Lisa & Dan


  1. Lisa this is awesome. I never knew Ryder personally but have heard a lot about him from others that did. Goldens have that special way of making everyone around them happy with their zest for life. Losing a member of the family is hard for everyone, especially when they are taken far too young. God speed Ryder!!

  2. Thank you Lisa. You are rights on all points about Boo. He was the greatest little guy in the whole world and is leaving a big hole here in the Midwest. Remembering him and all the joy he brought is all that we can ask.

  3. Well said Lisa. Boo was the pup who brought so much joy to so many people. From him avoiding some contacts, to him conquering his fear of them and watching Katie cry at the end of the run when he did so, his smile was infectious and it was taken away from us all too soon. Godspeed, Boo, Godspeed.

  4. Beautifully said, Lisa. He was a wonderful dog and missed by everyone who knew him.