Thursday, August 7, 2008

Final Farewell

Thank you to everyone who has sent kind, comforting words, donations in Travis' honor, memorial gifts, cards, pictures, and wonderful memories. It all has meant a lot to me.

Today, Travis' invitation to compete at the AKC Agility Invitational arrived. The event is in December. AKC sure likes to plan early. The top 5 of each breed is invited. I don't think there are even 5 greyhounds to put on the list this year. We have already been there and done that, so I was not planning on going again anyway. California is a long way from Georgia.

I am getting used to the change and will trust that this is how it was suppose to happen. There is no sense in letting grief overwhelm for too long. As dog lovers, we sign up for the inevitable loss when we love dogs. At one point, someone actually told me that if I didn't do "such and such" that "Travis will die". I thought it was kind of a strange thing for a fellow dog lover to say when we all know that our dogs will eventually die. She said it to me as if death was a force I had the power to stop or to control. In some cases, humans can delay it, but not forever. Sometimes our dogs pay a high price for the delay simply because we cannot let go. Either way, letting go or hanging on, both are decisions made out of love, so I do not think that either can be considered wrong. You have to do what your heart tells you to. You should not feel guilty if you listened to your heart.
I will always miss the "Sweet Little Fella" chewing on my arm, grabbing me around the legs with his front paws, and chest butting me like a football player. Travis was formidable wrestling opponent.... definitely a man's dog, so thank goodness I am a tom boy at heart. I will miss his fearless nature and lack of regard for safety especially when he learned to swim and jump off docks. Travis never hesitated. I cringed and prepared to go in after him when I would see him drift beneath the water's surface, but it never scared him. I will miss having a silly greyhound that loves to fetch bright orange bumpers and dead fowl trainers with the gusto of a Labrador Retriever. I always thought it would be fun to show up at a hunting trial with my sporting greyhound and give the hunting dogs a run for their money. I will miss pinching his "furry hams" and telling him he is a "Handsome Fella". I will miss that curled tail, picture perfect ears, the "superman pose", and those Hollywood good looks. I will miss my perfect agility partner who ran as smooth as a sports car drives. I will miss Travis saving a clean run with an amazing athletic feat because I gave bad directions. He would make me look good. Travis always gave 100%, was always in a good mood, and never had a bad or off day. I will miss his sloppy, creative obedience performances, and his wonderful, bright attitude towards the less exciting work. I will miss showing him off at Greyfest each year and entertaining the other greyhound adopters with his fast weave poles. I will miss having him tip toe around behind me through the house while Stephen calls him "Nancy". I will miss Travis putting his big, beautiful head on my lap as I type on the computer and his "pig nose" impression while he waits for chicken backs. Each day after work, I will miss him turning back to say "Hi" while the other hounds head for the back door.

I named Travis "Never Expected" because he was not a planned adoption and I had not expected to keep him. Even years later, I joked that I was still fostering. As the years went by, his name started to take on countless meanings and ended up being very fitting. Even his illness and passing at age 10 was never expected.

What else do you say about one of the greatest greyts?..... I hope I have said it all because this concludes life with Travis. "I love you and goodbye, Travis Jigmo."
And extra kudos to the creative folks who make homemade cards. They are beautiful.