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Our dog Taylor died in March, 2005. Pam wrote a tribute to the black Lab who stole our hearts 8 years ago that I would like to share with you.

Randy Golden

Ode to Taylor

From the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail, Taylor was 100% pure
heart. I love heart. It is the greatest of all qualities. If she had
been human she probably would have been a great salesman because she had
absolutely no fear of rejection. She would approach any one and everyone,
clearly wanting to be greeted and petted. And if they failed to do so, oh
well, on to the next person. She didn't bat 1000, but it was pretty close.
Taylor liked people and people liked Taylor. On our Providence Canyon trip
last spring, we stopped in an 1850 period re-enacted town called Westville.
Much to our delight they allowed dogs to visit. Much to Taylor's delight
there were large groups of people to troll for attention, and she got lots
of petting. It was great fun to watch her work the crowd.

Labs are known for their loyalty, and Taylor was certainly loyal to us.
That makes the story of how she came to be ours all the more remarkable.

The first time Taylor came to visit, I found her lying in the backyard, her
muscles were convulsing and she was foaming at the mouth. Naturally, my
first thought was rabies. Then I thought, oh my god, could some one have
poisoned her? My next thought was that it could be a seizure, although how
I came to that conclusion is beyond me as I had no experience with
seizures. I sat with her and comforted her until it was over. Since then
I've learned that seizures are common in labs, the result of inbreeding.

Over the course of the next few months Taylor made frequent visits to our
home. With her enormous heart she won ours. There was just no resisting
such a sweet loving dog. She came and went as she pleased and over time
the visits became longer; she would stay for days. If we felt she had
stayed too long we would tell her to go home. That was hard to do because
of the look she would give us, there was no mistaking that she didn't want
to go. Unbeknown to us her owners made occasional attempts to confine her.
We learned from them that she had leaped off the second floor deck to
escape. She injured her shoulder in that leap, and it never really healed
completely, so she had a noticeable limp for the rest of her days. After
that she stopped going to their house, and we stopped making her. And
that's how she became ours.

These people had another dog, Scout, who followed in Taylor's footsteps a
few months later. But that's another story. This is Taylor's story.

Her ability to communicate was remarkable; she had a way of arranging her
face that told you what she was thinking. Although many people are afraid
of large dogs, I don't recall seeing anyone mistake her approach, she was
clearly friendly. She always found a way to let you know what she wanted.
She made me understand that she didn't like faucet water; she very much
preferred bottled or filtered water. Initially I refused to accommodate
her on this, but if I had it to do over I would give in much quicker. I
don't like faucet water either.

Taylor was not allowed on the living room furniture. But the physical
evidence gave her away; the recliners were her favorite. Since we never
caught her, we figured that she must be making her moves while we were
gone. We tested the theory by peeking in the windows before she knew we
were there. Sure enough there'd she'd be lying in one of the chairs like
she was royalty and that was her throne. She'd jump down as soon as she
saw us. We could only laugh. It was just impossible to get mad at her.

She didn't have mean bone in her body. I never saw her growl, snarl, or
show her teeth (wish I could say the same for me). It was amazing to watch
how she handled aggressive behavior. She never showed fear, nor did she
respond with aggression. She refused to acknowledge the aggression; she
simply ignored it. And it worked, took the air right out of the
aggressor's tires.

She had indomitable spirit and a first class attitude. She was without a
doubt the happiest dog I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Although
she had numerous health issues, nothing ever got her down, not even the
crippling arthritis she had to endure. Her arthritis slowed her down
considerably; we called it moving at the speed of Tay. She helped me find
a level of patience that I had no idea was possible. She taught me how to
mosey, and it's not my nature to mosey.

She only weighed 60 pounds, but she filled the house. It is incredibly
empty without her. In the immortal words of Lewis Grizzard when lamenting
the loss of his beloved lab, Catfish. "She has ripped my heart out and
stomped that sucker flat." I will grieve her loss for some time to come.
But I am truly grateful for the forces that brought her into my life, and
will cherish her memory for the rest of my days.

Pam Golden

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