May 24, 1997 - October 18, 2010
Dad named three of his dogs Smokey (for the song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"), and I was privileged to know Smokey III, a beautiful and intelligent black lab/golden retriever. He had a glossy long black coat flecked with gold, and he understood every word spoken to him.
Smokey lived with Dad in the city until Dad's declining health made that impossible. Smokey loved to assist Dad with yard work, dragging branches to the chipper, and even when his own health became tenuous, Smokey was a ready volunteer, bringing sticks to feed the chipper at my home. He also was Daddy's faithful guardian in a sometimes rough neighbourhood, where he thought it was a great adventure to occasionally sneak through the hedge and panhandle a meal at the sidewalk bistros nearby.
I brought Smokey to visit my country home and to meet my own dogs, wondering if we could form a family. I needn't have worried -- when the time came, Smokey adapted well to the country life, adored his adopted siblings, and for 5 years, accompanied us everywhere. Not once in those 5 years did he ever fail to give me a grateful kiss on the hand for anything I gave him. Food, water, treats, or attention, he let me know he appreciated it dearly.
Smokey was 13 years old when his older sister died
(http://www.dogquotations.com/my-zippy-dog-ripley.html). His spirit sometimes seemed to flag, and shortly after, his heart began to fail. His doctor told me he was not in pain, but he would have episodes of weakness and fatigue, and those episodes came more and more frequently. On October 18th, we spent his final hours lying nose to nose in front of the fireplace, recalling stories from his puppyhood and our happy times together.
What an exceptionally true friend he was and how honored I feel to have known him.
"They asked me how I knew
My true love was true;
I, of course, replied,
"Something here inside
Cannot be denied."
They said, "Someday you'll find
All who love are blind.
When your heart's on fire,
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes."
I love you, darlin' Smokey.