To Andrea - my tried and true companion
by Debbie Mahaffey
(Castro Valley, CA)
Andrea in Joshua Tree
Andrea was my amazing dog.
From the first day she looked up at me from her pen at the Oakland SPCA, I saw that spark in her eyes and I knew I'd found something special. Over the next 12 years, Andrea and I lived and traveled and grew together. I watched her learn to swim, and run in the snow, and climb, and catch a frisbee. Without training, she would come great distances at the sound of my whistle.
Together we enjoyed an era of rock climbing road trips, long drives across the southwest, hikes in the desert, days and days of bouldering, camping, sitting outside in the dirt, reveling in nature - and those memories are all sweeter because of her.
At a young age, Andrea believed that independence and freedom were worth going to extreme measures for. She would climb, jump, wiggle, chew, and dig her way out of any confinement. She could stealthily unzip both zippers of the tent to sneak out in the middle of the night. She was notorious at the local kennel because, not only did she escape from her pen, she also freed the rest of the dogs.
Andrea was best known for her superior social skills. She could talk you into anything with her insistent gaze and the one word she knew how to say quite well - "WOOOOOOOOOO..." And she could put any guest at ease. She would really ham it up when I would say, "Wow, she's not usually like this with people, she must REALLY like you..."
Her favorite places were Joshua Tree, Hueco Tanks, Santa Barbara beach, Lake Chabot, and the front seat of my car. She loved squirrel chasing, wave hopping, being petted on her belly, and big parties!
Andrea was a healthy dog until November of last year when the vet suspected she had cancer. Thankfully we were able to keep her happy and comfortable for many more months, until last week when she could no longer eat, and we decided it was time to let her go.
Keen, expressive, willful, independent, empathetic, gentle, loyal - she was a tried and true companion of a lifetime. I was so lucky to have found her and privileged to have shared her life. We will miss her.