By Erica Johnson - Posted Monday September 26, 2016
Keelor 26 Jul 02 – 21 Sept 16
Keelor, my baby-boy, you took my heart at first meeting, 14 years ago this week. I thought I would end up with another light-colored girl like Boomer, but tuxedo boy it was to be! - your sweet almond eyes and quiet cuddles sealed my fate at Animatch that day. You have been integral to every meaningful aspect of my life since – family and friends, outdoors and sports, holidays, joy and sadness, camping and cottage, baby, home, family photos, beginnings and endings. You have been there.
When I brought you home, you were just a little round-bellied goofball with wonky ears that changed orientation daily, and you listened with a head-tilt so exaggerated it almost tipped you over. You grew to be a handsome and elegant beast though, with a gorgeous ebony coat and velvet folded ears. My big-voiced Mr.Long-nose, with wonderful expressiveness, a boney head, and treat-pointing eyebrows, you always made yourself understood, and showed concern for what was going on with the people around you – especially acting as guardian when Kyra was upset. Ever and always, you reflected the best of the breeds I could identify in your heritage – loyal Shepherd, keen Kelpie/Border, sweet Labrador…
Smart and respectful, you learned quickly and became a model canine citizen, welcome everywhere and loved by everyone. The number of words, gestures, and expressions you picked up on was just amazing. You even knew all the euphemisms for “walk” I tried to use discretely – perambulate, stroll… and then you figured out spelling too! And of course there were your crowd-pleasing tricks in response to requests for ‘bow’, ‘spin’, ‘woof’, and (your least favorite) ‘bang’. Your success at agility was limited only by my ability to direct you effectively as a teammate. At home, you were my constant companion.
Admittedly it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows – you did physically battle (and defeat) the crate, damaged vocal cords howling all day when I was at work, chewed prodigiously, and for a while must have thought your name was “Puppy no-no”. I was inclined to disown you when you ate the couch – but survival of the cutest prevailed, and we got through your adolescence together, winning agility ribbons, and with you becoming “fuzzy brother” to Kyra.
Through the years, your life was also filled with a thousand walks in Angel Woods, countless hours at Golf-O-Max, time at ‘camp Gramma-Grampa’ (such a Grandma’s-boy), running around with your buds Winnie and Murphy as well as Riley and Robby and Max and Vegas, not to mention chasing squirrels, and of course doing guard duty.
You were always clear about what you did like – ice cream, favorite people, illegal food scraps from Grandma, and roaming at the cottage. And equally what you didn’t like – being outside in the dark, thunder, fireworks, getting wet, and having your feet touched. But through all the truly rough times – two knee replacements, cuterebra worm, and gradually losing use of your hind end – you never complained or lost your good nature. Caring for you was my great honour, and I always tried to give you the greatest life possible out of endless Love and as thanks for everything you brought to us.
Goodbye my beloved friend. You will forever live in our hearts. XOXOXO