Tate started off as a bad puppy! When he came home with me at 5 weeks of age, he was headstrong and delighted in being a mischievous little brat. But, knowing that his mom was a pitbull and his dad was huge, I decided that he would need to learn to communicate with me if we were going to have any chance of getting through life. He proved to be really smart and an avid learner. He became my constant companion and I never doubted his love for me for a second.
He was hysterical and caring. He had more friends than I did. I know of a number of times that he came to my rescue and he always looked to me to come to his. We traveled around the country and lived in several states. At each place, he won over new friends, even people who professed to hate dogs. He did this by being gentle and funny and strong and smart. He listened and knew what people wanted even if they didn’t. He was patient with people who didn’t understand what he was trying to communicate, and they were always amazed when they finally did get it.
Tate loved to swim. He had so much energy as a puppy, that I would take him to the lake so that he could swim and swim, because no amount of running tired him out. One day we went to the rocky lakeshore near home. Many dogs had brought their owners to the same spot and they were all extremely concerned about an abandoned tennis ball floating about 30 feet off shore. All of the dogs wanted it and the owners tried to get them to retrieve it, but none had been successful. I said, “Tate, go get the ball” and he jumped in the water, swam out and got the ball. As he was getting out of the water, he dropped the ball and it floated away. I said, “Good boy, but you need to get the ball and bring it here” So he jumped in the water, grabbed the ball and dropped it at my feet, where it immediately rolled back into the water. I said, “Good boy, but you need to get the ball and give it to me.” He jumped in the water, grabbed the ball, brought it up to me and deposited it in my outstretched hand. The other dog owners watched this exchange in awe. Frankly, I was amazed that he responded so accurately so many times. Tate liked to exceed expectations.
In this small posting, I couldn’t possible begin to express how much Tate brought to my life. Deciding to let him go was horrible. He had been declining for months. I gladly gave up my social life to spend every free minute with him, and he kept living for me. Only after he was gone, did I realize that he had been with me for 15 ½ years to the day. He had been with me all of my adult life, and he leaves a hole that will never be filled… and that is okay because it is his place in my heart.