Before we started the farm, our family looked like this. Larry and I both brought 2 dogs into the marriage. We have Athena, Hobbes, me, Ditka, Larry and Grish. The 2 mutts were mine, the two Shepherds were Larry's. They are all gone now.
We are saying goodbye to Athena today.
Larry should be writing this, as Athena was HIS dog. And HE was Athena's favorite person.
Sure, Athena tolerated me. She usually got up and wandered off when Shannon came by. She wasn't one for playing around. At least not with toddlers and other silly people. She loved to play fetch, and would eventually destroy any toy, if you left her to her own devices. It was hard to play fetch with her, as she usually only gave up a ball or Frisbee for Larry. She'd bring it back, but you'd have to wrestle it out of her mouth. She would chew the fuzz off tennis balls and then wreck them. This blue ball lasted the longest, and we bought bunches of them to play fetch with her.
She was thinner and more agile than her big "brother" Grish. Both were very well trained dogs, but Grish was more stubborn. Athena LIVED for Larry. Waited on baited breath just for him to tell her what to do. She was athletic, and always on edge to be ready for what was next. On a single word, she could bound over picnic tables, and waited, hoping for the word that she could chase a squirrel at the park. Larry taught her how to skijor, and her and Hobbes would pull him around on his skis. Hobbes added some extra umph, but Athena kept them on pace and on track. She loved it.
Grish was her bestest companion. They would play tug-of-war over toys sometimes. By the time we said goodbye to Grish about 4 years ago, Athena was already slowing down. She had given up on the sheep, after Gertrude butted her into a fence. We couldn't take her swimming for very long, because she would tire herself out. Her fetch sessions got shorter and shorter.
Within the last year, her hearing has gone. It wasn't too much of a concern, as she stopped wandering very far, either. You had to keep an eye on if she followed Larry out to the pasture, and then got too tired to come back in. She has spent the last several months really not moving from her bed very much. Her hind legs have given out on her, just as they did to Grish. She's much lighter than he, and has been able to compensate with her front legs for a while.
I have a better picture I need to post of her, but it's on another device. I'll find it. This is one after we moved to the farm, but before we were able to remove ALL of the barbed wire from our fencing, and Athena got tangled in it. She didn't even act like anything was wrong. She just wanted to know what Larry wanted her to do next.
It's true, I never bonded with her like I did my own dogs, all Athena wanted was to be with Larry ALL the time. She was a wreck if Larry ever went out of town, just looking at me as if the lights had gone out. She would shake with excitement when he came back home. If there is a special place for pups, then Grish is waiting for her there. Goodbye, Athena. We will miss you.