August 31, 1995 – February 17, 2008

Dear Friends,

The house is empty – the silence deafening. He’s not at the door to greet us- tail wagging and so proudly carrying around a shoe or two. He’s not here to wake us up at the crack of dawn – grunting with joy, tail beating happily against the side of the bed. “Wake up, wake up – Mom – it’s a brand new day – isn’t it wonderful”.

I can’t dwell on the last few days – my heart hurts too much. The memories come flooding back through the tears for a wonderful friend who made us smile from the very first moment. There he was all of 6 weeks old – so chubby his big paws seemed to sprout from his chest. Those beautiful brown eyes lit with joy, his ears as soft as velvet and that wonderful puppy smell. It was love at first sight.

From the very first he was self assured. There was Bacardi’s way – then there was Bacardi’s way!!!! I’d say “come” – he’d go. I’d say “goodbye” – he’d bloody well come when he pleased. The louder I was the less he seemed to notice- nose to the ground he run on oblivious to my “queenly commands”. But just let me whisper the word “cookie” – he was after all a “Lab” – four legs, an empty stomach, and heart as big as the great outdoors filled with love to spare.

There was Bacardi’s routine; breakfast by 7:30am, lunch 12:30pm, dinner (not one second later than) 6:00pm, bedtime snack (a carrot) by 9:00pm. We always knew what time it was.

One didn’t take Bacardi (or Nummy Nuts as he was affectionately known to his friends) for a walk – he took you and for him it was an adventure of the senses. That beautiful brown nose worked it’s magic. He never seemed to look where he was going – head down and going as fast as those little brown legs could carry him – why he didn’t run into a tree I’ll never know. We absolutely had to be in the woods by 10:00am – his friends; Washington (yellow Lab) and Sunny (Belgium Shepard) were waiting. Greetings all around (especially the nether regions) and off we’d go. Three happy friends off into whatever Adventure their noses would take them, and every mud puddle they could find.

Bacardi had more than a little affection for blonds. “Canelle” (a yellow Lab mix) was his heart’s desire. Mind you a good looking “Golden” could turn his head too. Actually when I come to think of it – white is sort of blond ….but then again so is beige!!!! Let’s put it this way – if it looked sort of blond – Bacardi was more than willing to accommodate her every wish and then a desire or two of his own! He didn’t bark until he was more than a year old. Nonetheless – he had his own very personal greeting for each and everyone who came to our door. One simply couldn’t have avoided it. Sooner or later he was sure to say “hi”. That cold, wet, brown nose never missed an opportunity! In fact his cats just gave up after awhile and figured he was just doing them a favour!

Bacardi loved the water – he was in before the ice was off the lake in the Spring and last out in the Fall before the ice took hold for the Winter. Whatever the reason – it was good enough for a quickie swim. He felt compelled to save his “Mom” whenever she was stupid enough to venture into the water. He’d run around the edge of the pool trying desperately to get closer – when that failed he’d simply jump in. For the sake of preservation – I learned to duck and swim under water really well! But I wasn’t getting off the hook that easily and once back on dry land he’d wrap his legs around mine and nibble me -as though he’d found a flea. All the time his tail wagging, body wriggling and making little grunting noise for the utter joy he was feeling because we were playing one of his favourite games.

Bacardi’s heart was big and generous – there wasn’t a jealous or mean bone in his beautiful square body. 70 pounds of wriggling happiness. He made friends where ever he went and even brought a few home. “Summer” was only a kitten when he appeared at our back door. “Misha” & “Nana” came from an abusive home. “Oh Sama Bin” & “Friend” just needed a home. Bacardi even welcomed “Beau Boule” (a husky mix) whose owner had died. He shared his home, his bed and even his kibble with his buddies. Like people – animals are givers and takers – Bacardi was a giver. He simply only ever stole our hearts.

Our wonderful, brown puppy has gone off on a new adventure. What joy, what a lust for life and what happiness he brought us. We are heart broken but we are so glad to have had the privilege of having had him in our lives.

Honoured Caregivers – Dan & Heather