Friends to the end

October 9, 2018

By Gaynell Crews

I have had dogs in my family my whole life. I learned at an early age that they, just like humans, do not necessarily like everyone or other dogs.

My Shih Tzu, Lula, is no exception. Even though we exposed her from a puppy to a variety of dogs and people, she loves some, she likes some, she ignores some and some she downright dislikes. It has nothing to do with size, color, breed or sex. It is just the personality. Dogs have it figured out way sooner than humans. Two sniffs and they got it all.

Her favorite friend was a beautiful, big, brindle boxer named Primo. Primo was the most obedient, well -trained, sweet dog I have ever seen.

Primo knew his boundaries were the driveway. Even if his human, John, was not immediately in sight, he would lay in the driveway like a Sphinx, never going past the end of the driveway. He would just wait for anyone to come by and pet him. When you did, he wagged his whole body! It just made you smile and love him more.

Primo and John lived on one of our daily walking routes. Lula could hardly contain herself to get to that driveway. There would be that beautiful, regal Primo just waiting for Lula. He would keep himself low to the ground to be on her level. She would run around Primo with excitement. Then Primo would hop around and let Lula chase him. Soon he would stop and they would lay nose to nose and relish in the special friendship only they understood.

Sadly, on the Fourth of July, way too young, Primo died very unexpectedly. Of course, John was overcome with that loss. All who knew him mourned.

I knew it would be hard to walk by there. And what to do about Lula? But you have to keep going. So the first several times she just could not figure out why Primo did not come out to play. John came out and loved her, but it was not the same. What do dogs think? She knows his scent is still there, but where is he? Does she know Primo would never willingly leave without a goodbye?

By now she has resigned herself to the fact that he is not there and is not coming back. But she goes every day to the middle of his driveway and lays down for a few minutes. I feel like she is just basking in his memory or showing reverence to their friendship. Like humans, I guess dogs have to grieve each in their own way.

Whatever it is, I always tear up when we are there, knowing she is truly missing her friend. One thing is for certain: Special friendships for dogs, just like us, don’t happen all that often. When we have a special friendship, we need to completely absorb all that we can from each other, accepting each other’s flaws and make every minute count. Live in the moment, as they say. Life is short.

We honor the memory of Primo. And like Lula, will not forget.

Gaynell Crews is a Lake Havasu City resident.

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