Life Is Not The Same Without You

The sun still rises in the east
And darkness falls at night .
But nothing now seems quite the same
Each day is not as bright.

The birds still sing.  The flowers grow
The breeze still whispers, too.
But it will never, ever be
The same world without you.

It’s so sad that you had to go.
Your leaving caused such pain.
But you were very special
And Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain.


(Thank you, Catherine)
My baby, today, May 6, at 4:30 PM you began your journey to Rainbow Bridge.  Oh how
I hated to let you go, but I hated more that you were beginning to suffer from old age.  
You and I fought a hard battle since you were sick with Pancreatitis last November.  You
recovered but you were never quite the same after your illness.  I had to feed you a
special food three times a day with a spoon to make sure you got all the nourishment you
needed for your frail condition.  You accepted this and almost seemed to enjoy all the
individual attention you were getting.  You insisted on going for a ride in the car every
chance you got.  You especially enjoyed your trips to McDonalds for that hamburger that
you loved so much.  You were even happy walking down to the mailbox to get the mail.

You were the last of the Michigan dogs.  In March of 1993 we moved from Michigan to
Florida.  You were only six months old at the time.  Also making the move to Florida were
Sabrina, Maggie, Bart, Tiffany, Sandy, and your best friend, Ginger.  You missed Ginger
so much when she left for the Bridge on October 5, 2003.  I know she was right there at
the gate to greet you today when you arrived.  Right now you are probably busily
grooming each other as you always did when you were both here.  It was a regular nightly
ritual for the two of you.

You have left behind so many wonderful memories for us.  You were so excited when you
saw your new backyard in Florida – a whole acre to run in.  But, being just a young puppy,
you weren’t too smart.  You immediately jumped into a big mound of “sand” and started
digging.  What you soon learned was that a big mound of sand was usually home to a family
of fire ants.  We were treating you for all the fire ant bites for days after.  And then,
of course, was the new dining room set we bought for our new home.  Within the first
week, you left your teeth marks on all the chair legs and chewed a corner of the china
cabinet.  We were very upset with you over this, but now when I look at the chewed
corner on the cabinet and the mangled chair legs, I have to smile and remember how
precious those days really were.  I remember how you used to bark and jump around
insisting that we move the chair over to the fish tank every evening.  You would stand on
that chair for hours just watching the fish swim around.  And you enjoyed playing with
that “other dog” in the big mirror in the bathroom.  You would run back and forth barking
at that dog that looked exactly like you.  And then, of course, I remember when we put in
the big fish pond in the yard.  You would always sneak out and swim with the Koi.  Some
of those fish were a lot bigger than you, but you swam with them anyway.  Then we had an
in-ground pool installed.  You really loved to swim.  But the tropical setting where we had
the pool had to be cemented and all the tropical plants had to be removed because they
attracted the little green tree frogs.  You would bring your new little “friends” into the
house every chance that you could.  We had frogs on the walls, the ceiling, and
everywhere.  The frogs left the pool area and moved to a safer home after we removed
the plants.

These are just a few of the memories that I will always cherish.  But most of all I’ll
remember the love you had for everyone you met.  You will always be in my heart and I
will never forget you.  Run and play and chase the frogs and swim with the fish all you
want at Rainbow Bridge.
Tara’s original story continues below.  

In the fall of 1992 Brandi (see Brandi's Story) left
my care to go to her new, forever home.  At that
time Sandy was 5 years old, Sabrina and Ginger
were 4, and Tiffany, Bart, and Maggie were 2.  
None of them were young puppies anymore.  Having
Brandi for the short time that I did made me
realize how much I wanted a puppy around the
house once again.

In October of 1992 Mom and I happened to go into
a shopping mall pet shop to get some treats for
Gypsy (Mom's dog -- See Gypsy's Story).  I
glanced into the puppy cages and saw something I
had never seen before -- a dappled Dachshund.  She
was very small, black and tan, with white and silver
streaks and "dapples" all over her body.  She was
definitely a very unusual looking puppy.

I asked to hold her.  Right from the start she was a
very loving, sociable little creature, unlike my first
experience holding Maggie who was very
frightened.  This little speckled wiener dog's tail
wouldn't stop wagging for an instant and all she
wanted to do was give kisses to everyone.  Well, I
was hooked once again.

My new baby was given the name Tara.  All the
other dogs at home immediately accepted her, but
she formed a very special bond with Ginger.  Where
you found one of them, the other one was usually
right there too.  This bond remained strong
throughout their years together.

In December 1992 Shelly and I flew down to
Florida to visit John who had already made the
move to fulfill the terms of his job transfer.  He
wasn't aware we had another puppy.  We decided to
let Tara fly along as a surprise.  Normally small
dogs have to stay crated and left under the seat.  
When Tara was discovered, she became the hit of
the plane trip.  Everyone wanted to hold her, so she
didn't stay crated at all throughout the entire
flight to Florida.

At Christmas time Ginger became paralyzed and
Tara was right there for her.  Even though still a
puppy, it almost seemed that Tara wanted to care
for Ginger when Ginger came home from the
hospital.  Again, the two were inseparable.

When Tara was about 7 months old she began
limping.  Her right rear leg appeared to be causing
her some pain.  At first it was a limp but it
progressed to the point where she couldn't put any
pressure on it at all.  After we got settled in
Florida and I located a vet, we took her in to be
tested.  X-rays were taken and it was discovered
that she had a genetic defect in her hip socket.  She
would never be able to put pressure on that leg as
long as the hip socket was attached.  So Tara had to
have surgery to have her hip joint removed.  In a
larger dog pins would have been required for
mobility, but with a dog as small as Tara, the pins
weren't needed.  In time her leg became usable once

Dachshunds are known to be natural-born hunters
of small prey.  Ginger, Bart, and Tiffany never
displayed signs of wanting to hunt anything except
their treats and their dinner.  Tara was very alert
to her surroundings and showed every trait of a
full-bred Dachshund.  If she caught the scent of a
chameleon or a small green tree frog, she would not
let it rest until she found its hiding place.  
Fortunately, these little critters could climb higher
than Tara could jump, but occasionally she would
bring her prize into the house.  Then it would be up
to me to rescue it if I could and remove it to safer
ground.  Sometimes her "catch" wasn't that lucky.

Tara's hunting ability also taught her to dig.  We
have set up an area full of sand where she can dig
to her little heart's content.  One time her digging
got me in trouble which led to her getting into
trouble as well.  I was in the backyard talking to
my neighbor across the fence.  Tara,who normally
isn't allowed into that part of the yard. was out
there with me.  She found a sandy spot under the
chain link fence and dug her way outside in less than
10 seconds.  Then it was as someone said, "Let the
Games Begin."  Tara took off across the front lawn
with me in pursuit.  Fortunately we live in an
enclosed subdivision with very little traffic.  She
started running with me chasing after her.  When
she got far enough ahead of me, she would stop to
smell something or to chase a butterfly.  I would
get within a foot of her and, you guessed it -- off
she'd go again.  This continued for almost an hour
around both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the subdivision.  
It must have looked really comical to anyone who
might have been watching.  There was Tara with me
chasing her back and forth much like something one
might see in a cartoon.  Eventually she stopped to
smell something that must have really held her
interest.  At this point I came up behind her really
slowly and grabbed her.  Game over.  This little
episode led to her being restricted from that part
of the yard and eventually to us burying a row of
cinder blocks under the fence line so there would
be no more digging under the fence.

Tara is now 11 years old and going strong.  She had
a couple of benign tumors removed from her left
side last year but has had no trouble since then.  
She enjoys the swimming pool and is quite a good
swimmer.  Now if only I could convince her that I
would much rather have a nice kiss from her instead
of having a slimy frog dropped in the middle of my
living room.

She's still my baby and I love her (frogs and all).
"I'm tired, she seemed to say, tired of pain, tired of feeling ill. I love you, and
our life, but it is time to let me go. Remember me, and think of me, when you look
out at the ocean or picnic under a tree. I may leave you in body, but my spirit will
remain. I'll be there when you come home from work and go to bed at night. I'll
be by your side as you welcome new dogs into your life and I'll be proud to share
your love. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you will see me standing,
watching, waiting. A gray blur just out of sight."