This was posted on the Corgi Forum of which I am a member on July 1, 2007. As Ryan shared Rebel with us, I thought I would share Leisl as well.
Today (7/01/07)is the sixth anniversary of Leisl's journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Leisl was a truly special friend. She was found lieing in the street by my neice. She tells the story of a day when she was jogging around the golf course near her home. She saw up a head of her a small black blob on the side of the road. As she approach the black blob slowly got to its feet and tried to follow a couple that was rapidly jogging away. Seeing the small thing struggling, she called out, "hey, your dog can't keep up!
The man called back, "not my dog," and the couple jogged on.
My neice, then just about 9 years old and now a married young lady, wondered what to do and decided to let the puppy follow her home. When she got home, the puppy plopped down in front of the fireplace and made herself at home. However, my brother and his family altready had a big dog and he wasn't about to allow another one to join the family.
So he did something that I've always been both ashamed of him and yet grateful to him at the same time. He and his family were going on an Easter vacation and he called me and told me to "get rid of the puppy," while the family was away. Well, hating the very idea of doing this to my neice, I went over to his house after the family had gone and met . . . the greatest dog of all time.
I called my neice and asked her if I might have the puppy and after asking if she could come over and play with her from time to time, she said yes. So the small black puppy entered my life.
Leisl and I spent a little over 11 years together. We worked together with a trainer. She was so smart that she learned things I had no idea dogs could do. She could find my car keys when I couldn't remember where I'd put them. She also do that with my Diet Coke. When friends came over I would sometime put my drink down and not be able to remember where I put it. I would ask Leis where it was. She would find it, sit down in front of it and bark once. My friends couldn't believe it! I just said, its what she does.
Leisl was also a wonderful guard dog. Nothing got past our house without being carefully studied by this solid black,150 pound, Shepherd, Lab, Chow and possibly some wolf cross. She would watch out the front window and if it became necessary to bark, she would let go of a major sound that could rattle the windows across the street. Until the night before she crossed to the Bridge, she slept between my bed and the window. Nothing would eve have been allowed to approach me from there. Never before or since have I felt so secure.
Leisl and I went to graduate school together. She sat in on most if not all my Writing Seminars with me and my students all seemed to enjoy her presence. We did my internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York together. Though she never went to the museum, she went to the interns' parties and other events outside musuem. Leisl even helped me finish writing my thesis! She would still be by feet and listen intelligently as I verbally struggled with the writing. Without her by me, I don't know if I ever would have finished it.
It wasn't much more than a year after I got my Master's Degree that I found a lump between Leisl's front legs. That started the end. I probably should have let her go about a year before I did. I didn't want to be alone. She was patient with me and did her best to keep going. I remember that after I had found Zack but he hadn't come from Kentucky yet, I sat out on my front porch, hugged her in my arms and begged her not to leave me. I knew I was being unfair. But I couldn't let go.
Maybe because it was the 23rd anniversary of my mom's death, on Sunday, July 1st, 2001, and perhaps because she had had three weeks to imprint on Zack, I found the courage to let her go. Zack and I took her to the vet and stayed by her side until our friend had completed her journey with me and was finally free.
It really has been a while since Leisl went to the bridge and over that time, the great memories have over come the trauma of the end. I think I'll finish this with perhaps my favorite memory of Leisl. While I did the internship in Cooperstown, I lived in my family's home in upstate New York. One day I came home from the museum and found my brother and his family and some friends who were travelling with them at the house. They were playing football and Lesil was sitting with my sister-in-law watching them. As I entered the game so did Leisl! She may have decided that the ball was mine and that she needed to get it back for me, but whatever she motivation she caught almost every pass. The teams were Leisl, my brother and me against my nephew, my neice and two other young teenagers. Needless to say the kids never had a chance. Leisl, Charlie and I kicked them good! Leisl was the best!
Enjoy your freedom at the Rainbow Bridge, My Friend. Be patient, its still gonna be a while, but we will be together again.