One of the things that happen when you move is that you finally get around to things you’ve been putting off. So now those annoying things in our house that never worked quite right have all been fixed. And I decided it was finally time to put the ashes of my sweet dog Clover in their final resting place. After much thought I decided to take her ashes up the hill to a sweet mountain stream where we take our other two dogs every day. Ginger and Kona love this spot – the creek streams down the mountain side, amidst the new green of skunk cabbage leaves and the wild mariposa lilies. Ginger always takes a dip in the deep spot and Kona finds a stick and rips it to shreds – something he learned from Clover. I know if Clover was with us she would have delighted in the sheer joy of being in this place.
As I carried her urn of ashes up the hill I reflected on my life with this good dog. Every dog seems like the best dog ever, but in Clover’s case, it was really true. She was with me through joy and hard times, and she never wavered from her place by my side. It was where she most wanted to be. She had such a plucky spirit – yet she was so self contained. She never complained, even if there was a good reason. I remember the day she simply laid down in the middle of the road, unable to complete her usual 2 block walk because of her arthritis pain. But she still wanted to walk.
She loved water. When we walked down to the river she would run around until she found the biggest stick she could carry, usually about 4 or 5 inches across. Something the beaver had chewed on. If it was just an average good stick she’d cart it around until we went home, and then add it to her pile. But if it was really good, as in the biggest stick ever, she would have to rush home with it right away, cutting the walk short. We almost had no need to get firewood.
If we took her down to the lake, she would seek out rocks instead. She would find the biggest rock she could carry, and I mean a HUGE rock, and preferably one that was 2 or 3 feet underwater. She would dive down underwater and bring it up, never minding the water she got up her nose. She’d place it strategically on the sand and then roll it around with her nose and dig a big hole for it. Barking with joy the whole time. The simple and great joy of a rock on the sand, by the water, was something to witness.
When I think of Clover I think that her presence in my life was a great gift. She loved me unconditionally, and was always there for me. She was always happy to see me and would sing whenever I came home. She was a pretty good dancer too.
As I smashed the urn on a rock, and broke it open to release her ashes into the stream, I felt like she was still with me. Leaving her ashes behind in the Kootenays doesn’t mean I don’t carry her with me to Yellowknife. Her love for me and her gifts to me are everlasting. What a legacy of a lifetime she has left behind.