Today we said good bye to our dear friend and companion Chola. After fifteen years with us, it was time to let her go after a quick turn for the worse.
Fifteen years ago this weekend, March 1st, 1993, my dad died from pancreatic cancer. It seemed almost fitting that Chola, who came into my life as a way to heal from the sorrow I was suffering, left us at this fifteen year mark. I imagine that she is up in heaven somewhere barking her crazy bark as she romps with my dad and some of her doggy-friends who have already passed. She was a great gift to me, seeing me through many years of healing. She was a friend who never left my side, always had a cuddle for me, and could make me laugh on a dime. She always knew when I needed a nuzzle and quickly turned it into a love-in - usually with her bum pushed up against us for that extra scratch. Chola loved to bark...and bark...and bark! It was always hard to get a word in when anyone arrived until Chola was attended to. When Rob and I got married, Justine led Chola down the aisle for us. I'm sure that she thought the party was all about her the way she held herself with pride!
I have so many favorite memories of Chola, starting with meeting her in Vernon where my Uncle Bill lovingly picked her out for me. She was such a little runt that I had to carry her (she was only three months old) when we took her for a walk in the park. Val drove my car all the way home while I just cuddled Chola in my lap. The night I turned nineteen we had a big party at Mom's house, and who can forget Chola running around the yard wearing that pink baseball hat (which she later ate!) and wearing diapers. Thanks Val! I remember waking up the next morning, with quite a hangover in tow, and wondering what the hell had happened to my room and where that goddamn noise was coming from. That's when I stepped in the pee. But I couldn't have been happier really!
Chola never walked on a leash. When she was itty bitty she was always instinctively at my heels and just kind of stayed with that. I did take her to obedience lessons where I had to lie repeatedly about her pedigree so as to be allowed to take the class. She barely squeaked by with a pass on graduation day... because of her barking! But the real time I took it for Chola was my only brush with the law. I received a ticket at Kits beach for walking her off-leash and upon the advice of several well-meaning dog-activists, I decided to fight the ticket in court. What a mistake! I looked like a blithering idiot as I mumbled and stumbled my way through my court appearance - my only supporter an old man with a fistful of parking tickets he didn't think he should pay. Needless to say, I didn't win my case, but did manage to get the ticket fine reduced due to my student status!
Chola was such a great companion on so many adventures. From reckless rollerblading through the streets of Kits to numerous hiking trips, she made for the best exercise buddy a gal could have. Some of my best memories with her involve snowshoeing on Cypress, her amazing healing abilities while I zoomed around town on my bike, lazing about Meagre creek while she explored, hiking the Juan de Fuca with Ewart and Deanna, swimming at Lost Lake and Buntzen Lake doggy beaches (where she would swim after me in circles then try and climb me if she could) countless visits to doggy play group at Connaught park and walks through the UBC forest, camping trips that always left me on the ground and her on the thermarest, sharing raw oysters and pepperoni in Tofino, kayaking with her in my lap in Vernon.
Chola lived and loved life to its fullest. She will be sadly missed and gladly remembered.