Wil, my son, and I met Tag when he was 4 months old. He was a rescue in need of rescue. Marty and Carol found him outside and knew he was not safe. They brought him into their home but their older dog did not like the new pup. I was hesitant at first but he was so sweet and I was assured he would not get past 35 pounds. I should have looked at his paws , they were already huge, but common sense went out the window when we looked into his beautiful brown “cow ” eyes. He proceeded to grow into a an 85 pound black lab.
He was a joy in our home since Wil’s Dad had passed away almost 2 years before, we felt the empty space was filling up again. He was so loving and followed us everywhere-hence the name Tag for tag along. One day a few months after he came to us, Wil and I jumped when we heard this loud , deep bark! He has never barked before but a friend came to the door and Tag was alerting us. His whole 12 years of life , we never heard him bark unless someone was coming in our house.
Tag always greeted each guest at the door, many times a little too enthusiastically, wanting to jump up and give them a kiss- from 85 pounds of muscle! He would even moan at the door when my boyfriend , Eric , was outside. Everyone that entered our home felt special. Tag would give them his undivided attention and of course they petted him for being so loving. One time my friend, Linda, came over and I had to restrain him since he was so excited . When I let him go, he flew across the room and proceeded to try to kiss on love on her so much we almost fell over laughing.
He was full of energy. When he was younger, we had to stand guard on the door. The minute it opened he would fly outside and take a run through the woods. I felt my heart stop when he took off down Ash St in Goldsboro with lots of traffic. He seemed to have a special protection even when crossing Maynard Rd in Cary – a busy four lane road. He did slow down and not take off in his older years, but even this past Thanksgiving , when we took him to my cousin’s house in the woods, he took off again! He loved to sniff more than any dog I have seen, thus his nickname “hound dog”.
But at heart he was a true part of our family. If I let him outside on a lead, he wanted to come back in and be with his “family”. He was always there when Wil or I needed some cheering up or a friend to tell our troubles to. Even if we were in a bad mood, he would wait patiently until it passed. He always made you feel that everything would be OK, with his loving eyes.
I realized even in his last 6 weeks, he was looking after us. He started acting lethargic and not eating about once every week or two. I did not think it was serious since the vet said at his last exam he had the body of a 6 year old. His blood work was terrific with everything in normal range within the last month. He was so strong , it took two people to cut his toenails. The week before he left this earthly plane, he almost dragged me across the parking lot with a harness on to see another dog. He never once acted ugly to another dog, unless they were doing the “hump” thing, and he let them know it was not OK.
But we had started thinking about him not being here with us forever with these episodes of lethargy , preparing us in advance. The day before he died, he jumped up on my tall bed and even pulled me to keep walking when we got back home. I am so thankful that he only felt an hour of discomfort before he left. He took him to the vet, but it was so quick there was nothing they could do. He even spared us the pain of making a choice about his death.
I still see him out of the corner of my eye when I am in the house. I find myself trying to give him a food scrap since he loved the tidbits so much. I saw him in the clouds a few days after he left, running through the woods at full speed. I thought now you can run all you want to ! He taught Wil and I a lot about unconditional love and gave us much joy and peace over his 12 years of life here on earth. We thought we were rescuing him but I think he was rescuing us. I am passing on all his food, supplements and items to another rescue group. Rescue dogs are so full of love and we were honored to have one in our life for so many years. Here is to you, Tag, may you run wild and free forever. ( Tag left to go to the spiritual plane on 12-28-16).