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Lighting a Candle (Bandit 8/29/2003 – 3/13/2018)

Bandit’s last photo, tonight.

Tonight, Bandit collapsed on us. She let us know it was time for her to go be with her sister and all of the pets that went before her to the Rainbow Bridge. Naturally, as she lived life her own way, she did death that way too. She never had any physical health problems that becoming young again wouldn’t have conquered. Never lost her appetite. Still occasionally roughhoused with Vanir. Always happy.

But tonight it was time.

It’s a decision I hate making, and it’s one that humans make over and over again for their beloved furchildren, and one I will have to make again soon for Thor, as well, who will be fourteen at the end of the month. And will I continue to have dogs, even knowing what I’ll go through at the end? Absolutely. I wouldn’t know how to live without a dog.

From the very beginning, Bandit did everything her own way. She was never a dog to lie around and cuddle with you, unlike her sister Smoky. She had to be out and about, regardless of the risks she took. We often said she was part cat, with all attendant nine lives, and would outlive all of us. She survived things we thought would be the end of her: rattlesnake bites, being hit by a car on one of her excursions. She was a young dog with the snake, barely out of puppyhood. She was already a senior citizen when she climbed the fence and got hit by the car. Her right hip was dislocated, the leg degloved, the ankle capsule destroyed, her skull broken, the pubis muscle detached, and she survived. More than that, she thrived. The vet thought that she would be in staples and splints for six weeks. She was out of both within three, and climbing the fence again two weeks after that. She was ten at the time.

She has given me more grey hairs than any dog before her. She has given us laughter and love. The day we brought Aneira home from the hospital as an infant, she tried to climb into the bassinet with her, and that set the tone for how she felt about her furless children. She adored them as much as they adored her.

She never so much as growled at anyone in her life. She got along with everyone, no matter the species. There was no one she didn’t love, and no one that didn’t love her back.

She earned her honorary silver harness, putting up with the shenanigans of her Arctic brothers and even encouraging them, joining in with the Siberian Furniture Olympics when they were all younger.

She hated water with a passion, despite being a Labrador retriever. If she wasn’t drinking it, she wanted nothing to do with it.

Bam-Bam, you gave us so much joy throughout your life. We are missing you so much. Wait for us, North of the Bridge, with your silver harness and your sister. We’ll miss you until we get there. We love you, baby girl.

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