For the fortunate among us who have been so blessed, the emotional bond developed over the time spent with “the dog of your life” needs no explanation only celebration.

Georgie, a black lab rescue, lived life off the leash with each day an opportunity to experience and share joy only made better by reveling in it from the perspective of a moving vehicle.

On Sunday August 16th Georgie passed away at the age of 15.

In celebration of a life off the leash


While my life experience with Georgie was uniquely personal, the quality of the emotional bond forged by those life experiences is not unique and in that reality lies the beauty of this story.

Rescued by Elaine who would become the love of my life, Georgie entered my world as part of the best twofer possible.

Both Elaine and I have BMW SUVs which suited Georgie’s everyday travel tastes. Quickly, back seats went down to accommodate significant upgrades including featherbeds. Not unlike John Madden enjoying his fabulous bus, Georgie luxuriated in grand style while on the road. However no BMW snob she. Her tastes extended into the classic and quirky.

While she would tolerate a ride in a 1953 Ford F100, Elaine’s 1972 VW Westfalia camper took precedent when weather turned fair. Georgie would perch on a second row cushion with a great view of the road through the split between the front seats. With ears flapping like the flying nun’s hat, no black lab in transit savored a travel experience more.

Farmer’s markets and car shows offered extraordinary opportunities for Georgie to roam about insinuating herself into group discussions. When Elaine took a trophy for her Westfalia, Georgie trotted along to share the accolade.

Lately stories have been exchanged with other men and women, friends and strangers describing their “dog of my life.” If the stories are told in past tense regardless of the teller’s stern countenance, sand gets in their eyes. If the stories are in present tense, accompanying the joy comes a universal acknowledgment of how lucky they are and the immense respect they have for their canine partner.

A great companion on a forest hike or a city stroll, Georgie would engage people at random with a disarming openness that communicated with cross species clarity that, of course you can pet me and you should, and almost universally, without hesitation, strangers would love her up as if she had been their own.

In my studies I have been taught that the body stores emotional pains experienced and often manifests them as physical maladies. Conversely and perversely the joy we experience is ephemeral. I do not totally agree and wish to take this opportunity to advocate for joy’s value as a lasting contributor to making each of us a better person.

Joy produces lessons learned that have staying power expressed in our thoughts and actions. While at present I am experiencing profound sadness, I also realize that I am a better person for the lessons learned in the presence of Georgie.

As a tribute to every “dog of my life” treasured as a canine companion I would like to share the following. This July on the precipice of Georgie’s decline, Elaine and I took her on vacation to an historic farm on Martha’s Vineyard. For a few days the owner’s friend served as the innkeeper. A lovely woman, she had the opportunity to spend a little time each day with Georgie. Upon hearing of Georgie’s passing she wrote us the following.

“Georgie was a special soul. A gentle, intelligent and beautiful girl. Her generous happy spirit was contagious as she shared her joy and kindness. She was a unique being with an almost saintly energy. You were blessed with the love and time you all had together. She changed your lives. Her goodness lives within you.”

For all of us who have been blessed with the “dog of our lives” reading a heartfelt description capturing your canine partner’s qualities would be equally moving. And once again you would feel the sand in your eyes.

It is my belief that “dogs of our life” go to heaven and sitteth under the right hand of God where God can pet them for their mutual benefit.

You are invited to share a story about your “dog of your life” in the comments section. Those are stories I would love to read.