george1We all have to be thankful for many, many things. Today, I am going to write about how thankful I am for the privilege of having shared George’s life. There is an African quote saying that no one is completely dead as long as you still talk about him or her. So, for everyone who never heard of George, listen to his story. I will not talk about the last 48 hours of his life. I just want to celebrate George’s life for the 3 years 5 months and 12 days where he was alive and well, where he was “George.”

He was my first born, or should I say my yellow lab, Lola’s first born. As soon as he was born, he started screaming bloody hell, and my daughters and I nicknamed him “Big mouth”. He was black, and a big boy. I still have the journal of my only but memorable litter. Big Mouth was 1lbs. 4oz! It was Lola’s first litter, and she seemed a bit lost after her first born. I did not realize that she was having her second pup right away, and trying to help, I cut George’s umbilical cord which I think really puzzled her, and yes, I goofed, but after a minute or two, she was too busy with “Blondie” coming to think of what she should have done and did not do. She did everything by the book, without reading the book, for the four others.

And here were my five wonders. They were all perfect: from toes to head, tail included. I counted every nail, every ear, every tail (Okay they only have one! But hey just checking that they were perfect!)

It did not take long to realize that two of them had great personalities: “Big Mouth”, and his sister “Ms. Piggy”. Do I really have to explain why she was called “Ms. Piggy”? It was hard to separate her from her mom’s teats… And she grew up as the girl next door that everyone envies because she can eat everything she wants but is still totally fit. Great metabolism I am telling you.

I am going to go with their real names now. We named “Big Mouth” George, as George in “Grey’s anatomy”. Everyone loved George in the TV show. If I had known how he would end up, I would probably have considered another name. His sister “Ms. Piggy” became Sophie as in the books I read in my childhood from the Countess of Segur who had a character named Sophie who was getting all the time in a lot of trouble, as my Sophie!

George decided that the only way to take a nap was on his back. It was really helpful for us, humans since it was hard to recognize George and his other brother “Boubou” who became Jackson. In order not to get lost between the three black ones, two got nail polish on their nails, and up to this day, if I try to apply nail polish on my own, they fly away. They just hate the smell. George had white nails, and Jackson red ones.

George was the first one to open his eyes. And what eyes! When he grew up, he had really slightly slanted eyes, and I was always making fun of him calling him my “Asian boy.”

When there was something mischievous going on, you could be sure that Sophie and George were involved. These two were like attached by the hip. The first snow storm we got was a big one, and I never got tired to see them in the white stuff! They were in heaven with that white stuff. You see, you can dig it, swim in it, hide in it…. So much fun! That winter we got so much snow. When you have small kids, snow is fun, but my girls were in their late teens and I did not realize how snow could be fun when you have 5 teenager pups around.

My daughters always made fun of me and George, since the only place where George could stay still for a while was … my lap! When he was tiny, he was always on my lap when I was driving the bunch to the vets or for walks along the canal. But George grew up, and when he reached 80lbs, it became quite a challenge. How could you say no to him?  We made a deal: he could be on my lap when watching TV at night or of course in bed. He took the challenge a bit further when he shared our Christmas breakfast one year! He was just so proud to be sitting on a chair with us. That was a “George moment.”

The boy was stylish, let me tell you! To go out, he had a harness soft inside but glittering and red on the outside. One of the vet techs we saw nicknamed him “Disco George”!

When Sophie and George were outside, you never knew what could come out of it. One day, I heard screams like I never heard before. The pack was playing in the yard. Sophie and George were on top of Jackson, and had their mouths stuck in his collar. My poor Jackson was getting strangled. I had to grab scissors and cut the collar right there to free everyone. This is, by the way, the last time they wore a collar at home. I did not know that there are many fatal accidents when dogs are playing together with the collars of each other.

George and Sophie were also the one who were thinking ahead. I got my pack into the habit of healthy snacks. So yes, they get carrots as treats, but for George and Sophie, they always wanted more than one carrot. You never know what can happen tomorrow. Maybe Mom will ran out of carrots. So each time, when everyone else was satisfied with one carrot, Sophie and George had to manage to grab 3 and hide two out of them. A few days after his death, I found “his” stash of carrots, cookies, and toys half buried behind bushes.

George was happy from the minute he got up to the minute he went to sleep at night. He could not bear the thought of having the day starting without him, so as soon as he was awake, he was having a dance over my body “Get up Mom, get up!”

From the meal in the morning until night, he was making life fun and interesting. I always make my crew sit before meals, and George was so happy to please….. I could still picture his butt barely touching the floor but with eyes speaking so loud “Come on, Mom, come on! I am good. I am sitting!

Then, so many times at night, I was still in my office, and I could hear him go upstairs to go to sleep. In the middle of the bed on his back with his four legs up: that was George!

A ball of energy. When I was coming home, George was coming ahead of the others to greet me. It was hardwood floor, and George had perfected the art of wood skating, and always managed to stop by braking with his four legs just when he was getting to me. That was George.

George was like his Mom, and loved the water. His mission in life in Fall was to retrieve every leaf from the canal where we were having our daily walks. Then, coming next to me to shake off the water off, he had that grin “Did you see Mom, did you see? No more leaves!”

george2Playing hide and seek in the yard with Sophie, stealing the chicken which was just waiting for him right there on the counter, and running through the house with it in his mouth, retrieving balls, bumpers, jumping in the air, living his life at 100 miles an hour, then snuggling with me at night with his eyes full of love, that was George.

I believe you just met my boy!

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