When Whiskey arrived in Mira, she was still a tiny puppy. She was so tiny and wobbly that she fell over when she walked as her bum was bigger than the rest of her body. Since she was rescued, it wasn't really known if she was even 6 weeks old arriving from her journey. What was sure was that she was cute enough to make Ryan's heart melt with love, and then his Mom's heart melt upon introduction too. Ryan was so excited to meet Whiskey and she fell instantly in love with him too. It was love at first sight. Both of their eyes grew wide with an over abundance of joy.
Whiskey was, well, quite frankly a mess when she arrived. Her fur was so beautiful with flecks of golden love and her eyes danced with joy but she had fleas that made her scratch more than a puppy should. She had worms that made her tummy fat and made her feel squeamish, especially after all the drives from Mira to Sydney and return where Ryan lived. He never went to Mira without her by his side. But have no fear, Ryan and his Mom immediately took to bathing and helping little Whiskey get healthy and rid of those nasty fleas and worms. Ryan wrapped Whiskey in blankets after her bath and held her close so she would feel loved. She felt so loved in fact, she started to grow fast and got steady on her feet. Ryan's cousin, Melanie, was in Mira for her summer vacation and also enjoyed spending time with Whiskey too. They both worked really hard to look after Whiskey.
Two Hearts Become One
As Ryan grew, so did Whiskey and both of their hearts melted together and they both loved the same things. That's the way it is with furry soul mates. When Ryan went to hockey, Whiskey went too. When Ryan went to soccer, Whiskey went too. In the summer when Ryan went for walks and swimming, there was Whiskey with him, although Whiskey didn't like to swim in deep water, she really just liked to wade along the shore up to her belly. Ryan took her in his arms and helped her learn to swim but she really just liked to be on the shore unless Ryan went out in the kayak and then she swam out to meet him. In winter, when Ryan went to Mira to shovel off the ice and practice playing hockey, Whiskey went too and she found every puck that Ryan shot into the snow bank for her to find. They played in the snow and made snowmen and snow castles together, they tobogganed and ate snow together too.
Whiskey the Tracker
Ryan liked to play hide and seek and so did Whiskey. Ryan would get his Mom to open the door to Grannie and Poppy's house after counting to 10 so Ryan could run and hide and have Whiskey find him and she always found him. She was so good at seeking that she could sniff that Ryan out even when he went walking ahead of her out of her sight. You could watch her nose, follow every step Ryan made, on the road, off the road, back on the road, zig zagging all the way until she found him and she always did.
When Ryan went off to school Whiskey would wait and watch for him to come home never missing a beat of time even if he was early or late. She knew when he was coming. She just knew. And when Ryan went away for hockey camps, Whiskey would visit at Mira with her Grandparents and no matter what day he and his Mom were returning, Whiskey was sitting on that front lawn waiting patiently, until the car arrived and she began to dance all around, tail wagging, hugs waiting to be had. Grandma would tell all about Whiskey's time and how she would walk around at first with her head hanging low but then without explanation, she would perk up on that last day they were due to arrive home and she was always right. There was no surprising her.
Always A Team Player
Whiskey even enjoyed being in the locker room with Ryan and his hockey team mates getting ready for the game. She also enjoyed the soccer fields and watching Ryan play. She even made it to the rink to watch Ryan be a hockey referee and oh how she wanted to get on the ice with him. It would remind her of being on the ice in Mira, chasing pucks and having races up and down the ice. And as fast as Whiskey was, Ryan was faster on his skates and the more Whiskey dug her nails in the closer she got to him but he always won, or she let him, she'd never tell. Ryan was her boy and Whiskey would do anything for her boy as Ryan did for her.
Now Whiskey wasn't always a lady growing up being almost part wild from her start in life, so she took some obedience classes. She was a very smart dog with full determination and a strong will. The instructor got sick half way through the course and couldn't continue but Whiskey even only having half training under her collar, went on from there to becoming an even more compassionate dog.
Whiskey the Therapy Dog
Ryan was also growing and looking at hockey schools and part of being a better student is to be well rounded. Not just in size but in skill, education and being a good person. What better way for Ryan to do some volunteering than to bring his best fur friend along. It was then time for Whiskey to step along with Ryan by becoming a Therapy Dog with not just one but two Therapy Dog programs. Whiskey was very proud of taking Ryan to the senior home and showing off her boy. She walked tall and proud along the halls and introduced Ryan and his Mom, who were certified Dog Handlers, to everyone she met. And for the seniors that couldn't get up in bed or out of bed, she would jump in bed with them and introduce Ryan from there. She just loved the way everyone at the seniors would pet her and talk to her and somehow she always knew who to roll over for a belly rub. Since Ryan had taught Whiskey how to play hide and seek, Whiskey would always smell everyone's feet so she would know them next time she met them and how to find them.
When Whiskey broke her leg in Mira one day chasing after the garbage truck, Ryan carried her upstairs every night to be with him all night and back down in the morning. And though she had a cast on, it didn't stop her from running and keeping up with Ryan in Mira from swimming to kayaking to hockey drills in Poppy's garage. Everywhere that Ryan went, Whiskey went too.
As the years passed and Ryan went off to school, Whiskey would wait for him to come home and they would snuggle up with each other until it was time to go to bed and Whiskey always slept in the same spot in Ryan's room. Finally, Ryan was done school away and Whiskey had her favorite boy back all to herself again. Whiskey was always proud of her boy and it would show. He could be gone a minute or a few hours and Whiskey's tail would beat off the floor with joy every time she saw him. Ryan was the only one that Whiskey would talk to and about, "arrrr, rrrrrrrr, rrrrrrr, rrrrr" Whiskey would say to Ryan and also to his Mom when she came home from work to tell stories about what she and Ryan did that day.
Whiskey the Healer
And as the years passed further Whiskey would sit with Ryan, run and play and laugh and have fun with him, she would help heal him when he was not feeling well, she would follow him upstairs and down. When Ryan got his wisdom teeth out, Whiskey was right there sitting with him looking after him like no other dog in the world could have done for him. She slept when he slept, ate when he ate and went where he went. And Whiskey was quite the healer, knowing when Ryan was sick before he knew for she would sit with him even more and closer too. She wanted everyone around her to be happy and healthy and she achieved her wish. It was then that Whiskey met Jenna and knew that Ryan was going to be looked after one day when it was her time to go. Not only did Whiskey find a sweetheart for Ryan but she made sure she was the most special nurse to make sure Ryan was not just happy but healthy. Whiskey was so proud hearing of Ryan's future plans.
Whiskey the Watch Dog
Now 13 years had passed by so quickly. A lot of love had passed back and forth between them and it made their bond grow even deeper. Whiskey had watched her little boy grow into a man, seen him through school, sports and working hours. She kept watch over him day and night and made sure she warned him of any danger. She only barked when it was necessary because she knew from watching him play hockey that he was good at keeping his head up. Her favorite time was when he was home so she could sleep even more soundly.
Through the Tough Times
With all the joys in life, sometimes life gets too serious. Whiskey had a lump that appeared and through it all her love for Ryan made her pull through it. She fought and rallied and conquered that awful time in her life for she had not finished teaching Ryan all the things that he needed to go on in life without her in it. And when it came time that Whiskey needed help on the stairs, Ryan built her a ramp which made it very easy for Whiskey to go outside and get back in. Whiskey would love it when Ryan would work outside so she could lay on the patio and watch him although she didn't like the loud sounds of his tools.
Love Never Ends
And when it came time for Whiskey to go to Heaven with over 14 years behind her, she waited for Ryan and his Mom to come home that day, had a wonderful supper with them, she looked into their eyes with love. She passed on very peacefully that night without a sound, feel asleep right there where she always laid, still touching her human and surrounded by love. And proudly she was carried by Ryan, her favorite boy, so they could hug one last time until they meet again in Heaven. For all she knows he will be sad, she will send him lots of love every day. She will sit and watch him grow from afar, keeping track of his every step, walk and run by his side all day and night, be beside him for every special moment of his life, and when it is his time, she will guide his way proudly home tail wagging, greeting him with her "arrrr, rrrrrrrr, rrrrrrr, rrrrr" to fill him in on her thoughts of all the days gone past of watching him from afar and all the times she snuck in at night and kissed him on the cheek with her wet nose so he'll then realize why he woke up so many nights and early mornings and they will laugh again and snuggle like time apart was just a distant memory.
Maria Lisa Polegatto
August 3, 2016