We said goodbye to our dear old dog, Tango, today. Here she is last night with me and the kids.
Our Chow-German Shepherd mix had a hell of a life. Amy and I found her at the Denver Dumb Friends League about 9 years ago. She was a 3-year-old stray dog who ended up at the pound. There's not a lot of demand for dogs this age, so she languished in her plexiglass enclosure for many weeks, and her time there was about to run out. We visited the place and spent time with a few of the dogs. The first few were hyper and licked us a lot; then we spent a few minutes with Tango. She was mellow and friendly, and didn't lick us once. That sealed the deal.
Tango was an accomplished escape artist. She actually pried a hole in our chain link fence -- with her teeth -- large enough to escape through. That happened sometime in the first 4 hours we ever left her in the dog run in the back yard. I came home at lunch to check on her, and panicked when I found her missing. By the time I typed a "lost dog" flyer on the computer, I found Tango - sitting patiently on my front porch. We figured out that all she needs to be happy when we aren't home is a view outside where she can watch and wait for us to return home.
Tango was also an accomplished mountaineer, having summited 11 of Colorado's 14er's (14,000 foot peaks) with me, including a snow-covered Mt. Sneffels on Memorial Day weekend.
She hung in there after our 6-month round-the-world trip in 2002, when we left her in the care of Amy's brother and sister-in-law, Jason and Jan. She stayed loyal again when we left her with my Mom while we spent 4 months in China last year. (Thanks a ton to Jason, Jan, and my Mom for the many times they kept Tango for us!)
It's been tearing at my heart for months now to see her deteriorate. The worst part is that in the past few weeks, her happiness faded completely, and when she looked at me, her big brown eyes looked sad and confused, wondering why she was in so much pain. When
that happened, I knew it was time. It was heart-wrenching, but I know it was the best thing to do for her.
Tango, we'll miss you!