Welcome to "Little Red Hen and Friends." We hope you find ideas and activities to share with children of all ages and abilities.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tahoe my Teacher

This is Tahoe "Skidoo."  He was born during the blizzard of 1996.  My husband and I had just returned from a Holiday week in Lake Tahoe and decided to fulfill our dream of sharing our new home with a Golden Retriever.  We had been married for three years at the time, both teaching, he in the City of Baltimore, me at The School for the Blind.  This was a huge step for us but one we felt ready for.   We named him Tahoe after the fond memories we had from our trip with our family.
Little did I know that during that trip to Lake Tahoe I was also pregnant with our first child "O."  We had just moved into a new house and Tahoe created a bridge to form new friendships. I used to walk Tahoe everyday to the local school yard with my neighbor and her puppy.  During these walks we discussed many issues important to me at that time all the new "firsts" that we were experiencing together, careers, relationships, creating a home, parenting etc...  These walks were therapy for me.  Something I looked forward to, a way to ease my anxiety and give me the confidence to move into parenthood.   

Tahoe was there for us, a loyal companion through baby #1


                                Baby # 2.....

                                                                 AND babies #3 and #4 !!!

                                              He was the first life that we had to take care of.....

 Tahoe gave to us the gift of humor, he sat perfectly for 14 family Christmas cards... and never complained once,  not even the time he had to wear the Nutcracker costume.  He was always such a good sport.

He never complained about anything, he was just happy to be  included in all of the activities the family was participating in.

Through the milestones....

                            and the day to day.

Time went on and as the children grew we began to experience our next set of "firsts."  School, activities, new jobs, another new home and the loss of a parent/grandparent, my mom.
 Through all of the changes and transitions, Tahoe was the best listener and always turned the mood light.

Shortly after we moved into our new home, my Maternal Grandmother came to live with us.  She was 90 at that time and was showing the signs of Alzheimer Disease.  She would get scared easily at night, she couldn't remember my name or the names of my children, she was confused and disoriented.  There was one way to help her reconnect and that was Tahoe.  She never forget his name, always smiled and re-focused when he walked into her room.  He began sitting with her through the days and when she began her night time wandering she always had Tahoe by her side.  The one thing that I never could figure out is how my grandmother never remember NOT to feed Tahoe people food even long before her dementia set in.  She gave him a piece of her bologna each time she saw him an therefor made a friend for life.  My grandmother lived with us for almost 2 years.  When she required medical attention beyond what we were capable of giving her she was moved into a nursing home back in Pittsburgh.  This brought up so many new emotions in all of us.  Again, Tahoe rose to the occasion.  My grandmother's nursing home allowed pets and when we visited her, Tahoe came along.  He faithfully laid at the foot of her bed and enjoyed meeting the other residents.

 Tahoe loved to swim and always kept the family connected to nature by leading us outdoors.

Shortly before Tahoe's 14th Birthday we added a second puppy to our family.  We wanted the puppy to learn from Tahoe his manners, his grace and his wisdom.  Old and Arthritic Tahoe took his role as a mentor to "Rooney" very seriously and showed him how to remain calm and in control around other animals.  This was during one of Rooney's training sessions for and animal assisted activity.

When Tahoe did not have the stamina to keep up with the children at the same pace, he still found a way to participate by watching over us.

Nearly 15 years old, Tahoe passed away surrounded by family and to those he gave the gift of true friendship.

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