For Immediate Release
ATTN: Women, Animals, Pets
It's said that when the cat loving ancient Egyptians were given a choice by invading conquerors: either surrender your cats, or your city, they chose to give up their city. Why? Because they believed their feline companions carried the spirit of deities.
Well, I feel the same about my three dogs, Rory, Paris, and Tia. To me they represent unconditional love and companionship. A constant companion, a dog bears witness to your life and history without judgement. So when our middle dog, 13-year-old dog Tia passed away suddenly, last week of an apparent stroke due to a blood clot, it caught us by surprise.
Tia arrived at our doorstep six years ago, when her family moved into the house next door. At first she came to simply browse through our garbage can or to search out carelessly abandoned spiral notebooks, or mail that arrived in editable envelopes. Once she even got the munchies for two 20s and a 10 dollar bill snagged from my wallet.
Said differently, Tia preferred to hang out with our two wild boy dogs and live a western lifestyle. She was happiest chasing anything that strolled, crawled or slithered across "their territory," than live the more domesticated life of a typical housedog.
While she was also happy to tree the occasional cat that dared venture up the dirt road to our home, she got more than she bargained for when she sent one over sized "kitty"up a tree. It turned out to be a mountain lion.
With uncommon courage I ignored making direct eye contact with the lion, and I ignored its warning hiss as I slowly bent down into a crouching position close to the ground and grabbed my own dog Rory by the tail. When he sharply swung his head around to look my way, I grabbed his collar and pulled him to safety. Feeling abandoned, Tia reluctantly followed.
Over the years, she bravely treed various bear, raccoons, and numerous harmless squirrels. Her last fearless act, however, was a heroic one. Even the police agreed.
A few months ago, when a would-be robber entered our unlocked kitchen door in the middle of the night, he made an abrupt U-turn. Just in front of him, sleeping with "one eye open," lay Tia-the-Terrorist. Armed with sharp teeth and a bellowing bark, she chased him down our long dirt driveway barking at him continuously until he disappeared around the corner, out of sight.
In family circles, she was known by two names. Found abandoned at 6-weeks-old along the side of a road in New Mexico in a box with her tiny litter-mates, TIA led a dog's life fully and with gusto.
Now, Mother Nature has stepped in to remind us that in the end, even a dog must have its day. All things that live, must someday die.
In the end, Tia-the-Terrorist will also be remembered by her second name: "Tia Mi Amour." She will live with love in our hearts and memory forever.
Alexia Parks, a science journalist and impact entrepreneur, has an uncommon love for the well-lived life, lived off leash.