Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rest in peace, Nala

Rest in peace, Nala.

On Saturday, March 15, 2008, we said goodbye to our beloved Nala. The lump the vet found last summer grew and spread. Nala had at least 2 tumors and the vet felt that surgery would be too much for our old girl (she was born in September 1992). We had 2 weeks with her before making the difficult decision to not allow her to suffer any longer. She had difficulty going up the stairs, didn't always finish her breakfast, didn't enjoy playing with Otis or taking long walks as much. It was time.

We adopted Nala over the Labor Day weekend back in 2002. We got her from the Golden Years Alaskan Malamute rescue, near Holland Michigan. All it took was one visit and we were hooked! Nala had beautiful read coat and a wonderful personality. We got her after we bought our first house. She loved Michigan -- lots of snow, cool temps, we lived near 2 parks so she got lots of walks. She also knew how to be a couch potato! Much to Rocky's chagrin, she adopted her place on the couch. We took her camping and if we were still living in Michigan when we got married, she would have been a part of the bridal party! As an only dog, Nala loved to play. Any toy we bought was quickly destroyed! We bought her a giraffe-spotted stuffed bone that she would play with for hours, though it only took her about 20 minutes to break the squeaker. She also loved to chase squirrels. Mals are not built for speed, but she did catch one -- in the parking lot of WXMI TV station in Grand Rapids. She was so proud of herself, seeing the squirrel on the ice and knowing he couldn't go anywhere. She killed and carried it until Rocky was sure to see it.

She came along in the cab of the Uhaul when we moved to Richmond, loving all the attention the entire trip. We bought a house with a big back yard and she quickly found her favorite spots. Nala was lonely in Richmond. We worked further away from home and were gone longer. So in November, we adopted Otis. Nala didn't like to play fetch with us, as every toy needed to be kept from Otis. But she enjoyed playing with him. Otis was quick, but Nala was bigger. She never lost a match.

Nala liked Maggie from the start. She was always interested in checking out the baby, especially if Maggie was in her car seat or on the floor. Nala was always very gentle and never got jealous.

Nala never did like the weather in Virginia. The heat bothered her. She dug a lot of cool dirt holes in the backyard. So she was thrilled when we moved to Montana. She was like a puppy again after the first real snow fall. She bounced and played. She also loved staying in the nice cool garage. At night, she would go stand by the door to the garage when she was tired.

I don't think Maggie quite realizes what has happened. 2 nights ago, she went and sat by Nala, gave her a hug and a kiss. She really didn't pay much attention to her after that. Nala did love the attention from Maggie. Maggie always shared her half-eaten baby carrots with Nala. And Nala could always count on some pats to the head.
When I said goodbye to Nala this morning, I told her to look for Moria, Lady and Alan and Frank Gilbert. They would know where all the animals to chase are.

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