Our nearly 13-year old Labrador, Tess, crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday after a long and full life.
Tess came to us as a recue dog from Golden Gate Lab Rescue in 2003. She had a serious break in her elbow when still in the litter, and her family did not want to pay the cost of having it set. Golden Gate Lab Rescue arranged for the surgery and for a foster family. When her break had healed, and she was ready to walk, Tess came to us as a 5-month old puppy in December 2003, joining another Lab Rescue dog, Lodi, who came to us in 1998. They weren’t sure if she would walk without a limp, but she did fine.
Tess’ most memorable challenge came in the summer of 2004, when she contracted and almost died from Salmon Poisoning, a disease so rare in the Bay Area that it was undiagnosed until our other dog at the time, Lodi, had succumbed.
Tess in her last days was still looking pretty good
Tess harassed Lodi in her own puppyhood and in turn was harassed by first Chispa and then Rosie, our now nearly 3-year old. Tess loved the water and was a great swimmer. She was also an escape artist, always probing for a new way to get under the fence and frequently leading her dog sisters on rambles over the hill to the beach to swim. Sometimes, they got their directions mixed up and ended up in strange places like the Chevron Refinery (Richmond mayor-elect's dogs retrieved after midnight stroll on Chevron property, December 23, 2014).
It was after we acquired Rosie that we finally invested in a collar-mounted GPS, Whistle, so we would be notified and could track our escaped dogs.
It was in 2012, when L’il G, a pygmy goat we acquired, swam with Tess and Chispa in the Bay. She had been hanging with our dogs and wanted to do everything they did.
Tess didn’t really start slowing down until last summer, and gradually she gave up long walks, swimming and chasing squirrels. This was also the time of her last escape over the hill to the Bay. Even in the last two weeks, she was able to work herself into a short run when the leashes came out and we took a short walk around Nicholl Knob.
Tess and Rosie, buddies to the end
But her time had run out, and she went gently on, joining the other six dogs we have buried on Nicholl Knob since coming to Richmond 43 years ago. They were Sadie, Molly, Chloe, Jake, Lodi, and Chispa, all wonderful friends and all together now swimming and running on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge.
Rosie will miss her friend Tess. Louie and Seamus beyond belong to Andrew’s and Daniel’s families.
Dog burials, with grandkids and dogs, a tradition in the Butt family.