On April 1, 2014 I had to say good-bye and good journey to one of the most caring souls I have ever met. It did not matter that she was not human; Rainier cared.
I first met Rainier (pronounced like the explorer and the mountain, rah-Near) when I was car shopping. I wanted to go look for a dog, too, but later… after I had replaced the deathtrap that my fun red V-6 sports car had become.
I was at one local dealership talking about what I wanted in a vehicle, when the salesperson and I began talking dogs. I told him about the lovely husky I had the privilege of living with for 16 years, and said I really would love to get another one, or perhaps a husky cross. He laughed.
It turned out that his basset hound had been unexpectedly ‘caught’ by a husky and he had one puppy to still find a home for. As he told me a bit about her, I really wanted to meet this pup. She sounded just like my kind of dog: independent, curious, and with a happy, sunny personality.
We met at a local business a few days later, and I fell in love! This little girl with the long back, the short legs, the happy face and floppy ears was darling! She even had a perfect husky widow’s peak! She was three months old when she came to live with Lynn and I.
Naming an animal in my household always takes some time until the personality of the critter tells me their name. With Rainier, it didn’t take too long. She was such a mountain goat, I immediately thought of the mountain ranges I’ve been through and the individual mountains I’ve seen. Mt. Rainier, in the Cascades (Pacific NW of the US), jumped into my mind and wouldn’t let go. Especially as I watched this stubby legged beastie climbing to the backs of the furniture to the tippy top. 😀
Throughout her life, she quite often had one or the other of her ears flung back, For what ever reason, it just happened a lot. And she was even more adorable than usual when it did.
Raini ended up bruising one of the growth plates in her leg (you can see how the one leg is so crooked in the photo above). This came about because she was determined that she could fly. She would climb to the back of the loveseat we had in the den, then jump as far as she could…. over and over again. Silly goose bruised her growth plate so badly her leg quit growing months before it should have. So, even though it was hard financially, I got her the surgery she needed to lengthen and straighten her leg and bone.
The vet students at the teaching vet hospital adored Raini and completely doted on her for the week she was there. They even nicknamed her; she became “The Dog Who Perpetually Runs Downhill.” *chuckle* You see, Rain had inherited her mom’s short, thick front legs, and her dad’s longer, thinner back legs. With her long back, it was very evident that her hind end was about two inches higher than her shoulders.
In terms of climbing, it was a very good thing she never learned to climb wire fences the way my Siberian princess, Shanza, had. As it was, Raini would stand on her hind legs at our four foot fence, with her front paws being just able to rest on the top rail. She’d jump up and down when there was a person, cat, other dog, or birds to see, talk to and/or bark at. It was hilarious. She could never get more than six inches off the ground.
And her bark!! Her basset-given deep chest could give out such enormous barks that one feels the need of a different word to describe them! She literally could make the windows shake in half the house when she thought bad guys were outside.
Ah, yes. For you see, as happy and friendly as she normally was even with strangers, she had had some nasty experiences with some of the kids and teens in the neighborhood (years ago). She was determined they know that she’d (figuratively) eat them if ever they gave her an opportunity. Her protectiveness only increased when first Lynn, then myself, slipped into the genetically-induced sucking mire of autoimmune disorder flares.
Days when Lynn was in such pain, or just feeling plain out-and-out unwell, Raini would lay with her and comfort her. When Lynn’s skin broke down and lymph fluid began to leak out, Raini would gently wash the area (until I could get there to clean and wrap it). Later, Rainier would do the same for me.
Raini also became attuned to Lynn’s bio-electric fields. Although it had been years since Lynn’s last seizure, as her health declined the seizures returned. Raini quickly came to recognize when migraines and seizures were imminent and would come get me.
Ah, I could tell you Raini stories for a long time. But, unfortunately, my arthritic hands are beginning to get pretty painful typing this.
Raini lived well. She lived each day with an openness and joy of spirit, and she extended that to nearly everyone she met. I love her and know I will meet up with her again, when it is time for me to take my own journey from this world.