Wednesday, April 24, 2013


A few weeks ago I promised to tell you about my ‘best friend’ Panama. Let me start at the beginning.

I had a Cocker Spaniel named Lily. Then my daughter got as a birthday gift a Cocker Spaniel whom she named Jack. As a side note we also had a cat named Rosemary. Yeah, for awhile we had Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts. Anyway…My mother went through a time of breeding dogs; Cocker Spaniels to be exact and she made a little money at it, so I thought why not see if this will be an easy ‘part-time’ job.

Well, it wasn’t easy and it drove my husband nuts. Lily had a litter of five puppies. One, ‘Sweet Puppy’ didn’t survive, but that’s a story for another time. One of the puppies Peepers (another dog story, maybe) was really attached to me and I desperately wanted to keep him. It was a fight, but I finally got my way. I got out of the breeding business, and decided to enjoy Lily, Peepers and Jack as beloved pets.

Peepers lived fourteen years and everybody was heartbroken when he died (his parents had already passed on). At that time my husband stated ‘no more dogs’ and nothing I could do would change his mind. I mentioned this to my daughter and told her how much I missed having a dog. Somewhere along the line I also mentioned that I would like a big dog, maybe a Golden Retriever. So, that Christmas that’s exactly what she got me. A little ball of fluff that I named Panama.

(Sorry, I only have grown up Panama pictures in this computer.)

Panama started out about as big as two handfuls, but I swear you could sit and watch that dog grow. By the time he was six months old he looked like a full size dog, but he didn’t stop there. At about ten months he was huge. This is when my husband ran him over with a truck, not intentionally, he suffered a broken leg and pelvis. It was the third of July. We loaded him into the back of my SUV and drove him over to the only vet we could get a hold of. She took some x-rays and told me that he could be fixed, but it would be expensive. I pulled out a credit card.

Panama healed rather well, but he did stop growing after that. He didn’t like to be out in the cold either, but I had always intended he be an inside dog, so it really didn’t matter. After the whole episode of being run over by the truck and then the traumatic ride to the vet, Panama never wanted to get in the car again. Because he weighed over a hundred pounds and stood about three and a half foot tall at the head, it took two of us to wrestle him into the car, if he HAD to take him somewhere.

Panama was a monster in size but he had the gentlest heart. He never barked – there goes the watch dog. Once when we were out walking on the ranch we scared up a small herd of elk (about 75 of ‘em) he turned and looked at me and I could tell he was considering jumping up into my arms, something that had me a little more worried than a confrontation with the elk. He also never growled or snapped at another dog or person. He and Scout, our outside dog, used to play and tussle around but there was never a growl or even an accidental nip on Panama’s part.

When we were moving to the islands many friends came out to help us clear the ranch property we had been living on for seven years. A very kind and gentle man who was one of our neighbors, showed up during a work party and sought me out asking; “What can I do to help?” In that instant I had a flash of how kind and wonderful he and his wife treated their two dogs, one a huge sheepdog named Barney and the other a Cocker Spaniel, whose name I can’t remember. Anyway, I asked Mike to help me by giving Panama a good home. He talked to his wife Kelly, and they agreed.

It broke my heart to leave Panama behind in Idaho, but I knew then and know even more so now, that he’s better off and happier there. Man, I love that dog. He is my best friend.


One last friends Brandon and Bryan over at A Beer for the Shower Have a released a new book

and they are giving away a free paperback copy. Check out their site and enter to win. It's easy. You know you want to.


  1. Such a huge dog indeed
    But sounds like a best bud indeed
    The right place for him too I bet
    As with all that hair and warm being met
    Prob would not mix well
    Still leaving must have been hell

  2. Oh how sad you had to leave him behind! Isn't it amazing how much love we have for our animals?

    You and I both highlighted ABFTS today! Hope it helps them out.

  3. Tears in my eyes. He is such a good beast. It is hard to let go....but i have learned it helps our hearts grow.

    Lords knows how I know that...

  4. I recently lost my Cocker companion of 9 years to liver cancer--poor baby. My husband has also said no more inside dogs. Hmm. Yah, well, that won't last, lolol! Not that I'm ready for a new inside dog just yet. :-)

    I do raise Great Danes and you're correct. It is not easy job and when you factor in all the work, meds, and food the money returned is sometimes a loss, some years break even, others profit. I'm phasing out of it.

    Panama is gorgeous and what a sweet disposition.

    I know I couldn't leave behind a beloved pet-just couldn't do it. But I'm glad Mike and Kelly were there for you and Panama.

  5. Gorgeous dog! So how old is Panama now?

    I just adopted a puppy. I forgot how much work they are! Still have an 18 yr old beagle who seems pretty annoyed by this playful new pup.

  6. Idaho is a great place for dogs (can personally testify to that). We just let our dog run all over the farm, although one time an eagle almost scooped him up. Poor weenie dog was running for his life. He made it under the truck and the bird left him alone.

    Regarding pain in dogs from accidents: we took our dog to a chiropractor and the chiropractor reset some things and the dog was able to get around much better. Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation where a dog is in pain from being run over or some similar trauma and the wound/trauma is healed, I suggest a dog chiropractor.

  7. Pets find a way into our hearts. I have fond memories of two pets I lost who have stayed in my memories, one a dog I had at ten yrs old and a cat I adopted.

    They fill a need for warmth and companionship.

    Panama is beautiful in those pix.

  8. Golden retrievers make the best pets! I always wanted one. (We had black labs. They like to chew.) And they aren't the greatest guard dogs because they love everybody.

  9. What a beautiful and yet sad story. I couldn't imagine giving up any of my dogs, no matter how good of a home they were going to. I could only imagine how heartbreaking that was to leave him behind.

    Also, thank you much for the shout out. We really do appreciate it!

  10. It’s no wonder you love that dog so much: it has JANIS JOPLIN HAIR.

    Panama is a beautiful dog and I would have loved him too! And Golden Retriever is one of the very best breeds. Of all the dogs I ever had, my favorite was a big mutt that appeared to be a Collie/G.R. mix, with maybe a little German Shepherd thrown in also.

    Panama is a great best friend to have, FAE!

    ~ Stephen

  11. I'm sure Panama knows that you acted out of love. We adopted our Bernese Mountain dog named Sasha 3 months ago and her original owner also did what was best for her and I know Sasha gets it.

  12. This was really sad. I believe that he knows you acted out of love.

  13. Pat - That it was my friend, but it all worked out in the end. He has people he loves and they love him too. Better than dragging him here when we flew.

    Jaybird - Right on both counts.

    Luckymama - I know you know.

    Sia - My hats off to you. Great Danes, YIKES! Leaving him behind was hard indeed.

    Jay - Panama will be making 6 years in October. a puppy is good for an older dog, keeps em young AND thoroughly annoyed.

    Michael - That's why Big Dogs are best. Never thought of a dog chiropractor. I know they have them for horses, although I never used one, but had not thought about it for dogs. I'll keep that in mind.

    D.G. - You are so right. Thanks.

    Beer Boys - Yeah, I cried a little when I wrote this. It is hard to do. AND, you are very welcome. I hope it helps. It's in my lineup and a review will be forthcoming. I promise, I've just got to climb back up this cliff I fell off of the other day.

    STMc- Ha, ha,ha. I knew there was some music to go with that. And enough with the JJH.

    Panama was a great best friend (still is in a way). I could always trust him.

    Green Monkey - Thanks, that was a sweet thing to say.

    Gina - I hope so. Mike and Kelly claim he's happy, but a year ago they said he would still sit at the back door when ever a car pulled into their driveway and wait to see if it was me.

  14. How we love our dogs. And you are so right, the tropics would be hard on a retriever.

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  16. awww, what a sweet story. I ran over my son's cat (by accident). It was a horribly traumatic experience for all of us. The poor little guy couldn't be saved.

  17. Panama is a beautiful dog. I was licked thoroughly by my nephew's lab, Jake.

  18. He has an innocent look about him. What a sweet dog. I'm sorry you had to say "goodbye."

    I love the cover of B&B's book. Those guys do everything right.


  19. I love my dog to death and can't imagine giving him up. I'm so sorry you had to leave Panama behind :(

  20. So, how does it feel to live on an island? I once thought of retiring to the Loreto area of Baja, but Mexico negatives and the narco killings discouraged me. You're still in the U.S.
    Our poodle is blind and deep into dog old age. She's our fifth, and we can remember them all.