I’ve heard it said people become a lot like their dogs.
I’d be very blessed if I’ve become anything like Lichet was.
What do you say about a dog like Lichet? What do you say about one who you watched, starting as a junior in High-School, grow from a fresh-out-of-the-womb puppy into a mature, dominate dog who basically ran the home she lived in? About a dog you once held for an evening and prayed over as she, still an infant, fought Parvo?
What do you say about a dog who lived, and taught you how to?
That’s where I’m at this morning as I remember Lichet.
In recent years I only saw her a couple of weeks each annum, but like a typical dog, her love never wavered. She lived on my parents’ goat farm, surrounded by dogs and cats and animals. She was a beautiful criminal with the coat of a Labrador (her father was part Lab, part Beagle) and the brain of a Jack Russell Terrier, a breed the American Kennel Club calls “Intelligent beyond measure.” She was an escape artist who on multiple occasions, usually while in heat, got arrested by animal control after getting out, running down the street, and biting someone. She would lead the dogs as they barked at any poor soul who turned onto their driveway, God forbid they actually enter through the gate and onto the property.
Except me. She never barked when my truck pulled in. On multiple occasions I surprised my mom by entering the yard and walking in without setting the dogs off. She may have come from brilliant stock, but my mom and I were ever-amazed at how Lichet could recognize my truck’s specific sound even from inside the house and often underneath multiple blankets, which she was fond of burrowing into, versus even my step-dad’s car, which she barked at without restraint. She loved me like a good dog always loves the boy who raises them. I wish I’d been there more for her.
She also loved walks. When she was first born, I would take her on mile-long walks around Burnside Loop on Fort Riley. She resisted the leash at first, as I believe most dogs do, but within a couple of weeks had learned to love it. From that point on nobody, stranger or family member, could ever grab a leash in her presence or say the word “walk” to her without her getting excited, even after I moved out and my parents moved onto a road with no sidewalks on which you could take a dog.
This ultimately led to her demise. I’m told that one day in April she got out and ran down the road as she so often did despite my parents’ best efforts to curtail her, and was hit by a passing car.
Lichet was the best of what I aspire to be. Nearly 14 years old at her passing, she came into my life as a puppy when I was in my late teenage years and grew parallel to me into a confident, powerful animal, a protective mom then grandma who never backed down and was never intimidated. Not by bigger animals, not by other dogs, and certainly not by people. She spent her final days looking after my decade-younger brother through some of his toughest times, but her legacy is the way she looked after me through some of mine.
I learned of her death on Mother’s Day 2017.
It’s with great sadness that I write about her today.