Honouring the family dog

Honouring the family dog

One family. Three different life stages. Three very different canines. Soulful moments of a Pawsie family's journey with their beloved dogs.

June 21, 2019 By Marise Duquette

Anne-Marie had grown up surrounded by animals, but not Alain. When they met, Anne-Marie made it very clear: the family they would eventually create would include cats or dogs. The couple started with cats before welcoming 2 boys into their lives, Jérôme and Jérémie. Then it was time to add a family dog. That's when they adopted Princess, a 73-kilogram Newfoundland Lab who stayed with the family for about 5 years. But Anne-Marie and Alain started to question the bigger-than-life dog's suitability to be around kids and grew worried about their children's safety. Regrettably, they had to part with Princess.

Naka, the fifth member of the family

The couple tried their luck again. A breeder offered Naka, a German Pointer who chose his masters by firmly planting his head on Alain's thigh the first time they met. The family had no way of predicting the impact this dog would have on their lives. Naka was not an ordinary animal. She possessed an incredible soul, almost human in nature. Anne-Marie regularly found her young boys sleeping in the dog's cage with Naka. Their affection was that strong.

Alain still gets emotional when he talks about the time he got lost in the woods with Naka, without water or cell phone. To calm his growing panic, he "talked" with the patient dog as they walked without any sense of where they were going. The two wandered along a winding path for hours before they finally came upon a road. In a stroke of luck, a car drove up and brought them safely home. Alain discovered that he and the faithful family pet were 14 km from their intended destination. It was truly a test that brought them closer together.

Eventually, the children grew up and left the nest, leaving their parents with the ever-present Naka. Then one winter night last year, she got up from her cushion and suddenly ran out of the life force that had made her the family's constant companion. The next day she departed as quietly and gently as she first entered their lives, as if wanting to lessen the pain of her passing. Naka would have turned 17 years old 3 days later. She'd been part of the family since Jérôme et Jérémie were toddlers.

A huge part of their family was gone. Naka's death brought a resurgence of family memories: of the children when they were small, camping holidays, family movie parties, pillow fights, Christmas mornings and breakfast in bed. One evening shortly after Naka was gone, Anne-Marie returned to a cold and dark house—no children or dog with a wagging tail to greet her. She felt a twinge in her heart that she could not quell.

Kaya, the last born

The couple promptly threw themselves into a multitude of projects to distract themselves: a new house, major renovations, a trip to Spain. The idea of ​​adopting another dog haunted Anne-Marie, but Alain resisted, suggesting they should enjoy their newfound freedom. But one should never underestimate a tenacious woman! Prepared to do anything to achieve her goal, Anne-Marie continued her research with breeders.

When she saw Kaya, she knew in her heart that their destinies were linked—so much so that she secretly bought Kaya a pink collar. Eventually caving into to his wife's persistence, Alain agreed to meet the puppy. Upon introducing her husband to the adorable dog, Anne-Marie cast a mischievous look at her husband and took the newly-purchased collar out of her bag.

These days, as soon as she gets home from work, Anne-Marie and Kaya go on long walks that keep them active. The children, who regularly return to the family fold, are very involved with the new puppy. Anne-Marie, Alain, Jérôme and Jérémie cherish their memories of Naka and know Kaya will never replace their former pet. The new dog will carve out her own, equally precious place in the family as they create new memories together. The couple are convinced that Kaya will get on well with their grandchildren ... one day. As for the boys, they're waiting for the right moment to perpetuate the tradition and adopt in their turn. And so the cycle of life continues.

Cover photo: Alain, Anne-Marie and their sons, Jérémie and Jérôme, with Kaya

Photo 1: A dog with soul
Photo 2: Alain and the boys hiking with Naka

Photo credit: Personal collection

More like this
Copied to clipboard

This site uses cookies

We use cookies. These are small text files downloaded to your computer (smartphone or other electronic device) which save your browsing preferences and help customize your online experience. By using Pawsie, you agree to our cookie policy.

OK, I understand