Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hey Dude...

Picture by Helga

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where the Heck is Tajo?!

I had the great pleasure of meeting Tajo on multiple occasions. It must be said, our first encounter was a bit less than successful... Tajo's interest was always to keep his owner, Kristine, as close to him as possible, day and night. My interests were.... well, let's just say that they clashed a bit with Tajo's, especially during nighttime... But, gentlemanlike as Tajo was, he did at some point reluctantly give in and accept the fact that I was, like him, quite fond of Kristine... A mutual respect was born, and never lost.

I joined Kristine and Tajo on many long walks in the forest. The funny thing is however, during those walks you would never see much of Tajo. Most of the time he was gone, off somewhere, God knows where. We would walk side by side for up to 30 minutes, in the quiet of the forest, without Tajo anywhere in sight. Then suddenly you would hear faint galloping sounds in the distance, growing ever louder, coming ever closer. Then all of a sudden... "Whhhooosshhhh", Tajo would fly past at 60 miles an hour, with a 3 meter long branch clenched between his grinning teeth... I have to admit the first time my heart skipped a beat, but I got used to it eventually...

I remember once we walked home from one of our walks, this was in Stavern so in his later days. Tajo was carrying home such an ernomously large piece of wood in his mouth, that his head kept dropping down from the weight of it - Tajo would persevere though... Cars had to steer around him so not to get scratched by Tajo's branch - Tajo didn't care... The branch was his and he would bring it home. Tajo was big on property rights. Tajo always delivered. I have to admit, I've never been a great fan of pets, or of dogs for that matter. But Tajo changed my views completely. He is, and will always be, my favorite dog ever. May you live on in our spirits, Tajo, my dear canine friend. Adieu... Merlin

Tajo - 13 years

Picture by Kristine

Tajo: a short biography

Tajo was given to Kristine by her late grandfather. They picked him up when he was only 6 weeks old and too young to be taken from his mother; but his mother was nine years old when she gave birth to him and his seven sisters and brothers, so her owners thought the litter was too much for an old bitch to handle. Tajo's father was a true breed, a Golden Retriver, and his mother was 3/4 Labrador and 1/4 Border Collie. Tajo resembled his mother more than his father, and the Border Collie mentality (very smart, active, agile, easily bored) was very strong in him.

One fateful Christmas night, when Tajo was 16 months – still a boisterous puppy - and Kristine was 17 years, Kristine took him to the shopping mall to post delayed Christmas cards. On their way back from the mall Kristine was run down by a car and thrown into a tree by the roadside. She ended up lying with her face down in the snow, unconscious, bleeding heavily, not visible from the road. The car didn't stop, but there is evidence that Tajo tried to wake her before he sat down in the middle of the road and stopped the next car that came along. When the driver got out to remove this creature that refused to let him pass, Tajo took a bite in his trousers and dragged him over to where Kristine lay. From there things must have happened very fast: more cars stopped, the ambulance arrived, and Kristine was rushed of to the hospital in what may have been the last minute – for the first 24 hours they didn't know if she would survive.

In the meantime, Tajo was put into a police car where he remained for quite a while before the police officers were able to locate his family. When he finally got back home, he was unable to relax: for days on end Tajo refused to eat or lay down - he just kept on walking up and down the floor. Eventually Kristine's mother smuggled him into the hospital's ambulance hall, and someone rolled Kristine's bed down there so Tajo could see that she was alive. Tajo was besides himself from joy, all wild and crazy and violently happy as he was at that age; even the hardened ambulance drivers had to shed a few tears - and when he got back from the hospital Tajo was able to relax again.

After Kristine's dramatic accident, Tajo became a hero to her entire family, and to the end he remained a family dog. For ten years he lived in the family house at Tranby, and for the last few years of his life, when his legs started to give in, he retired to Stavern with Kristine's dad. Tajo was a very happy, playful and adventurous pup – and he never grew up. Many will remember him thundering through the forest - preferably with as many sticks as he could manage to get in his mouth, or at least with the heaviest and biggest stick or log he could find.

In his last year, Tajo was unable to run, though he clearly wanted to, and even walking grew difficult. Still, he was never one to complain, and he remained happy and playful to the end.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tajo approaching 14 years (105 in dog years)

Picture by Helga