Tara’s Story


Life Is Not The Same Without You

The sun still rises in the east
And darkness falls at night .
But nothing now seems quite the same
Each day is not as bright.

The birds still sing.  The flowers grow
The breeze still whispers, too.
But it will never, ever be
The same world without you.

It’s so sad that you had to go.
Your leaving caused such pain.
But you were very special
And Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain.


(Thank you, Catherine)

“I’m tired, she seemed to say, tired of pain, tired of feeling ill. I love you, and
our life, but it is time to let me go. Remember me, and think of me, when you look
out at the ocean or picnic under a tree. I may leave you in body, but my spirit will
remain. I’ll be there when you come home from work and go to bed at night. I’ll
be by your side as you welcome new dogs into your life and I’ll be proud to share
your love. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you will see me standing,
watching, waiting. A gray blur just out of sight.”

My baby, today, May 6, at 4:30 PM you began your journey to Rainbow Bridge.  Oh how I hated to let you go, but I hated more that you were beginning to suffer from old age.   You and I fought a hard battle since you were sick with Pancreatitis last November.  You recovered but you were never quite the same after your illness.  I had to feed you a special food three times a day with a spoon to make sure you got all the nourishment you needed for your frail condition.  You accepted this and almost seemed to enjoy all the individual attention you were getting.  You insisted on going for a ride in the car every chance you got.  You especially enjoyed your trips to McDonalds for that hamburger that you loved so much.  You were even happy walking down to the mailbox to get the mail.

You were the last of the Michigan dogs.  In March of 1993 we moved from Michigan to Florida.  You were only six months old at the time.  Also making the move to Florida were Sabrina, Maggie, Bart,  Tiffany, Sandy, and your best friend, Ginger.  You missed Ginger so much when she left for the Bridge on October 5, 2003.  I know she was right there at the gate to greet you today when you arrived.  Right now you are probably busily grooming each other as you always did when you were both here.  It was a regular nightly ritual for the two of you.

You have left behind so many wonderful memories for us.  You were so excited when you saw your new backyard in Florida – a whole acre to run in.  But, being just a young puppy, you weren’t too smart.  You immediately jumped into a big mound of “sand” and started digging.  What you soon learned was that a big mound of sand was usually home to a family of fire ants.  We were treating you for all the fire ant bites for days after.  And then, of course, was the new dining room set we bought for our new home.  Within the first week, you left your teeth marks on all the chair legs and chewed a corner of the china cabinet.  We were very upset with you over this, but now when I look at the chewed corner on the cabinet and the mangled chair legs, I have to smile and remember how precious those days really were.  I remember how you used to bark and jump around insisting that we move the chair over to the fish tank every evening.  You would stand on that chair for hours just watching the fish swim around.  And you enjoyed playing with that “other dog” in the big mirror in the bathroom.  You would run back and forth barking at that dog that looked exactly like you.  And then, of course, I remember when we put in the big fish pond in the yard.  You would always sneak out and swim with the Koi.  Some of those fish were a lot bigger than you, but you swam with them anyway.  Then we had an in-ground pool installed.  You really loved to swim.  But the tropical setting where we had the pool had to be cemented and all the tropical plants had to be removed because they attracted the little green tree frogs.  You would bring your new little “friends” into the house every chance that you could.  We had frogs on the walls, the ceiling, and everywhere.  The frogs left the pool area and moved to a safer home after we removed the plants.

These are just a few of the memories that I will always cherish.  But most of all I’ll remember the love you had for everyone you met.  You will always be in my heart and I will never forget you.  Run and play and chase the frogs and swim with the fish all you want at Rainbow Bridge.

Tara’s original story continues below

In the fall of 1992 Brandi (see Brandi’s Story) left my care to go to her new, forever home. At that time Sandy was 5 years old, Sabrina and Ginger were 4, and Tiffany, Bart, and Maggie were 2.   None of them were young puppies anymore.  Having Brandi for the short time that I did made me realize how much I wanted a puppy around the house once again.

In October of 1992 Mom and I happened to go into a shopping mall pet shop to get some treats for Gypsy (Mom’s dog — See Gypsy’s Story).  I glanced into the puppy cages and saw something I had never seen before — a dappled Dachshund.  She was very small, black and tan, with white and silver streaks and “dapples” all over her body.  She was definitely a very unusual looking puppy.

I asked to hold her.  Right from the start she was a very loving, sociable little creature, unlike my first experience holding Maggie who was very frightened.  This little speckled wiener dog’s tail wouldn’t stop wagging for an instant and all she wanted to do was give kisses to everyone.  Well, I was hooked once again.

My new baby was given the name Tara.  All the other dogs at home immediately accepted her, but she formed a very special bond with Ginger.  Where you found one of them, the other one was usually right there too.  This bond remained strong throughout their years together.

In December 1992 Shelly and I flew down to Florida to visit John who had already made the move to fulfill the terms of his job transfer.  He wasn’t aware we had another puppy.  We decided to let Tara fly along as a surprise.  Normally small dogs have to stay crated and left under the seat.   When Tara was discovered, she became the hit of the plane trip.  Everyone wanted to hold her, so she didn’t stay crated at all throughout the entire flight to Florida.

At Christmas time Ginger became paralyzed and Tara was right there for her.  Even though still a puppy, it almost seemed that Tara wanted to care for Ginger when Ginger came home from the hospital.  Again, the two were inseparable.

When Tara was about 7 months old she began limping.  Her right rear leg appeared to be causing her some pain.  At first it was a limp but it progressed to the point where she couldn’t put any pressure on it at all.  After we got settled in Florida and I located a vet, we took her in to be tested.  X-rays were taken and it was discovered that she had a genetic defect in her hip socket.  She would never be able to put pressure on that leg as long as the hip socket was attached.  So Tara had to have surgery to have her hip joint removed.  In a larger dog pins would have been required for mobility, but with a dog as small as Tara, the pins weren’t needed.  In time her leg became usable once again.  

Dachshunds are known to be natural-born hunters of small prey.  Ginger, Bart, and Tiffany never displayed signs of wanting to hunt anything except their treats and their dinner.  Tara was very alert to her surroundings and showed every trait of a full-bred Dachshund.  If she caught the scent of a chameleon or a small green tree frog, she would not let it rest until she found its hiding place.   Fortunately, these little critters could climb higher than Tara could jump, but occasionally she would bring her prize into the house.  Then it would be up to me to rescue it if I could and remove it to safer ground.  Sometimes her “catch” wasn’t that lucky.

Tara’s hunting ability also taught her to dig.  We have set up an area full of sand where she can dig to her little heart’s content.  One time her digging got me in trouble which led to her getting into trouble as well.  I was in the backyard talking to my neighbor across the fence.  Tara, who normally isn’t allowed into that part of the yard. was out there with me. She found a sandy spot under the chain link fence and dug her way outside in less than 10 seconds.  Then it was as someone said, “Let the Games Begin.”  Tara took off across the front lawn with me in pursuit.  Fortunately we live in an enclosed subdivision with very little traffic.  She started running with me chasing after her.  Whe she got far enough ahead of me, she would stop to smell something or to chase a butterfly.  I would get within a foot of her and, you guessed it — off she’d go again.  This continued for almost an hour around both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the subdivision.   It must have looked really comical to anyone who might have been watching.  There was Tara with me chasing her back and forth much like something one might see in a cartoon.  Eventually she stopped to smell something that must have really held her interest.  At this point I came up behind her really slowly and grabbed her.  Game over.  This little episode led to her being restricted from that part of the yard and eventually to us burying a row of cinder blocks under the fence line so there would be no more digging under the fence.

Tara is now 11 years old and going strong.  She had a couple of benign tumors removed from her left side last year but has had no trouble since then.   She enjoys the swimming pool and is quite a good swimmer.  Now if only I could convince her that I would much rather have a nice kiss from her instead of having a slimy frog dropped in the middle of my living room.

She’s still my baby and I love her (frogs and all).


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