It’s been 3 weeks since Dante passed away. Only now, I am ready to write about it.
Dante 02/15/03 – 12/02/13
I always knew and have accepted that dogs will live only 10-15 years and I will have to let go of few dear tail wagging friend in my life. Nonetheless, it has been very difficult to let him go. I feel like there is an empty hole in my life from not having him around to walk or pet or just to see his face and eyes. The memory of him still brings tears to my eyes.
Dante was a Central Asian Shepherd (Alabai). He was born in upstate NY and came in to my life at the age of 3 months. He was a big (33 lb) baby with huge paws and big head.
Dante grew up into a powerful, loyal and fearless dog. At his prime he was about 185 lb of muscle and confidence.
In his life he achieved several confirmation titles and passed Canine Good Citizen test (CGC) and UKC Temperament Test.
He was my faithful companion, friend and protector on many hikes, camping and backpacking trips.
While I loved all my dogs, with Dante I understood and got to experience the meaning of a dog’s friendship. My previous dogs were with me when I was a child or a teenager. With the dog of my teenage years, Doberman named Malva (who I still love and miss), I was not able to do many things due to financial or age restraints. On the other hand, during Dante’s life I had an opportunity to go hiking, take camping trips, participate with him in conformation shows, and engage in obedience and protection training. He was my faithful companion and partner in everything I dragged us into.
Dante and I , hiked the hills of NY state and Allegheny National park in PA. We camped in Adirondacks and ran through neighborhoods in NY and NJ. We went to conformation shows in 3 states and slept in motels and camping tents. Through all, Dante stayed by my side and faithfully followed my lead.
Most of all, with Dante’s help I learned how to raise a dog. I’ve made training and handling mistakes. I brought him into different events and tried various methods. Through it all, he patiently endured my antics and was happy to learn and explore with me.
On several occasions, Dante defended me and my other dog from aggressive dogs and twice he was by my side to remind some people that it is a bad idea to mess with an Alabai and it’s owner.
But few memories are as dear to me as his insistence at giving paw when he wanted attention. His greetings when I would come home to a happy wagging tale and two large front paws slamming down on my shoulders so he can lick my ear. Few things can surpass the joy in the dog’s eyes at the sight of it’s owner.
Dante will always hold a special place in my heart and I hope his spirit will guide and help my next dog.
Rest in peace my dear friend.
ps. Sabak (russian for dog) was what I would say to him when I didn’t call him by name 🙂
oh my gosh thats so sad! my dog bj passed away recently too and i was soooo sad
Steve this is such a beautiful way to honor Dante, it was a pleasure to read of his love, devotion, and antics, one day we’ll all be together again!
beautiful steve ❤ i started to cry for you and your loss… animals are like children to me, so i can def empathize the love and pain.