We pay tributes to those we love. A tribute is a gift.
As an empty nester and mom to two adorable dogs—Patches and Indygo (Indy)—–my dogs have become my babies.
My friends and neighbors, Marjorie and Randy, recently lost their beloved friend, companion, and baby—Dakota, a nine-year-old, chocolate-brown Lab.
No more will Dakota charge up the gravel drive to romp with Patches and Indy or drop mud pies (land mines) on our lawn. And no more will Dakota gobble Halloween treats.
Here’s a story from Marjorie—a gift in remembrance of her baby—Dakota.
Dakota and the Three Bandits
Story by Marjorie Neilson
Written by Tracy Campbell
We never got kids trick-or-treating, so I didn’t have to worry about scary props, eerie lighting, not even a pumpkin. But every Halloween, I strapped a dragon costume around Dakota’s middle, plopped a horn hat on his head, and secured the bow under his furry chin.
With his tail swaying from side-to-side, we’d jog to the neighbors.
We climbed the front steps. I rapped on the door. Dakota cocked his head, quite aware we were at the wrong entrance. He wiggled his rump, and sat patiently waiting to see what would come next.
A front porch light flickered and then brightened. Dakota leaped up and wagged his dragon tail a mile-a-minute.
The door opened. Two familiar faces greeted us. One grinned, and the other pressed a wet nose against the screen door. Cole whined, scratched his head, and probably thought, Why is Dakota at the front door? Only special company ever uses this door?
I chanted, “Trick-or-treat.”
Dakota’s dragon tail danced.
I extended and pulled open Dakota’s treat bag. “Give us something good to eat, or be prepared to smell our stinky feet!”
Our neighbor M.J. clutched her stomach and doubled over. Cole slapped his paw across his big, brown eyes.
We giggled like two school girls.
Dakota lifted a paw and scratched his claws down the screen door.
M.J. produced two, extra-large dog bone cookies from Cole’s stash. She pushed open the door and dropped one in Dakota’s bag, and Dakota devoured the other before it left M.J.’s hand.
All of a sudden, a vehicle whizzed by.
The van’s back tires spun, spitting gravel, and then ground to a halt at the end of M.J.’s driveway.
The hairs on the back of Dakota’s and Cole’s neck stood on end.
A door flung open. M.J.’s eyes grew larger than the full moon.
Out flew Batman, Robin, and the Joker.
“We never get trick-or-treaters,” M.J. said.
Three tiny tykes mimicked my Halloween cry. “Give us something good to eat! Or be prepared—-”
Dakota howled, tilting his head toward the partially shrouded moon.
“Quick, M.J.! Hand over Al’s chocolate bars.—”
A horn honked, capes flapped, and tykes high-tailed it back to the van with Dakota in hot pursuit.
M.J. furrowed her brow. “Now the kids will blab to their friends at school that I hand out family-size chocolate bars.”
“You’re right,” I said. “And next Halloween, a caravan will show up at your front door, and out will fly witches and goblins galore!”
I bet the following morning those three tykes bragged to all their friends at school about the humongous chocolate bars they “lifted” out from under the dragon’s nose as he stood guard in front of the house lying low in the valley.
Little did M.J. know that Marjorie dressed Cole in the same costume when Marjorie dog sat. It’s amazing what dogs will do for a treat!
M.J., now you know how strange your neighbor is! Present company excluded. 😀
I can’t resist sharing another photo of Dakota!
The Captain of the Segwun, impressed by this amazing dog, announced to the passengers, “Ahoy, mateys! Watch out for dee pirate dog. He’ll be stealing those there treats right out of yur pockets. Yo-ho-ho!”
So long, farewell, Dakota!
We miss you!
And Indy—whine, whimper
Marjorie, thank you for sharing your memories of Dakota with us. 🙂
Dakota’s D.O.B. – February 16, 2003
He passed peacefully on October 5, 2012
Watch for a future announcement that will feature other adorable babies pets.
Patches and Indy, my other two muses, would love you to send in a photo or two, along with a short-story, which they’ll showcase here on my their blog. Please submit your photos in JPEG format, and include their birthday, addressing it to Patches and Indy. Click here for the email address.They can’t wait to show-off your pets!
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