This morning we said goodbye to Lakshmi. This sweet husky-wolf hybrid who struggled mightily to be a good girl was the inspiration for Heimdall’s dog Laika in the Rune Witch books. She was 14 years and 7 months old.
I found Lakshmi (then called Sierra) via a Craigslist posting in early January 2007. My beloved Nanook had died the previous September, and I thought my surviving dog and I could use a new friend. She was just over a year old, and her new temporary family (who’d had her for about three days) were desperate to re-home her. I honestly believe this rescue saved Lakshmi’s life; when I met her, she was a fearful, anxious-aggressive dog who had already been passed around from home to home several times.
Through training and therapy and a lot of love and patience, she and I worked very hard together to help her heal and learn that she was truly and finally home, but there were lasting scars from her troubled first year that were with her for the rest of her life. In her heart, she was a sweet and loving comic, a massive clown of a dog who loved being a goof and making her people laugh. To both my delight and chagrin, the love of her life was my partner, M, who came into our lives a year after Lakshmi and I found each other.
She loved hiking and going for walks and tugging on the leash; there was that one time, early on, when she’d knocked me over and then dragged me up a hill as I held onto her. She loved the woods and hated swimming; her favorite activity was wrestling with M and/or her dog friends. She had a beautiful, melodic howl, so I taught her the command, “Lakshmi, sing!” (in honor of NPR’s Lakshmi Singh) instead of “speak.” She was a mindful nanny dog to our youngest cat, Pierre, who is now 7. Her best friend was M’s dog, Butch, who died suddenly several years ago. She was a glutton for all things edible, including unattended paper products.
The last year of her life was challenged by degenerative laryngeal paralysis and other health complications. Her final days were fraught, but she was surrounded by love at the end.
Goodbye, my sweet good girl.