Ara and Slinky

by underswansea

Dogs, departed companions,
I told you that the sky would fall in
and it did. How will we see each other again
when we’re without eyes? We’ll figure it out
as we used to when you led me back
to the cabin in the forest in the dark.

           Jim Harrison



This is a sad day for our family. This is the day Ara and Slinky left us. We knew it was coming. Slinky had a large tumor on her neck. Ara was deaf and blind. Their hind ends were weak. They never complained, but everything was getting hard for them.

Ara was seventeen and Slinky would have turned fourteen in January.

On our last trips to the Palliser I had to carry them to the river because their back legs were no longer able to walk on the rocks.

They still enjoyed everything. That’s what makes it hard, I guess.

It grieves me to think of the bush without them.


Ara was bought at the local pet store, long since shut down. Lisa, Kelsie and Maddy spotted her. They brought me down to take a look. I didn’t want a dog. She was chewing a pig’s ear and I tried taking it away and she gave me an earnest growl. We paid $90 for her. She was part Terrier and part Dachshund. She was hardheaded, smart and obedient. She learned where the property line was and would walk it but not cross. Her and I had several close encounters with bears and she always kept her head, neither enticing nor backing down. Never underestimate the power of a little dog.


Hunter and I picked out Slinky. She was a pure bred Standard Wire-Haired Dachshund. She was made for the bush. Tireless and fearless. Her deep bark gave the impression of a much bigger dog. She guarded us day and night. She was a comedian and lover. Liking nothing more than to getting attention by pushing her nose into your leg, giving a smile than falling asleep on your lap. She was an avid hunter capturing and eating birds and rodents.

They were tough dogs and gave us so much while only asking for a bite of meat or cheese or a pat here and there.

We went for a good walk this morning. It was minus 20 behind Swansea. The sun was up on the peaks but not on the back roads. On the way down we stopped at the spring for a drink of water. To my surprise Ara waded into the water and across the creek.

The vet came to our house.

Lisa and I picked out a spot the week before. Before the frost got in the ground. It was a place Ara and Slinky liked. It overlooks the valley, the birds and bears and gophers.

Lisa said she felt so fortunate having known them.

It is good to be lucky.

Thanks for everything. Goodbye friends!