I chose her name out of a compendium of gods and goddesses, after adopting her from the Larimer County Humane Society on February 25, 2000. It was the stupidest time to get a dog. I only had a few months of college left - I was applying for jobs all over the country, with no idea where I would end up. I had just left an unhealthy relationship. My mom had just lost their young German Shepherd mix, Ripley to a rare form of canine leukemia. It was the best time to get a dog.
She was always a wild thing, with a mind of her own. She was the consummate escape artist, from clearing a six foot privacy fence to go play with the neighbor's dogs to slipping out the bathroom window in my parent's house because it was simply too boring to be cooped up. She was a huntress, would stalk squirrels in the back yard with an almost feline stealth and patience. Her most favorite thing was to run...and run, and run. I was sorry she had to spend most of her life as a city dog, but frequent trips to my folks' property allowed her the freedom she loved. She would get so excited to go on a horseback ride that she would nip at my horse's heels. She adored a ride in the car, and got to enjoy many: solo, or later with Freya and even her foster brother Bjorn.
She was my protector, with an uncanny sensitivity and a vigilant attitude toward watch-dog duties. She slept at the top of the stairs for many years, where she could keep an eye on things. She graciously shared her dog bed with the cat, and tolerated the boisterous pushy antics of Freya.
My favorite memory of Lasya is still as crystalline and astonishing as the day it happened, in May of 2000 when I took her to Boulder with me. We pulled off from the road to take a walk along some pastures, and a field full of cows came over to investigate her. Strangely, they were not afraid of this sleek onyx predator, who stuck her black-tongued grinning face through the fence and sniffed their curious snouts. Several of the cows started licking Lasya's head lovingly...a bovine blessing such as I had never seen. From that moment I knew that Lasya was something extraordinary. An earthly creature with a deeper soul.
I am so lucky to have spent thirteen years with the best girl, Lasya Ling Ling, Queen Ring, my first dog of my own. How I loved her rich mahogany eyes and her dark shining coat, her perfect triangular ears and her gently curled tail, but most of all her dear, bold, loyal heart. May you be running forever in some endless golden field.
I adopted Freya on February 28, 2004 from the Denver Dumb Friends League. She was five years old and I knew nothing about Norwegian elkhounds. They quickly became my favorite breed due to Freya's exuberance, clownishness and affectionate nature, and I've since put in many miles and hours volunteering for the local elkhound rescue group.
Freya was my stick-tight dog, as my mom used to say. She loved being near me and when Lasya became too frail to climb the stairs, Freya and I had our routine every night of "up, up to bed." She was a chow-hound: there was nothing so exciting as Breakfast! Again! and both girls loved to eat the carrot ends every time I made a salad along with a wide assortment of other treats.
Freya had some quirks, such as being dog-reactive on-leash and being fearful of strangers, but she taught me so much about sensitive dogs. She enjoyed many adventures in our years together, from lots of road trips to visit family, hiking the Colorado mountains and helping to foster dogs. She and my foster elkhound, Bjorn, were like two little northern peas in a pod, and she was especially good with my foster chihuahua, Vlad.
Freya was such a cuddler. She would lift her front leg to have her chest scratched, and if you pet her for two hours it still wasn't enough. I miss her beautiful black-tipped silver fur with its snowy undercoat, her dark brown sparkling eyes and her joyful silliness.
The legend of the Rainbow Bridge has its origins in the Norse legend of Bifrost, the link between worlds. My two girls were named for goddesses and are now returned to myth, black and grey. Because Freya was already five when I adopted her, our time together was an all-too-short nine years. She opened my heart to more dogs and increased my knowledge with her challenges. She was Freyarella, Wallaby, Cutey-Pants, my little clown.
They both took their last breaths in their own home, surrounded by love - a choice I felt both grateful to have and reluctant to bear the weighty responsibility of. At the darkest moment I thought "never again..." but as the hair was swept away (double double coats), as sympathy cards arrived, as the decided lack of clicking toenails on the floor made the clocks' tick unbearably loud, as my hand found no familiar dog skull to rest on and the empty place next to my bed seemed to spread like a dark shadow through the house, as I picked up the first tin of heavy-but-not-heavy-enough ashes, I realized that living without a dog was impossible. I was dogless for exactly one week before Ruby came in to my life. She has some very special paws to fill.