We have to say "happy trails" to our dear friend Oso. This big black dog has been a great companion on many of our hikes around Juneau and a willing participant in a lot of our adventures. We met him as an elderly dog–none of the silliest of a puppy; he had a honest spirit–happy when he wanted to be and cranky when he felt necessary. For a long time I felt he didn't like me, tolerated my presence at best, but then things changed and he looked happy to see me. I never considered that I would have to gain trust from "Man's Best Friend" but I did with Oso.
I will miss the attention he paid to anyone who had their right hand in their pocket (where the treats were, of course) even if he didn't know them, his anticipation for turn-around-treats on hikes and walks, the flop of his ears as he trotted along the trail (day dreaming of treats, no doubt), his excited bark as he approached the house in the car from a couple blocks away, and his singing of "Happy Birthday" whenever anyone started the song. Not just any song, but only "Happy Birthday."
I will miss having to give him a spoonful of yogurt when he first got up in the morning so he wouldn't throw-up, prying the dead salmon out of his mouth as he tries to woof them down at Boy Scout Beach, and cleaning his long black feathers of twigs and other things that get caught in fur.