Tasha's Page

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October 1982 - February 1997

There are so many great pictures of Tasha, that it's hard for me to choose from them. As you can see, she certainly was a great poser. This picture was taken last spring, less than a year ago, when Tasha was 13 1/2. We walked along a trail on the side of the mountain we live on, where she loved to try to go on walks by herself (much to my dismay.) She was VERY good at sneaking off when I blinked my eyes or ran inside the house to get a drink or something. And she was so very healthy until she reached 14. Noone ever guessed her to be more than 5 or 6 years old. (Yes, I did have my hands full, and so glad that I did!) T-girl didn't stop acting like a puppy until she was about 10! I mean in the aspect of vivacity, enthusiasm, playfullness, all of this constantly...not a moments rest. Finally when she reached her more "mature" years, it was okay to be inside the house and lay down awhile. But all I had to do was say the word, and she'd be bounding towards the door.

Keep scrolling down for more pictures and little bits of Tee's life with me, and try back here in another week, because I'll have done more here by then. Planting a perennial shade garden beside Tasha, here in the woods on the mountain, where she lays now, and working on getting Tasha's page up and running is one of the things that is helping me deal with not having her with me. T-girl's markings are black and tan and white, but without color you can't see the subtle shadings. Iíve gotten most of the pictures in color now, and there are a couple of new ones. Also, the story of Tasha, The Hero, follows. Please let me know if you want me to link to the page of your loved one.



Tasha, The Hero Dog (The long awaited story.)

It was February in Syracuse, and Tasha was 7 years old. We'd moved there so that I could finish my undergraduate degree at State University of New York, and during this cold night at about 11:00, Tasha, Lenny and I were upstairs watching The Shining. I was doing laundry, too, so during the commercials, I'd go down to the basement to transfer the clothes from washer to dryer. Of course since it was a scary movie that we were watching, Lenny and I were both a bit jumpy, and it made going into a basement a little frightening also. Tasha wasn't bothered by it at all, though. While we were watching the movie, I heard a noise, sort of a bang, from downstairs, got frightened, and said "Did you hear that?" Lenny said yes but it was probably nothing. All three of us listened for any other noises, and Lenny and I didn't hear anything else. Maybe it was a mouse, or a branch hitting the house, or imagination. Tasha, on the other hand, listened very closely from the doorway of the TV room. Tee and I went to the top of the stairs to listen more, during which time Lenny said "Don't worry, it's just because we're jumpy because of the movie." Well, Tasha started barking and wouldn't come back into the TV room with me, so I said that I was going to check things out downstairs, since she wasn't going to calm down, and there was probably something amiss. As soon as I made a move towards the stairs, Tasha bounded down at top speed. Well, when she did that, I knew for sure that something was wrong. I went down after her and followed her past the front door, past the living room, and into the kitchen. I saw her sniff the sink, the phone, the table, and the back door (which was permanently closed and nailed shut.) I saw snow on the kitchen floor, and it would have melted if it had come in when we got home several hours earlier, so obviously someone had just come in. What I assumed, was that someone came in, grabbed some stuff, and ran back out the front door again, so I called Tee to come to the front door with me, which she did. But when I opened the door and told her to "Go Get Him!!!!" she did a bit of disobeying. At first, she wouldn't even go outside. Finally, after many commands from me to "Go get him", she went out onto the porch, sniffed the railing at the porch steps, came back to the front door and sniffed at the door jam, then came right back into the house, and went immediately back into the kitchen. It was then that I noticed all the flashing lights and search lights coming from a whole lot of police cars at the bottom of the hill, down the street. I yelled down to them "Are you looking for someone?" And someone shouted up to me "Yes! Is it a tall, black guy up there?" I said I didn't know, then they yelled up "Is there blood?" I looked at the places that Tee had sniffed at so vehemently on the porch and there was blood on each spot. So I told them yes, and they said "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!" At that point, I had to drag Tasha out of the kitchen (she had her nose plastered against the door to the basement) since she didn't want to leave (and I certainly wasn't going to leave her in there with some maniac), and as the three of us went outside (none of us with any shoes on) a whole bunch of cops with guns ran inside. WOW! Anyhow, time passed, and the cops eventually brought out this drugged up guy with a knife, who was hiding IN THE BASEMENT!!! Imagine what might have happened if I had gone down to finish the laundry, and T-girl hadn't been there to protect us. We would have just thought that the noise was our imagination because of the scary movie. After it was all over, and we were in our living room with the police, giving statements, Tasha growled and showed her teeth. (Well, wouldn't you, if there were a bunch of strangers with guns late at night in your house?) I apologized for her behavior, but the policeman said "Hey, that's okay. She's a hero dog. She can do whatever she wants." Those were his exact words. Honestly. She didn't have to do that to be a hero in my eyes, but I'm glad she kept us all safe.


Tasha and her mom, Shalah Khan, also known as Tee and La.

La was the most lovable, sweetest Samoyed on earth. One wonderful day, La got outside when she was DEFINITELY NOT ALLOWED OUT!!! But you know how it is when children live in the house too and don't follow the rules. Thank goodness for that accident. La met Tee's dad (either a German Shepherd or Shep/Doberman mix, we thought.) I'm so glad for that day. Tasha was born in my bedroom, and boy, was Mom upset about the rug. Tasha turned out to be an only puppy. La, though she looked like she had a litter of 6 or so, only had 3 puppies inside. She labored for so long that I thought something was wrong, so I went to wake Mom for help (it was after midnight.) Mom delivered the first puppy, who had been too big to make it out alone. It was too late. Then she helped the next puppy out. That one was fine! La had to go to the vet to deliver the third puppy since La was so exhausted that she might not have survived a C-section. (That puppy was VERY big.)

I think she was quite okay with not having any littermates since she was really a "loner" anyway. And she had me and La to play with...and my three younger brothers. Unlike most newborn puppies, Tasha would crawl away from La when she was done nursing, and go to sleep stretched out long. But then when she woke up again and wanted to nurse, she couldn't find La since her eyes weren't opened yet. Either La would have to go over to her or I would hear her whimper and carry her over to her mom for her milk. So I guess I was partially her "mom" too, right from day one.

La was such a good mom. One day when T-girl was old enough for solid food, we gave each of the "pets" a bone for a treat. One for La, one for Tee, and one for Whiskers, our beautiful, 9 year old, black and white cat. What do you suppose La did? She took the bone from Whiskers and saved her own bone. When Tee was done with hers, La gave her another one. And when she was done with that, La gave her the third bone. Puppy Tee got ALL THREE BONES!

My Mom and her Granddog

Tasha went with me almost everywhere. This picture was taken when we went to the Grandparent's camp in Maine. Tasha loved to go swimming, though I had to teach her how. At first, she would just be "treading water", making HUGE splashes with her front paws. Once she learned how, though, she was just like a water dog... you couldn't keep her out of it, be it a lake or pond or stream or puddle.

And Mom just loved her granddog to pieces, even though I broke the rules when I kept that puppy. When Tee was 6 weeks old, Mom said it was time to find someone to take her. Welllllll , that was not okay with me. So, since she wouldn't agree to me keeping her, and since I was returning to college in just 2 weeks, I told her that I'd "give the puppy away back at school, so I can visit her and watch her grow up." I suppose you can guess what happened. And even though Tasha was not allowed at Mom's house for the first few times I went home, Mom finally gave in. Not only that, Mom fell in love with Tasha, and if too much time passed between visits home, Mom and my brothers would ask when I was bringing Tasha, that they missed her, it had been too long.

T-girl loved to go to Mom's also. At Mom's, Tasha would always sit or lay next to Mom. (and she'd just flip when Mom visited us!) So, I'd visit my Mom and she'd visit her Mom. Tasha was what you might call an alpha-female. But always La was the boss. Tee knew her Mom and knew her by name. If we were going to go visit, I'd say "Want to go see La?" and Tasha would run to the door, and look out the windows, and just get all excited in general. If we ever saw another Samoyed, even if we were in the car, Tasha would just go berserk in wanting to go over to it, more so than when she saw other types of dogs. But then if we did go to it, she'd find out that it wasn't La, and loose interest completely. If it was another type of dog, she'd want to play. Yup, she knew and loved her La.


T-girl giving me kisses in front of the camera.

At Mom's, when Tasha was 13...She just always wanted to give me kisses. I had to be careful to keep my mouth closed, lest a wet doggy tongue slipped in there! But that was difficult, because she always made me smile and laugh. God, I love that dog so much!

Tasha and Me at Bash Bish Falls

She was so great there! Playing stick and swimming! Yeay! Whenever someone jumped in from the top of the waterfall (about 60 feet up, I think) she'd start swimming out to "save" them. Our friends loved it and started calling her Lassie. She only got to go there once, though. This was a side trip while we were at Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival. Though she enjoyed the waterfall and the woods, the festival was no fun for her. Too much commotion and too many people that she didn't know (she didn't like that) and not enough shade. So she had to stay home the other years that I went there. But it was only for 3 or 4 days.


Tasha playing stick

...no, not the regular game, but one where she brings it almost back to you, and puts it down, then when you go to try to pick it up, she snatches it away and you're supposed to chase after her. If you don't, then she teases you again by putting it down until you get close to it, and then she grabs it up again! Now that's what I call playing stick.

I think I first realized Tasha was especially smart when she was very young, before 8 weeks old. Well, she had to play alone, when all the humans and La were busy with other things. I heard some bumps one day, coming from the stairway. Little Tasha had a tennis ball, but again was playing a little differently from what other puppies might do. She would drop the ball from the top of the stairs and watch it bounce all the way down. Then, instead of bounding after it and playing with it where it was, or following it wherever it went, she bounded down to get it, carried it back upstairs, and dropped it again so she could see it bounce down. She did this over and over; (until she saw me spying on her and came to play with me.) I guess this might sound simple, but for a dog, it's pretty good...she was thinking ahead...doing something to make something else happen. All through her life, she reinforced my belief (and lots of our friends) in her intelligence. You could never "pull one over" on her. A fake throw of the ball or stick or frisbee to make her run after it, when it was really still in your hand, behind your back, did NOT work. She ALWAYS knew that you still had it.

She knew lots of English. Probably more than I even realize. Some people say that dogs just understand tone..... not Tasha. For example, she knew La's name. And frisbee, her most favorite thing in the world, she always heard... noone could say that word in conversation unless they were ready to go play that game with her. (She could jump up 6 feet to pick it out of the air. Unlike the stick, she did bring the frisbee back, so it could be thrown into the air again.) So we decided to call it a disc. She quickly learned that word too, though we never used it when talking to her. We spelled it out. And she learned that! Tasha would act differently depending on what I said to her when I was going out and not taking her with me... If I said "I'll be right back", she seemed nonchalant about me going. If I said "I'll be back, Tee", then she would act sad, and lay her head down. No kidding, she really knew what I was telling her.


Tee and Me in New York City

Tee was 14 years and 4 months old when she died. It has devastated me, especially since my father preceded her by 2 months almost to the day. We called Tasha his "granddog" too. And she certainly was. She didn't defer to many others, both human and animal, but she knew he was the other "head of the pack" (besides me and Mom and La), even though he lived in another state. Tasha lived with him for a whole month, in New York City (!) while I was trying to find a pet-friendly apartment at school. We lived in New York City again, for a year and half, when Tasha was 9 and 10. We'd go to the park to play with other dogs who went there regularly also. And Tee and I both liked being able to visit Daddy. The tough part was trying to find someplace to go to the bathroom! She just couldn't get the hang of doing it on pavement. (I didn't think we should go into the park at night, even with a very protective, 60lb Tasha.) New York was okay, but give us the forest and fields!

Breakfast time

On summer mornings, we'd all go out onto the back porch. Joe and I, with our coffee, and Tasha would carry her breakfast outside, because she never wanted to eat alone. She had a plastic bowl, because if she wanted it filled, she'd bring it over to me or Joe, and if we didn't get up to fill it fast enough, she'd toss it up into a lap. Or just start tossing it around and jumping. If there was food in it, she liked to be able to carry it around, so that if we were in another room, she could bring it with her to eat with us. Also, do you see that she is laying on my sandals? If ever there was a belonging of mine around, that's where she'd lay down. Just in case it needed protection from anything.

Joe and Tee met each other when Tee was 12, and though it's never love at first sight for Tasha, she quickly knew he was a good guy. They became friends, and then, something that Tasha rarely does, she treated him like he was in our pack! She really loved him, even though she was really a "one family dog." Joe told me one day that he wanted to "adopt" her, so he could be her family too. Since Tasha said it was okay, so did I.

Spot, Tasha's brother

Spot decided to adopt us as his new family around the time of Tasha's 13th birthday. He found us when he was just skin and bones... 8 1/2lbs! All we had was Tee-food, so he chowed on that the first day. When noone claimed him as someone they lost, we did. Spot proceeded to put on 3lbs, and now he's on diet food because of his swaying belly! Spot and Tee got along famously. Spot even joined us when we went for walks through the woods. When Tasha went out, Spot went out. When she came back in, he came back in too. They were a pair, even though they only had a year and a half together. Strangely enough, Spot also doesn't like to eat alone, but he doesn't carry his bowl around. He just tries to lure us into the room where his food is, so he can eat with company.

Spot, being cute.

Why, you might ask, is he called Spot? Well, he has a black spot on his bottom lip, which is only visible when he meows. And also because of the spot between his eyes, which we thought at first was dirty...nope, it's a spot.


Sometimes there is someone who is just so overwhelmingly special, so very part of your heart and soul and life, someone who no words can describe the depth of connection..... I have loved all of my pets deeply, Thor, our first, a malamute; La, Tee's mom; Whiskers kitty; I still cry for them sometimes. What Tasha and I had was something I can hardly begin to describe. It was like we were made to be with each other. We were partners. Tee and Me... together always. I wait for the time when we can hug and cuddle and play together again.


If you have a site that you'd like a link to here, a memorial to someone special, or a helpful page, send me an email.

Other Loved Ones Memorial Pages

Magic Dragon's Home Page 2 Jenice's Sweet Mandy 2 I invite you to visit a web page that I created as a lasting tribute to a pet that touched my life as no other ever will. The url is: http://www.angelfire.com/wa/MySweetMandy/index.html

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You can reach me by e-mail at: cjl114@psu.edu

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