« Okua The Opportunistic Wolf Dog, Farewell »

It finally got to the point in our moving when it was time for us to let Okua back to her family after having her for about 10 months. What a bummer. We looked for places where we could include her in our plans, but it's hard to find a place for a big dog. If we were able to, it was well past what we could afford. Aside from the hair and her love of rummaging through the trash when we were gone, she was the best and would go unnoticed in any house. She barely barked, she was very well house trained, never had fleas, or any of that stuff.

Now, she did take a liking to sausages, and had a greedy streak in her sometimes. On several occasions, she would help herself to the wonderful Italian sausages from Costco. She got more and more opportunistic as time went on. First, it would be swiping one off the plate. Then it was snagging them out of the Foreman grill. Then tugging the whole grill (turned backwards, shoved into the corner with other stuff around it) until it crashed to the floor and shattered all the plastic. Most recently, there was a situation when a plateful of sausages was hidden, covered, and set under a moderately high cabinet where she should not have been able to reach. She brought the whole mess crashing down. By the time I had arrived on the scene in about 10 seconds, she had eaten four of the eight sausages and was going for the rest. My ceramic plate exploded into even more pieces than the grill.

She loved to run away, usually by jumping the fence on the south side of the yard. Only that fence. She had it down pat. Sometimes she'd get let out under the pretense of having to wizz, and then would steal away at 3 am. More regularly, when I would come home from work or errands, and would check my email, she would make a dash for it. As summer approached, she was able to be left in the back yard to carry on like a queen, sitting in her favorite shade spot. Usually she wouldn't run away then, but sometimes she did. One day, I came home from work and she was gone, but at that point, the garage and front area was still intact and it was like a huge doghouse for her. My roommate evidently left the gate ajar and she took off. I had no idea where she would be so I just sat and waited. Finally, I got a call from Phil who gave her to us. He lives about a mile away. He called to tell me he had a guest who seemed lost... So I went on over and brought her back. She just wanted to say hi, and visit Alcott park right behind Phil's house, where everyone knew her name. Usually, I would find her a few blocks away, sniffing some trash or hunting some hapless rodent or bird. Sometimes, we'd get a call and find her over at the park near our house, where people would have her sitting there looking like one of the family.

Her more recent hobby has been to be the mouse police here. Our back yard has a partially terraced slope with lots of ivy on it where mice hide. Okua the wolf dog would act like a cat as she pounced on the little buggers. She would spend hours in her feline persona playing this little game. I don't know if she ever caught any but it kept her from jumping the fence and making one or both of us have to go ride around to find her.

Or she'd get stir crazy once we lost the garage and had to keep her indoors while we were gone, and sometimes while we were here if it seemed she run. She could tell time and when it was about 9 pm, she would come in and stand stubbornly in the doorway to my office and demand to be taken on her walk. She loved walks at night. We would take her without a leash so she could really run. Then we started to take bikes and would run her like mad till she was a panting fool ready to lay down for the night. We'd ride and run all through the neighborhood and wear her out. She can run like no one's business. Sometimes even on the bike, she was formidable and we had to race to keep up.

She liked to play with a rope bone we had. It was this huge yard-long thing with knots in it—the sort of thing you train a police dog with. All that is left of it now is a spun-out bunch of strands. She would tear into that like the savage beast she could be, but only for three minutes at a time, if that. Then she would set it down and walk off like it was yesterday's fad.

So for all the sausage swiping and running away of hers, today it was sort of lonely here without her. Aw, now I got myself all teared up wishing we got a house.

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