Sadly, the time has come to say goodbye to beautiful Tiffany. My family’s 13 year old german shepherd dog passed away last night in her sleep.
I first saw Tiffany, Tiffy or Tiff, as she was often called, out the window of a train as it pulled into Rockhampton station. My family were there to greet me, back from my first semester at university, and there was this floppy earred puppy cuddled in my brother’s arms.
Six months later, she was a lot bigger and had developed a distrust for strangers, normally barking loudly at them, but she still seemed to remember me from that first stay. When Beatrice, now my wife, first visited my parent’s property, Tiffy immediately treated her as part of the family. Somehow, she just knew.
We had a number of dogs before Tiffany, but she was the first one who worked out. We joked that it was because we had finally named a dog with something other than a name beginning with “S”. She rarely wandered from the house, despite the lack of solid fences. The exceptions were when she heard thunder or gunshots, both of which frightened her (she even broke through the back door once, in fear) and when she was accompanying her male puppy Wolf (later sold to another family). She was neat and tidy (except for shedding hair everywhere), doing her business where we would never tread in it.
Tiffany always looked out for Mum. When Mum when down the hill to pick some fruit, Tiffany would either accompany her down there, or sit at the top of the hill and watch over her. Tiffany wouldn’t even follow us down to the letterbox if Mum wasn’t going as well.
She loved water. Turn on a tap and she would be there lapping up the stream of water. She would run down into our frequently empty dam and paddle around in the brown water. Best of all was when we drove her to the beach and she stand in all the pools of water and splash through the waves, chasing anything we threw into them.
Unfortunately, Tiffany also loved rocks. She would chase them when thrown, carry stones around, then roll them down the hill. Eventually, she lost most of her teeth chewing on the big chunks of quartz stone as well. Mum ended up handfeeding her at times.
One of my favourite memories of Tiffany is of one Christmas when I was up at my family’s home in Queensland. One Christmas Eve she was strangely restless. We said that she was watching out for Santa Claus. Then on Christmas morning we let her into the house and she was so excited, just like a human child. Fortunately, we had a present for her, wrapped in newspaper, which she tore open and played with.
Last time we visited my family, for Dad’s funeral, I spent as much time as I could with Tiffany. She was suffering arthritis and needed help to lift her into the back of the van. But we drove her down to the beach and let her walk in the water. You could just see how happy she was. I’m glad we got a chance to say goodbye to her.
Tiffany was the best dog that I’ve ever known. Loyal, playful, intelligent, friendly to family, but defensive around stranges who hadn’t been allowed into our circle. And she looked so beautiful too. She was a very special member of our family.
Tiffany, you have shown us what a dog should be. We’ll be thinking of you when we sit down to watch Inspector Rex and probably shedding a tear. You are loved and you are missed.