This dog.

This dog. This place. This time.

My dad never had another dog after Hans passed. He said that no other dog could live up to Hans.

Hans was a silver German Shepherd. My mom walked him every day, super early since he was reactive (I’ve since learned all about what that means), and protective. He spent his days outside watching over us kids as we came and went from school, or explored the woods that skirted our property. After he bit the neighbor kid (who was climbing all over him), he protected us from a chain attached to his dog house. As soon as my dad got home in the evenings, Hans came inside and followed my dad everywhere, lying by his chair, hovering while he worked in the garage, following his every move with his eyes.

And now, my Tashi watches over me. This girl has a silly side that allows her to play and prance and hop around. But she has decided that her job is to shadow me, to move when I move, to anticipate my needs with only a change in my facial expression or a soft request ‘Tashi, give her space.’

Today, we walked Elsa with Tashi. My girl knew exactly what I needed her to do in order to assess this new dog’s dogability. Her body language, her calm leadership, her dog-ness put Elsa at ease and gave her the direction SHE needed to figure out what it means to move beyond being a mom-dog.

Elsa is exhausted after her big day (which lasted about 30 minutes!). Tashi is asking for more. With a pat on her head and a glance to my side, Tashi stands down, lies behind my chair to await the next assignment.

If I’d stopped welcoming dogs after my first, perfect girl, Kiko, I’d never have known any of the moms who have crossed our threshold. And that means, I’d never have known this truly amazing Tashi.

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