July 28, 2014

Saying Good-bye To My Sous Chef

Greta-MainGreta was my constant companion in my home kitchen; always patiently at my feet hopeful that something would drop.  Somehow or another, I’d always manage to – oops! – drop a few carrot pieces every time I was cooking.  Today’s article has nothing to do with food businesses but is my small attempt to memorialize and thank one furry girl who took a piece of my heart with her last week. 

Greta, a petit and absolutely beautiful German Shorthaired Pointer, always fought against the odds.  She’d been found shot and starving, with shotgun shells still in her shoulder, and had been so badly abused that it took more than a year before the Wyoming agency that found her felt that they could safely adopt her out.  Though she was gun shy (no real surprise there!), she was quickly adopted by one man and it was hoped Greta had found her forever home.  Unfortunately, six months later he returned the meek girl saying it wouldn’t work out.  At 6-7 years old and now a 2-timer in the shelter, Greta’s foster mom was thinking of just adopting her outright since the odds were not in her favor when the shelter received a call from my dad.


Windy day at the beach

Long before we even knew about Greta, my now-husband was living in New York City and when I would go visit he would take me to the dog park.  Odd date choice perhaps, but he’d wanted – and never gotten – a dog his entire life and he was just waiting until the time was right in his life before adding a dog to the mix.  Unfortunately New York apartments and dogs don’t always mix especially since he wanted a German Shorthaired Pointer – a breed that is notoriously high-energy.   At first he didn’t even know what kind of dogs they were which is why we ended up going to the dog park where he would point to the dogs he always watched racing around the park.

“They’re pointers,” I told him, and, as someone who always had dogs in her life, I readily agreed that dogs needed to be added to our lives with one big condition.  I wanted two dogs and explained that we could get a Pointer but I also wanted to get a rescue.  So it was decided, we’d get a Pointer puppy and find a rescue dog to adopt and complete our family.

See what I mean about those eyes!

See what I mean about those eyes!

Then one day, still dog-less but transitioning from New York to Seattle where we planned to get dogs, my sister called and let me know that there was a picture of Pointer up on her town’s local shelter page.  I took a look and, well, as you can see by her picture, I fell in love right away with her large round brown eyes.   The problem was, the shelter didn’t adopt to folks who didn’t live in the area but thanks to my dad (who does live there) working his connections, he was able to convince them that he would foster Greta until I arrived and then Greta and I could do a trial week together at my parents house under the shelter’s supervision.  Only then would they let me take her to Washington.

I might as well mention that at this time my mom was in Italy and she came home to find that her household had grown by one spotted German Shorthaired Pointer while she was away.  All she said was ‘Greta, greta, greta,’ and kissed the still-nervous dog.

Long story long – I eventually got to Wyoming, passed the trial (Greta climbed into my lap when we went back to the shelter at the end of the week and the adoption counselor said ‘I see you two have bonded!’), and was able to take Greta with me to Washington.  My husband was so excited that he flew from Seattle to meet us halfway and I tied a red ribbon around Greta – I wanted her to look spiffy as my husband was about to meet his very first dog.

Truthfully, Greta could have been rolled in cow manure and dripping wet – from the minute my husband saw her the two of them bonded.  Make no mistake, Greta and I loved and adored one another, but my husband and Greta had a special relationship.  She was his shadow and went everywhere she could with him and, when she couldn’t go with him, she’d greet him at the door with her little nub of a tail wagging (so quickly that we jokingly called it her ‘hummingbird tail’) and a ball in her mouth.

She ended up being an excellent and patient big sister to the other pointer we eventually got and the two became known as ‘The

Greta & Tyr - the Pointer Sisters

Greta & Tyr – the Pointer Sisters

Pointer Sisters.’  Together the four of us ran and/or hiked thousands of miles, snowshoed, ski-jored, wine tasted…you get the picture.  They even made the wedding list cut and were two of the only 10 folks who were invited to our wedding ceremony.

If you have a pet you know that there’s hundreds, thousands, millions of things you want to say about your best friend but words elude you when they’re most needed.  How do you thank them for their endless love.  How do you explain to others the little things they did every day that brought so much joy and laughter to your life.  How do you thank them for their selflessness and how no matter what you did they always looked at you with love in their eyes and could seemingly read your soul like no one else on this earth.

As a true daddy’s girl, she got sick while he was away on a business trip but waited until he got home to leave us. (My husband, desperate to get home and unable to get on an earlier flight as a standby passenger, finally just bought another ticket – at the outrageous last minute price – which is just one example of his love and devotion to her).  When we went to the ER vet to see her one last time and say goodbye she nuzzled her nose into my husband’s hand while I gently petted the top of her head and we whispered to her how much we loved her.  She puffed out her cheeks, always a sign of happiness, and gave us a small smile.  She died with that smile on her beautiful face.

Greta&tyr2To say she’ll be missed is an understatement.  She held – still holds – a huge piece of our hearts and our homes.  We cannot imagine our lives without her but hope that she’s playing in the big off leash park at Rainbow Bridge – chasing squirrels, antagonizing crows (she never did like crows but she loved little birds and would guard the bird feeder so the squirrels couldn’t push the little birds out), snoring loudly, and waiting for carrot bits to drop from my kitchen counter.  We’ll look for peeks of her in the early mornings as we run around the lake with Tyr and know she’ll be there to greet her sister and us when it’s our time – with her hummingbird tail wagging and a ball in her mouth.


Bless you sweet girl.  I hope the eight years we had you made up for the beginning of your life.  I hope you know how much you are loved.


12 comments on “Saying Good-bye To My Sous Chef

  • nicole on said:

    breaks my heart Jennifer. Greta was loved. Sending my thoughts for you and yours husband and Tyr. xoxo

    • Jennifer on said:

      Thank you – we spending lots of time cuddling with Tyr and laughing over our happy memories together.

  • Marie Glynn on said:

    Perfect. Perfect tribute to the perfect rescue dog. Blessings on you and Bryan for all you did for her.

    Peace my friends. Marie

    • Jennifer on said:

      Thank you – I really appreciate it and you’re right, we were so lucky to have her in our lives!

  • Debra B on said:

    Lost my big boy April 9th, I know the heartbreak and how hard it is to live without them. Thanks for sharing, I feel like I know her.

    • Jennifer on said:

      It is heartbreaking and I’m so sorry for your loss as well. They really do hold a special place in our heart and our world, don’t they!

  • kate mcgrath on said:

    Bryan and Jennifer,
    I have followed Bryans postings for many years and always sensed that his passion was driven by being a parent to a four footed “kid”.
    Bless your hearts for making such a loving home for Greta…she will be with you always. My heart breaks…having been there too many times…Hopefully one day Tyr will have a new four footed brother or sister to share life with!
    Very best,

    • Jennifer on said:

      Thank you so much Kate – both Bryan and I really appreciate your kind words and for the time being Tyr seems to be enjoying all the extra attention she’s getting.