My sweet, dear Ralphie,
What a glorious five months we have had together!
How do I begin to thank you for helping me “step out of my comfort box” this winter? Â How do I begin to thank you for all of the laughter you brought into my life? Do you realize what a gift you have been for me?
You have been the best companion!!! Â I cherish all the memories of our morning walks in the woods at Great Pond. Â There was always something new and beautiful to discover. Â Remember the 3 deer we saw the day after one of the many blizzards we had? Â They were framed against the evergreen trees layered in fluffy snow.
Great Pond Woods, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
How you love the snow! Â It would be just a matter of time before you flopped down and began making your “snow angels!” Â
Thanks to you, my friend, I got outside in all kinds of winter weather and I am so grateful. Â I have wonderful memories of big snowflakes gently floating down from the night sky. Â Standing in the middle of the backyard, in a snowstorm was something I would not have done by myself. Â So, thank you, Ralphie. Â It is such a wonderful memory. Â As is the night of the full moon shining brightly in the backyard. Â The trees were lightly covered with ice and glistened in the moonlight while the snow on the ground sparkled like diamonds that had been spread all over the backyard. Â Unfortunately, no photo could do justice to the beauty.
The morning after one of the blizzards was wondrous as the rising sun kissed the treetops. Â It is because of you, Ralphie, that I got to see this impressive sight! Â Thank. you!
And….these beautiful snow-laden trees in our neighborhood.Â
Another place you liked to walk was in nearby Scarborough at the Pleasant Hill Preserve. Â You, David and I hiked there a couple of times when David was home. Â Another time, we had Cailey for a sleep-over and the three of us enjoyed a morning at the preserve. Â
The Portland Headlight was another great memory spending the afternoon walking around the trail close to the ocean! Â You are so darn photogenic, Ralphie!
I don’t believe you had ever been to the beach before I took you to Higgins Beach in Scarborough! Â Â You loved it there but you made it a point to roll in the wet sand and splash in any puddle you came across. Â It was just too much work to clean you after a trip to the beach, so sadly, we didn’t spend much time there!
We had fun exploring the trails and woods in the Augusta area, didn’t we? We explored the wonderful trails at the Reservoir in Hallowell. Â One day, we saw an owl!
There are so many old rock wall formations throughout the Reservoir Trails.
Together, we enjoyed the art that nature created!
For some unknown reason, I didn’t take many photos at the Reservoir, but I did snap a couple later this spring. Â
Also, in Hallowell, Maine, we explored Jimmie Pond Wildlife Management Area. Â The walk along the stream was so pretty.Â Thank you for making me snowshoe more! Â If not for you and your need for a good daily walk, I probably would have found some kind of excuse not to go.
Thank you for getting me outside after the rainstorm. Â If not for you, I would have missed the beautiful rainbow!
When we weren’t outdoors, we did our exercises inside. Â You were always such a help and so encouraging!
No, Ralphie, you are not in the way!!!
The “yoga coach!”
Stretching with Ralphie! Â That is my purple top his head is resting next to.
You are such a clown and always made me laugh. Â How you loved your “treat balls!”
This is your “I want some treats in my ball” look!
The red treat ball was too easy for you to get your treats, so I bought you a more challenging one. Â Remember the first time you tried it and no treats came out? Â You looked at me as if to say “What the heck?” Â How I laughed. Â After a little practice, you became very adept at maneuvering that new ball to get the treats.Â
You have such a sweet personality. Â I loved “hanging” with you during the storm days!
There was the time that you hurt your hip and you were so patient letting me put a heating pad on it. Â I don’t know if other dogs would be so tolerant! I Â am glad to say that it did get better!
I love the way you scratched your face each day.Â
You have such a sweet face! Â You are my “gentle giant!” Â
People always commented on how tall you are for a Golden Retriever. Â When I explained that you were a cross between a Golden RetrieverÂ andÂ a Great Pyrenees, they understood. Â I call you my “Golden on stilts!!!”
Bath time was not your favorite but as always, you cooperated!
I do believe that you loved how soft and fluffy your fur was after the bath, which helped you through the process!
And speaking of being tolerant….how about when I took your picture with the deer antlers for Christmas? Â I believe I definitely humiliated you with this picture but you were so darn cute!!! Â Thank you, Ralphie!
Through the long winter months, you were a great bed buddy! Â You kept me on a schedule, too, by letting me know when it was time to go to bed!
Are you coming to bed?
Remember the time that Kelly was staying with you while I was on a trip? Â Kelly didn’t know which side of the bed was yours. Â The first night, the two of you battled for your side of the bed. Â The next night, just to make certain she understood, you went to bed early and claimed your side. Â Kelly got the message and there were no more sleep issues after that. Â Ralphie, you are too funny!
You have been home with Alice, your owner, for a week now. Â It was so bittersweet saying so-long to you. Â Alice’s shoulder is all healed now and it really was time for the two of you to be reunited. Â I was happy that you were excited to see Alice. Â She later told me; however, that when I drove off, you cried! Â I thought I would sob when I dropped you off but I amazed myself by staying composed.
For me, the worse part of you going home was walking into my empty house. Â Although you are a very laid-back dog, your size commanded such a presence, especially in my small home. Â Gosh, how I missed you that first night….especially going to bed….did you hear me talking to you all the way at Moosehead? Â I just couldn’t walk up those stairs without calling for you to tell you it was bedtime!
You continue to be with me, Ralphie. Â Whenever I see the picture of the Golden Retriever on my calendar, I think of you. Â
Or, whenever I look at the sweet plaque that Alice gave me as a thank you….I think of you.
This is so very true!
I miss you more than you can imagine, Ralphie but I know that you will be back to visit one day soon. Â So thank you, my dear friend, for making such a long and hard winter so enjoyable. Â I love you, Ralphie….you are always with me in my heart.