Prana, our beautiful golden retriever whose name means "breadth of life," isn't with us anymore. She died of cancer several years ago. But, while sharing our home, she brought such joy and love into our lives that we still miss her.
There are so many wonderful stories about the love in this dog, but my favorite is one that created an indelible image of how to graciously give what is needed without reserve.
It was an autumn day in Minnesota. But, the weather didn't seem to know the difference between fall and winter. Unexpectedly, we were hit with a big snow fall for which no one was prepared.
We have two apple trees in our backyard. Prana loved apples. When she went outside, she'd grab an apple, stick it far back in her mouth, and sneak it into the house to save for nibbling on later. The apples had been on the ground and were often muddy so I wasn't always happy that Prana had brought them into the house. Sensing my disapproval, she would turn her head so I wouldn't see her hidden treasure. It was our little game.
On the day that it snowed too early in the season, Prana went outside and I watched her from the window. I noticed that she was frantically digging holes and bringing the apples to the surface so they could be seen above the snow. I wondered why she was doing this. She seemed to be intensely occupied with some kind of mission to dig up as many apples as possible during her yard time.
When I called her back into the house, she had her usual one apple in her mouth. About five minutes later, I looked outside. The yard was completely covered with birds. Prana had dug up all those apples for her bird and squirrel friends to eat. She knew that they wouldn't have stored enough food to survive such an early winter!
Tears sprung to my eyes as I witnessed this beautiful act of unconditional love from an animal who taught us how to serve life with such grace.
-- Linda Anderson, "Live, Love & Laugh with Golden Retrievers"