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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Tate


Emmy was 6 months old when we found her on PetFinder. She had been loved by a local country western singer whose career was about to pick up and she was no longer able to take care of her. The singer named her Emmy Lou after Emmy Lou Harris. Bruce was away on a business trip and Kayla was a way on a week long school trip. So Julia and I went to see the pup. We told Bruce we were just going to look, but of course we came home with her.

That first night at home we had some incredible storms. Big winds. Big lightning. Big Thunder. Big rain. During the tornado warnings, Julia, Emmy and I hung out in the laundry room. The dog was pure joy. No barking, except maybe an occasional excited one. Unafraid and just happy to be with us.

She was always that way - for the next 14 years. She was also sometimes mischievous. If there was a dish in the dishwasher that had food on it, she's find it. If there was cornbread or quick bread left out on the counter to cool within licking distance, she'd find it, be it at our home or someone else's. Julia tried to break Emmy of her counter surfing tendencies by sneaking up on her and banging a pot lid with a spoon as Emmy was sneaking up to the counter to do the deed. She liked to chase deer, bark at birds and occasionally stick her head in a backed up toilet. (It was as bad as it sounds)

One of our favorite games to play was monkey in the middle. We'd roll a tennis ball back and forth in the living room - she'd run between the two people rolling the ball and chase it -trying to catch it and bark at us egging us on to continue the game. She loved swimming in our pool in Austin and it was great fun for all of us. She'd bark at us as we swam eventually finding her way in to swim, too. She was never really good at retrieving but loved to chase balls (to catch and then drop) and to bite at the water coming out of hoses and the fountains in the pool.

Emmy loved to run - she was Bruce's running partner when he trained for the marathon. They'd run Town Lake, they'd run the neighborhood. She decided to leap over our short fence to join in the running fun of some some neighborhood kids and tore her ACL when she was 4 or 5. We were always "no heroic measures" folks when it came to dogs but she was so young and so good, so we had it repaired. She recovered well and was back to herself, but a little slower with a little less running. When we moved to Chattanooga, she was running again and leapt over an embankment and blew her other ACL and meniscus. By this time she was nearly 9 and again, she was in all other ways healthy, so we had it repaired. At this point, we lived in a 3 story house and had to carry her up and down flights of stairs for weeks. But she recovered well and it was worth it.

Emmy enjoyed our adventures with boats. When we'd take her kayaking, she'd watch the birds, feel the wind in her face and smile. When we were on the pontoon, she'd stand at the bow, poke her head out the front gate and her tail and leg "feathers" looked like a ball gown waving in the wind. The last 6 months with her on the Great Loop precious for us. How could it be any better for any of us than to spend nearly 24/7 with our "people." Emmy was always underfoot in our small boat - there was no other place to be! But as we traveled, she'd move from the floor near the table to the floor by the bed and look at us and smile when she got settled. She'd greet us at the door when we came back from an outing until close to the end when she'd greet us with a head lift from her spot on the floor.

I miss her presence on the boat. I miss having to step over her. I miss getting down on the floor with her and burying my face in her fluffy neck. I miss seeing her contentment. During height of the pandemic when all felt lost - I'd lean into her neck and whisper "not yet doggo." She helped me move forward in days when I needed a push to look up and look out. There is both sorrow and relief at the passing of an old dog that had a good life. The remainder of our trip will be easier in many ways - we can anchor without worrying about getting the dinghy down and the dog to shore. I don't need to plan cooking for the dog. But she added a rhythm to our days and endless love in our lives. I miss her dearly.

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Jul 15, 2022

What a beautiful story you've shared about Emmy. Our canine companions are woven into our lives and hearts in ways we often don't understand until they're no longer present. Wishing you both peace with her passing, and many sweet memories of her well-lived life with you.


Patricia Diviney
Jul 15, 2022

I think you gave Emmy the greatest adventure ever, how could anything beat being with the two people in the world you love most through new adventures on a tiny boat! Those were probably the most exciting rewarding days of her life which only further enriched yours. Your instincts were right on when you decided to take her with. Hats off to all three adventurers!

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