Personalized Dog Memorial
Gunji, Forever

One day when riding my bicycle in Coconut Grove I saw a woman coming towards me with the cutest Shih Tzu, the cutest DOG, I ever saw! How friendly with strangers this little white and silver beauty was, with a bit of an undershot jaw and a long white beard that just added to her adorableness. I stopped to pet her and complement her caregiver on how lovely she looked. Lucky woman, I thought as I rode away.

A few months later, back from a trip to McLeod Gunj (hence her name, as she looked just like a Shih Tzu I saw there following a Tibetan nun down a hill path) I was driving down a nearby Grove street on Easter morning, and what a surprise, on the side of the road, sniffing around, was the same darling dog ... but without her owner. My god! It was destined to be flattened by a vehicle or get picked up by me. She was covered with fleas, and back at home it took two hours for me and my husband to pick them off.

We then went back to where I found her and started asking the neighbors if they knew her. No luck. So we put up signs. No response. This was probably the result of her owner giving her into a friend's "care" while she went out of town, and a door being left open, a common way to lose a pet. As I found out over the 11 wonderful years that followed of being her friend, she WAS a wanderer, managing to slink out and stroll far away if you didn't watch her like an eagle.

But what a great companion! From Miami she went to live on an island called Lummi near the Canadian border, then to a cattle ranch east of San Diego riding all those distances in a U-Haul next to my Siberian husky, her big pal. Grooming her to perfection was a daily meditation I wouldn't miss for anything. A kissy darling who lives forever in my heart. (I have always been sad her original owner lost her.)

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