Hub died on Friday evening, waking from a nap with a start and then collapsing. Attempts to treat him at an emergency clinic failed. It was very unexpected and came after a day of swimming, running, and riding around in the car with me while I did errands. He held on long enough to say goodbye to his best friends, Judy, Isaac, and Andrew.
He was just a dog, but over his seven and a half years has worked his way into our routine so thoroughly that it is hard to begin to re-lace our lives now that he's gone. For me he was an enthusiastic running companion and a wonder to watch in the water. He was a photographic subject, the star of my video Canis Lupus Mobius. He made the Parting Shots feature in Nikon World, flying toward Flathead Lake with his accomplice Jack. Most of all he provided enthusiasm and motivation to get out and see the land in any weather, both by foot—running, hiking, and skiing—and by paddle, although actually riding in a canoe never became one of his strong points. To that list Judy would add bicycleing, a skill they developed in the two years of my absence. Few dogs can claim to be such a source of stability and humor through two masters degrees.
As we gather his toys and sweep up the last of his hair, we are trying to hold on to the memory of such a wonderful animal. Among the events that come to mind are the tipped canoes and lost shoes, the large excavation under the porch, the mysterious fate of a certain tuna sandwich, and Hub's hundred miles at the wheel as our disabled van was towed to Missoula.
Although there is a lot to be learned from watching a dog like this, his best lessons were the ones he taught by the way he lived his life. Enjoy what you happen to be doing. Love your people. Keep track of your friends. We'll miss his example.