Way back almost twenty years ago, I served a mission for my church in Spokane Washington. There was a serial killer at large at that point and my first glimpse upon leaving the airport was a giant billboard asking for any information one might have concerning the murders. They did not catch him while I was there. Also, a volcano had erupted on the other side of the mountain (i.e. other volcanoes in the chain) barely fifteen years before. "That was long before you got there," you might say. "There's nothing to worry about." Yeah, don't care. It was in my lifetime, thus not long enough ago, but I digress.
One of the areas I served in was Post Falls, ID. Yes, I know that's not Washington, but it's only half an hour away. It's a Mormon thing.
Anyway, I met a family there whom I still love to this day. They had a dog named Shasta. Up until my mission, Shasta was a brand of soda. While in Washington I met a Shasta (girl), a Shasta (dog) and learned about a Shasta (mountain). So much Shasta.
So Shasta, the dog, was pretty chill. She had been with Steve and Jodi before there was a Steve. Shasta was a constant source of comfort to Jodi during troubled times. Shortly after I went home, Shasta went to "the farm" and Jodi swore there would be no more dogs for the Nelson family.
I got married, had kids and came back to visit a couple of times. While I was adding children, the Nelsons changed their minds and added a black and white pup they called Oreo to their family. Oreo Cookie Nelson, so dubbed by their daughter Emily was one of the first dogs my children had ever really encountered. They were terrified, but Jodi told them it was Oreo's house, and after a day to adjust they calmed down. It's kind of Jodi's fault we've had the doggy debacle repeat in our home for so many years. It's a long, nonsensical story which, if I told you'd be inclined to tell me I'm wrong. Thus I'm not telling the story.
Years passed, as they are wont to do, and Oreo went to "the farm", too. They have since welcomed a new four legged friend, Adelaide Pantalones. The Nelsons aren't dog people, they are a dog people. There seems to be only two camps of people, those who hate dogs and those who love them, so it is interesting to find a happy medium in our all-or-nothing world. I really like that.
Lastly, and here is my point, their daughter Emily was six when I met them and but for a sprinkling of years there was always a dog at her side. Now that she's grown, she has continued the tradition. Her dog Jax has been a constant, comforting presence to Emily through some exceedingly troubled times as well. I am told he is an awesome dog.
It's almost like Shasta never went away.