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Almost 11 years ago - I went to a Cocker Spaniel Rescue of East Texas PETSMART event to check out the dogs .... My stepmother had found the rescue group online - and told me I should go. As I sat down to talked with Karen P, 3 year old Lisa (Lessa) crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Her story was simple - her family had moved and left her because she was going blind. CSRET had given her the gift of sight in one eye - and she was ready to move on to better things. I left that day with THE BEST DOG EVER.
She moved with me to Rhode Island when I was recalled to Active Duty. She went with me to Virginia Beach when I was stationed there. she spent time in Ohio when I deployed, moved with me back to Rhode Island, went with me to Washington State - and finally we moved to Florida. Never again would she be left behind. She was my Co-Pilot on those trips (and many others) for just shy of 11 years.
She was one of those special dogs that are quite simply amazing. While in Houston we completed basic, intermediate, and advanced obedience courses - she passed her Canine Good Citizen and likely consumed about a million greenies in the last 11 years. The vet said she might have separation anxiety - and suggested I give her a treat when I left. For 11 years she got greenies when I left - and whenever she did complicated tricks. Once she mastered the art of rolling over - well there was no looking back. She would do "roll overs" around 7 pm nightly to get a treat. While I was deployed - she "trained" my parents on the appropriate times for treats.
She preferred to sleep in (only in the last year did a 4:30 am reveille ever fit into her schedule), she never let her lack of sight in one eye stop her from chasing squirrels, birds (the seagulls in RI were a big favorite), or kites. She loved to just sit when it was windy and let the wind blow her ears. She always knew when she had a good haircut, loved watermelon, and was always the first to get in the car. She loved to chase the waves at the beach, take car rides (seriously - she would just sit by the car waiting sometimes), and swim (loved to get in the bath tub too.... my nephew Phillip even helped her a time or two).
She was never thrilled when the movers came... she would try to keep her favorite chair, but the movers always took it - and she would then be ready for the long car ride to reclaim the chair. When we moved to Rhode Island for the second time - her chair was one of the first pieces of furniture out of the truck and she got in it and didn't move the rest of the day - the movers could not believe how attached she was to that chair. The cushions have a slight dip where she liked to sit.
When she finally went completely blind - she was so independent. She routinely went out the doggy door - down 12 steps and did what she needed to do. The vet recommended that I consider a send dog - to reassure her when she became anxious at being alone (and blind and deaf). She was comforted by having Lady - and often I would find them together. When we moved to Florida she was able to swim in her very own pool. She enjoyed sitting on the deck and just enjoying being outside.
She will be missed - but she made a ton of memories and a ton of fans.