Squamish is a dog town. Regardless of your preference for the pooch, there’s no denying man’s best friend has a special place in this community. Who didn’t crack up the first time they saw the "dog" bus loaded with dogs in their seats, including the big bad ones at the back. For years I tried to dodge the responsibility of owning a pooch but like a lot of things in Squamish it’s only only so long before you become assimilated.
Back a couple years while living in swanky squallor, it was great to be in the path of a constant parade of characters. One such laying low lady always came with ‘baggage’ and this time it included an abandoned dog that had to go.
Now, in the animal world it’s a fact of nature that there are lovers and there are fighters. This dog was a lover. Well trained yet horribly maintained, we fell for her hook line and sinker. Lets face it, with dogs there’s no denying the power of unconditional love. They also have the advantage of not talking, thereby fooling you into believing they’re saying just the right thing.
Juno (AKA: Negro Justice) was a female, so I guess you could call her a bitch. I was never comfortable calling a female dog a bitch for fear of just sounding silly. I heard an English bloke say it once and for some reason with the accent it seemed more official, but I’ve never been able to pull it off.
Anyway, Juno was a bitch who lived the Squamish good life to it’s fullest. She climbed the Chief countless times, including once for a wedding. She went on many rides, sometimes to the top of Diamondhead and back. And there was nothing better after a long day then plopping your belly in the mighty Squamish river for a quick cool down. Her love of leaky beer kegs and belly rubs also made her a natural fit for this crazy dog town.
Tricks? Well, does talking like Chewbacca count as a trick? If not it was still very funny whenever we heard a loud Chewbacca moan from the back of the room. The only other quasi-trick was allowing me to pull up gently on the front of her lips for the perfect cheesy Mento’s™ smile.
She was a best friend to be sure. As you may have guessed from the use of past tense, Juno succumbed to old age just days ago (pause to thank you for condolences). I like the fact that she died of old age instead of getting into the nitty gritty details. Remember when we used to say that about people? Somehow dying of old age seems more dignified, hinting at a long life and fair shot.
In the end, the passing of a good friend is never easy but there is no better reminder to appreciate what and who we have, when we have them. Now, go give your best friend a great big hug.