Emma, a tail-wagging golden retriever, loved leaf piles.
Leaf-raking day was a tail-wagging treat for our autumn-loving golden retriever.
Every dog has its day, and for our dog that was the day we raked leaves each autumn. My wife, Angela, and I dislike raking, but our golden retriever Emmy always felt quite differently about the task. Emmy adored being outside in the crisp autumn air. Her favorite game was to retrieve rocks or sticks and hide them in a pile of leaves. She romped from one pile to another with one goal in mind—to scatter all the leaves Angela and I had raked so we had to do it again. As our rakes moved back and forth, so did Emmy’s wagging tail. While we grumbled about raking (and re-raking) the leaves, she bounded around the yard in a state of pure bliss. Emmy had everything a golden retriever could ever want on a cool leaf-raking day: piles of leaves to dig through or lounge on, a rake to grab, an occasional squirrel to chase, and—most of all—her two buddies to play with in the yard. Golden retrievers love the outdoors, but they love people just as much. So when you combine the two you have dog heaven! As autumn approaches, that is where I hope Emmy is. She lost her battle with cancer in February on a frigid day. But as hard as that day was for Angela and me, it will pale in comparison to leaf-raking day. For the last 12 years we had a cherished companion to entertain us and make us laugh, no matter how many times she messed up the piles we had raked. This fall there will be no fourlegged furry friend peeking out from the leaves. And there will be no giggles as we watch a golden retriever try to carry around the rake as if she wants to help out. Emmy gave us the gift of making raking less of a chore. I think she was put on this earth to make us smile. Whenever we had a bad day, she was there to hug or pet, and she always made us feel better. She was as lovable as she was loyal. We called Emmy our best friend, but she was really a family member. As the leaves in our backyard start falling this year, a few tears may fall as well—especially when we reach for our rakes. Meanwhile up in heaven, Emmy probably is resting on a pile of leaves with her tail wagging.
David’s dear dog, Emmy, loved to romp and play in the fall leaves.