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Kimba DalferesThis time last year one of my best friends left this world.

My dog Taz, the little miracle mutt who survived a crazy emergency surgery the year before, finally succumbed to the ravages of old age at 13+ years old. Up until his last few months he wholeheartedly continued to chase squirrels and even hauled ass after a fox that appeared quite unexpectedly in the backyard flower bed. Damn near caught him too. For most of his life he was a happy, healthy mutt from the pound who I loved dearly. I sure do miss him.

For those of you who have by chance read I Was In Love With a Short Man Once, you understand my relationship with Taz was not always one of full love and mutual admiration. We survived, sometimes barely, incidences of peeing on the Christmas tree and eating the smoked salmon off the kitchen counter. It took both of us quite a while before we fully recovered from the “ate the wedding bouquet” incident.

Over time I came to love and appreciate life with Taz, even the puppy mishaps and the stubborn “I’m not going out in the snow” tugs-of-war. Taz taught me many lessons, perhaps most importantly the realization that the Universe does not always offer advice and motivation through a dramatic burning bush or a spectacular show of nature’s power. Sometimes, if you really pay attention, quiet little lessons sneak into your thoughts in the most interesting ways. Here is my top-10  list of my favorite Taz-induced insights, let’s call them Tazisms:

1. A sad puppy face can get you out of a lot of trouble.

2. A little nap in a sunny spot is always a good solution.

3. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. We rescued Bonz the cat when Taz was 11. He rolled with it like they had always cohabitated.

4. Almost everything tastes better with a little smidge of peanut butter.

5. No matter how old you get, you still wanna run with the pack every once in a while.

6. A cheerful little wag of your tail often gets you what you want.

7. Love unconditionally; it is contagious.

8. It’s rarely fun to be stuck in the doghouse.

9. Just because you mark your territory doesn’t mean it’s actually yours.

10. Be someone’s very best and most loyal friend.

Rest in peace dear ol’ friend. I hope you’re chasing your fill of squirrels and that you’ve found a sunny place to nap on GeeGee and Grumps’ heavenly front porch.

Kimberly “Kimba” J. Dalferes is a native Floridian who currently pretends to be a Virginian. Her accomplishments have included successfully threading a sewing bobbin, landing a 35-pound Alaskan King salmon and scoring a ceramic sangria pitcher at an estate sale for $1. She also sometimes writes books such as I Was In Love With a Short Man Once. Her humor column – Dock Tale Hour – is published by Laker Magazine. She is often found hanging out on her blog The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats.

Reflections of Erma