On day two of Dakota's Most Excellent Adventure in Kentucky, she barked for John to take her out. He dutifully grabbed her leash and took her out. Because when Dakota and E.F. Hutton talked... everyone listened! But "going" quickly became secondary! For within moments she spotted the very large BULL in the adjoining field. And naturally, he was standing RIGHT by the fence. And that was ENTIRELY too close for Miss Dakota's liking. So there is one thing this country girls knows... DO NOT MESS WITH A BULL!!! Dakota sees MR. big, bad bull and promptly throws her little head back and starts barking with the most ferocious bark that a 6 week old St. Bernard can muster. CAN YOU SAY CRAZY??? A 6 week old pup is NO match for a BULL. He could have squashed her with one hoof. But SOMEBODY did not give Dakota the memo... and that bull snorted, pawed and AMAZINGLY turned his head and walked away. I'm pretty sure, Dakota thought he made a wise move! Shortly thereafter, John was completing her registration papers and couldn't quite think of a name. And the BULL story came back up... so little MISS became Ulrich's Dakota Lionheart. Because that girl had no fear and obviously that bull didn't know who he messed with! lol
On Saturday, September 12th, we had a rain shower. After that shower the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen in the 12 years we have lived in our home appeared. It was vibrant and HUGE. It looked like it stretched from one end of the horizon to the other! A few moments later, I returned to our porch to take another peek and found not one, but TWO rainbows! It was beautiful! Can you say #HERESYOURSIGN?
So... we made her comfortable and we waited. When she went out she would lay down where she could see the other dogs and us. We spent time with her big head in our laps, while we sang songs from her puppy hood and rubbed her ears. We cried... oh, how we cried... but not once did she cry... She was the strong one for sure... The night she crossed, John heard that strong distinctive bark. And he went to check on her. He said it sounded just like the old Dakota. When she saw him, she immediately settled back down. He said he knew as soon as he saw her it was time. Amazing thing... she gathered her loved ones around her with that amazing bark to let us know she was going. She was the strong one, the one in charge... even in the end.
So when I say she changed my heart forever... let me explain. John and I were so impressed with her breed that we decided to do even more research... which led to the two of us getting into the business. We rapidly found there were few people who specialized in "old fashioned" Saint Bernards. Many breeders specialized in show dogs and although they are wonderful, most people want the type of dog that isn't necessarily breed standard (less slobbers...) So we traveled all across the United States to bring the best companion dogs we could to our home. Illinois (twice), Georgia and Kansas... And as of today we have had 7 beautiful Saints cross our threshold. And somewhere along the way, the #CRAZYCATLADY became a #CRAZYDOGLADY! These gentle giants stole my heart and... you can just call me a #CRAZYSAINTLADY! And it all started with one little fluff with a very ferocious bark. That mighty bark opened up my heart to a world of possibilities. Dakota blessed me more than I could have ever blessed her.
I found myself wondering those final days if God was just too busy to worry about Dakota. After all, with the mess the world is in... I thought His hands would be too full to worry about my precious Saint. I found this scripture a few days before her passing.
"Are not two sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God."
Luke 12:6 HCSB
and NEVER forgotten...