June 12th 1992 was a good day, a very good day. Like the frog that turned into a prince, Trigger at ten months old was a champion masquerading as a foundling. Discarded by an owner who failed to recognize his qualities, he was a treasure hidden away in the humane society’s kennels. On that June day, visiting the society to see what dogs were available for adoption, he was the only one out of the multitude of dogs hoping for a home, not barking. Sitting in his cage, we looked each other in the eye, at that instant we both knew we were made for each other. Released from his cage, he unwound placing both paws on my shoulder to give my face a lick in gratitude. From the day he joined us, Trigger, like all true champions had an attitude. That first day to test us, he drank from the toilet bowl, laid a stool on the bedroom carpet and chewed on the table leg. The bowl of food, he wolfed down like he hadn’t eaten for a week and promptly brought it up again. From that day he never messed up or chewed the furniture. Satisfied that he was truly accepted, he became our companion for the rest of his life. Being a proud dog, he had to decide who was going to be boss. That was quickly settled with a ten minute session in the garden, during which this intelligent being, decided we were the boss and he was our guardians
Having an attitude, his subservience only extended to my wife and me. The vets who administered to him, quickly learned that Trigger applied a policy that if they hurt him, he would hurt them, more fright then anything. With a slight warning growl and a flash of teeth faster than lightening, his teeth touched their hand, but never broke the skin, they learned this was someone to be reckoned with, a force who wouldn’t stand for any nonsense. Trigger took his duties seriously; anyone invited into our house could play with him. But woe betide the one who uninvited put a foot over the doorstep. They knew they’d made a mistake, which they never repeated. A better security system has yet to be invented. When the thunder rolled and boomed, he would look to fight whatever was threatening us. He made sure I had my exercise every day, winter and summer, come sun, rain, ice or snow, he and I walked the streets or parks together. Salesmen no longer pestered us. He soon found out how to open door handles and lift the garden latch. Cats seeking to catch the birds we fed soon decided there were better and safer places than our garden. He lay at my feet hour after hour, as often as not leaning against my leg, or resting his head on my foot as I typed, read the papers or sat at the table. At night he would stay by my wife all night to protect and give her a morning face wash, he loved her too!
Inevitably, our friend aged, he hurt his spine, grew an inoperable tumour, his developing arthritis, though gradually crippling him, never once stopped him. Every stiff-legged step he took, demonstrated his determination to stay with us as long as possible. He was a fighter who never gave up the struggle. When his front or back legs gave way, causing him to fall, he would wait a split second, then pick himself up, carrying on walking as though nothing had happened. He had more guts and courage than we could ever hope to possess. In return for so little, he gave us love and faithfulness in abundance. To our sorrow, the day came when we had to say good-bye and bury our friend and companion. God willing we will meet again one day. We will always miss him, a precious gift from God.
Sandy and Mickey Sanders