He would herd bikers, run up and down mountains and was an avid reader.
I loved him dearly. It was an honor to have spent time with him; I was proud to be in his pack.
The name Filemeon means "only friend" in Ancient Greek and it was perfectly fitting; he was mine, I was his. I am a much better person because Nalli and I were together.
Nalli died just short of Thanksgiving, 2013. (Which was Noveber 28 for my non-USA friends.) And if there is one thing I will be thankful for on that holiday is that I was able to spend any time at all with Nalli. My only regret is that there wasn't more. I guess that there is never enough time.
There is so much more to say about Nalli.
For example, about his herding. Off-leash, Nalli would run up ahead 8-10 feet then circle back behind. He weas herding me, keeping me in line and probably warning off others. Nicole, who also had the pleasure of living with Nalli the longest told me that he would herd her while she was biking! Up and behind her, round and round (though more like an oval), while she was on a mountain bike!
Michele told me about the time she and Nalli were hiking Tiger Mountain. Unfortunately she broke her ankle. As people approached her to help, Nalli was barking frantically and threateningly; he must have thought that she was on the ground and needed his protection. Michele had to put a leash on him and reassure him that it was ok before people could get near to her and help her.
He pretty-much ignored other dogs. One time at the dog park there were literally hundresd of dogs (it was a nice day and the Magnuson Park Dog Park is fairly large). I strolled along, Nalli herding me, and we swept through the doggy deluge like Moses parting the waters. Nalli ignored every other dog, his job was in moving me forward, not to stop and socialize. His mission took precedence . Even when I stopped, and other dogs would come up and sniff him, he ignored them, not even deigning to return an exploratory sniff. Dogs did not attract his curiosity. Only friend indeed!
He took care of me. Even in, literally, his last minutes of life, and as I paced the room at the veterinarian's knowing that he was ebbing away, his gaze swept back and forth at me, always watchful and even tried to lift himself up to go with me before collapsing into the big sleep.
Quel dog! Quel Nalli!
Some photos (click on photo should you want a larger version):
Hanging out with Macaroni, a Katrina survivor.
One of my many many many pictures:
Nalli's characteristic (his and of his breed, I think) debonair stance:
Photo Nicole Zalewski
He'd been swimming & fetching for at least an hour and he wanted more:
People do a double-take: Why is there a sheep in the road?
Photo Nicole Zalewski
Nalli, the hippie dog:
Photo Michele Coad
About 6 months ago at the park:
As it became difficult for him to walk we spent a lot of time together just hanging out:
At home, when he could no longer walked and I carried him everywhere:
In the back of the staion wagon, a few weeks ago, getting ready for the big sleep:
His ashes. It's a lovely box. It's 6" by 4" by 4" and sits on my desk so Nalli is with me all the time.