Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Life of Royal, 2007-2018

This was the blog I never wanted to have to write. Royal passed away on April 18th from complications of a massive stroke. As I navigate this very unwelcomed path without him, I have to reflect on what a joyous, sweet being he was, acknowledge the village of people that played a part in Royal's life, and what a marvelous life we lived together.

Royal was one of seven beautiful puppies born in Reno, Nevada. At birth, he was one of the smallest puppies and he had a natural bob tail. Royal was named after the Gene Hackman character in my favorite movie "The Royal Tennenbaums"

One thing became clear pretty quickly, Royal loved to eat! And boy, did he start to grow.

Soon, he was one of the bigger puppies! 

When I was preparing to bring Royal home to North Carolina, he was supposedly 10 lbs at 10 weeks old. So the airline carrier to had for him was for a 10-12 lb dog.  But he was not 10 lbs, he was 18!  I promised him that if he could get through a airline flight in the carrier, we would have an extraordinary life together. So, Royal was stuffed himself into the airline carrier like a sausage, but he slept the whole flight and never complained. 

Royal was bright-eyed and ready for anything!  

Unless it was time to sleep, which he did upside down most of the time. 

Even in a box! 

He was quite a armful! 

He loved meeting people and children, especially my niece Kaufman.

Royal made me so happy

He loved Bernie and Big Sandy and they taught him to be a very good puppy. I made a video of puppy Royal. To watch it, enter the password "Royal"

Royal's First Movie from Jenn Merritt on Vimeo.

It wasn't long before he grew into a handsome young guy. 

He was a trooper at his first and only confirmation show. Where he came in 2nd (out of 2), but boy, did he have fun! 

Royal got to meet R.K. Anderson!

And Kathy Cascade! 

And Linda Tellington-Jones! 

Royal did some therapy dog work in the Orange County School System.

He loved a good box! 

And enjoyed early morning romantic walks on the beach in Surf City.

Royal loved his birthday parties most of all and his favorite part, his very own cake. 

Yes please.

And friends.

Royal and Mona grew up together and loved to play tug. 

Royal also loved posing for pictures. 

Royal Canine Good Citizen! 

And more posing.

Me and the boys

Who knew how much fun it was to stick your head in a bucket! 

Or your feet? 

Another birthday! 

More birthday cake! 

Yes, please!

Ruby was Royal's prettiest Aussie girlfriend

They played special Aussie games and then she would tell him off! 

And Polly Pig

Did I mention Royal was part of the dishwashing cycles...

...hold on, you missed a spot back here. 

Royal and my nephew Caldwell could sometimes have the same expressions! 

And more sleep.

Royal was a wonderful training partner. 

He loved to work with other people, like his friend Deirdre.

Royal had wonderful companions Jet and Bernie.

And wanted to be involved with whatever you were doing. 

Put her there my friend! 

And more cake! 

Royal didn't ever mind sharing with friends. 

And loved participating in cognitive testing at the Duke Canine Cognition Center. 

Royal was a longtime member of the Paws 4 Ever Drill Team

We marched in parades

And Royal loved to do his tricks

The only thing more fun that a bucket of water, is a pool full of water. 

More cake!

More friends!

Royal loved agility classes, 

inside and outside,

and then a good nap.

And working on TTouch balance leash, 

and more training learning "zen bowl"

Another birthday so quickly!

And more cake! 

And friends sharing cake...

And then a nap.

And another nap. 

Royal lived with his girlfriend Holly for a few months.

Good grief! Then we moved to Canada. 

And more birthdays...

Me and the boys, all older and wiser

Royal was also an avid gardener.

Royal and Bernie and I worked on a project called Good Dog in a Box to help kids learn about positive dog training and dog bite prevention skills. 
Royal even got to be a cartoon! 

And more posing with Bernie, before Bernie passed away in 2017

Royal welcomed George into the family

Royal and George became good traveling buddies

And Royal kept us all in line

And along came a new partner in crime! 

Royal made every day a joy and our time together went by too quickly. I am so proud of him, what a good puppy he was, and how much fun he made my life. From the moment I met him at 10 weeks old, until he died in my arms, he was the most wonderful, devoted companion I ever could have had.

This blog was a journey for both of us, and I'm so glad we were able to share that journey together. Thank you for coming along...

This final picture is of Royal and I on a path walking towards the lakeshore in Cape Breton. Bernie and Royal and Royal's girlfriend Mona would run along the shore and into the water, then back into the wooded area to chase squirrels. It was a dog's paradise. What I never noticed about this picture was Bernie. He's standing to the left of the light, looking back at Royal. Bernie always did everything first and Royal would follow...