He was blessed with natural talent, agility and endurance. At one point in his life, he was the fastest dog in the Dog Park. He was a bullet! He would play fetch compulsively for hours and I would always surrender before he did. While he was a talented sprinter, he also was an endurance guy. He enjoyed those long dog days of hiking and biking. He insisted on staying close - when we were hiking, he had to keep you within eyeshot or he would wait on the trail. The only exception to this rule was if he saw a squirrel and then he became The Wild Dog.
Once, when we were mountain biking and I was bombing down a fire road at full speed, something caught my attention, out of the corner of my eye. It was Norman, running like a Cheetah that you see on the Discovery Channel in slow motion. You know, the back legs coming over the front legs, all limbs a blur. He passed me going about 60 kmh and I was worried he might explode in a pile of rolling fur and limbs and dust on the side of the trail, but he didn't. He beat me to the bottom instead.
People loved him so much that there would be arguments over who would get Norman when we went away. He was a lover. He loved to give the love and he loved to receive the love. He was fickle. He would love whomever was giving the love. He never saw the inside of a kennel, because he was so much fun to have around. He was always super mellow and laid-back at home and never ever demanded anything. If you took him for a walk, great! It you left him in the car, no problem. If you left him alone in the house, he would sleep. You could leave an open bag of kibble in the middle of the kitchen, beside the garbage and he wouldn't do a thing. He'd just relax. Chill. Sleep. Norman was a low maintenance guy. Sometimes we would lone him out. Our friend Brenda borrowed him for a backpacking trip once. She thought he would be good to snuggle with in the tent and he was. He kept her up all night growling at the night creatures in the bush, which is even scarier than sleeping by yourself in the bush. Afterall, he was a dog!
He was a licker. He was a kisser of small children. He liked to push them over and lick them. Every oriface if you'd let him. Parents didn't like this, but he thought it was great. He was always gentle with them. He made friends for us too. Ten years ago in the Dog Park, he picked up a couple of humans named Evan and Lorrie. We have kept them for friends ever since! He brought me and Keith even closer - afterall, our dog was The Best Dog in The World! He had a lot of love to give, this dog was a lover not a fighter. When people asked us what kind of dog he was - we would say he was A Brown Dog. You know, the one in your childhood dictionary with the drawing of the floppy eared happy dog that said, Dog? That was him.
He was amazing at age 11, 12, 13 - very active, very alive and very loving. People would ask me how old me puppy was! Thirteen, I would say. The last two years were different. It became very evident how old he had become. He went from being a brown dog, to being a grey dog. He was a new dog every week! He became the Deaf Dog. The Loud Dog. The Embarassed Dog whenever his body would fail him. The Needy Dog. He had never demanded anything his whole life and now he needed A Little Help Please. So we spooned him and gave him the love back. The one thing that never changed in his old age was that he was still The Lover. Affectionate until the end at age 15 and truly, The Best Dog in The World.
When I first met Norman, I was like....can't he sleep outside? There's fur everywhere!! Keith and Norman were a package deal, it didn't take long before I fell in love with both. I never knew I could love a dog so much, because I had never been a dog owner before. But that's what happened. After a few years he became "my dog" and we gave each other lots of love for lots of years. He was great company. Thanks Keith, for bringing Norman into my life!
Keith and I had Norman put to sleep yesterday and then we went for a run to make us feel a little bit better. I know it was a good decision, but I'm going to miss him so much! Long may you run Norman, Normie-Norm, Stormin' Norman, Nor-Man, Norm, My Norman Dog.....you were such a....Norman!
I love Norman!