Sunday, January 11, 2009

Linga by Erich Trapp

Linga (known to her closest friends as “Tingles”) was, we like to think, a present from her father. Some time before she showed up on our doorstep, we had been feeding a mangy stray we named Hairy (because he wasn’t – hairy that is). He came and went as he pleased but after every meal he’d always bring us treasures he’d find on his journeys – once it was a doll’s head, another time a brand new sneaker, occasionally the daily paper from across the street – always interesting things a dog might find on his travels. In time, with lots of good food (and subsequently lots of presents left on our doorstep), Hairy’s hair finally did grow out, and it was a beautiful coat of yellow-red, soft, with a bit of a wave to it. He really was a handsome boy. Yet, as mysteriously as he had appeared, one day Hairy simply disappeared, never to be seen again.

It was some time after that, maybe a year or so, that we heard a dog calling in the neighborhood. It was a mournful call and it bothered everyone in the family, person and dog alike, but search as we might, we couldn’t find the source. However, one day, a beautiful yellow-red dog showed up on our doorstep, looking a great deal like Hairy! Could this be his daughter? We have always liked to think so – our last, and most special gift from Hairy. And, when Linga showed up, we never again heard the plaintive call of the dog we could never find.

She immediately took to all the other dogs in our home, and everyone, dog and person alike, loved her. Everyone was drawn to her. There was something very sweet about her nature -- she was a beauty, inside and out. We called her our “Wild Child” because, among her interesting habits she loved to bury herself in our sandbox. The previous owners of our house had built a huge sandbox (about 10’x12’) for their boys and all our dogs loved to dig in it. However, Linga had a special passion for the sand (perhaps because she was almost the same color), and she would lie on her side in the box and literally bury herself, covering herself and becoming virtually invisible.

She also had other wild ways about her, like burying her food “for later” and bringing us baby bunnies, nests and all, totally unharmed, in her gentle mouth. Of course, I’d then have to go and figure out where in our fields the nest had come from and return the bunnies to their mother. This was a seasonal delight to Linga, and with each new batch of bunnies, she’d bring them through the door for us to “enjoy.” Surprisingly, the bunnies all survived, and I always managed to find them a place she wouldn’t disturb again. Our mother bunnies were very patient.

Another favorite activity of Linga’s was what we used to call “I must possess you!” Linga would insist on getting right in your lap or right in your face until she was the undivided center of your total and complete attention. This isn’t particularly unusual, as many dogs employ this tactic, but Linga was especially talented in possessing people and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

She had many other endearing qualities, the best of which was enjoying a good cuddle after flopping down on me, her entire body covering mine. No one enjoyed being hugged as much as she and I miss our snuggle-fests.

Linga had several health challenges in her life, including a life-long battle with Pannus, an immune disease of the eyes. Perhaps it was this compromised immune system that eventually led to her leukemia. We had gone to the vet for a routine geriatric exam, thinking we’d get a clean bill of health. We left with a death sentence. Her white blood cell count was literally off the chart, and the vet gave her only weeks to live. Having seen what chemo did to several human friends, I opted not to take that route, but the vet held out one hope – a supplement called Transfer Factor. I started her on it immediately and, much to our surprise and joy, she responded so well that her blood work returned to normal within two months. She remained on the supplement for the rest of her life. Through supplements and a complete change in diet (she ate better than we did), she maintained her good health for almost three more years.

Linga lived with us for 13 wonderful years and filled our lives with more love than one can imagine. I have had many dogs in my life, and loved them all dearly, but I have to admit, Linga was truly one of a kind -- my sweet little red-haired girl. Thanks, Hairy, for the best gift ever! We will always love you, Tingles.


Codi's Mom said...

What a beautiful girl your Linga was! She sounds like she was your heart dog. I am glad that she gave you so much joy and you gave the same to her.

Kristina aka "Codi's Mom"

Uncle Big Dog said...

She was a beaut, Erich, and a touching tribute. Hudson, Murphy, & Yer Uncle Big Dog

Andrea said...

How lucky you both were to have each other!
Andrea (Cinnamon & Ephram's mom)

Dee said...

Beautiful words for a beautiful dog. Thank you for sharing her with us. Dee, Cody & Murphy

Rebecca Forrest said...

A touching story about a wonderful friend who touched your life. Thanks for sharing it.

Rebecca Forrest

Mary Mandeville said...

Thanks for the story. I am going to check in to Transfer Factor for Nicholai. He is doing great so far with holistic care - 13 months of good health. But it would be a treat and an honor to have him around for a couple more years. I am chronicling his story at

Robbin said...

What a blessing Linga was for all of you, & all of you for her! Thank you for sharing your sweet girl with us!