Baja came to us not long after we opened in 2000. He was an owner surrender (owner lost his house). He was a gentle giant with a gorgeous sable coat and a beautiful soft woo. When we would rub his tummy or brush him out he would purr. It was a lovely sound. My husband (Carol's) and I were in the process of trying to figure out where we could put another outdoor pen in our yard (we already had a young female Mal). About that time Baja's owner found a place to live and Baja got to go back "home".
A year later we get another call. His owner needed to surrender him back to us again due to another move. We were glad to see Baja again but hated to see his owner giving him up and Baja not understanding why.
We had him available for adoption for several years and we were at a total loss as to why we never found a home for him (by this point my female had no interest in sharing her house with another dog). People loved him but no one wanted him. As time went on Baja's hips started giving him trouble. We thought we were going to lose Baja last fall (2006) but he suddenly perked back up and he went through the winter with no problems. April rolled around and he was getting pretty stiff but he still ate and drank normally. By early June it became obvious that we would be letting him go soon. On June 16th I was working on the building. Baja was out in the big pen by the new kennel. Shirley discovered Baja had been soiling in his dog house. We could see in Baja's eyes the time had come. Baja was kind enough to blow his beautiful coat one last time. I spent 2 hours with him under the aspen tree just brushing him and letting him know he would be missed very much. We have a friend/volunteer that is licensed to perform on-site euthanasia and Shirley gave her a call letting her know it was time to release Baja from his pain. Shirley and I held Baja as the injection was administered. Baja woo'd and purred one last time, and then he slipped slowly away to join other Golden Years alumni at the Rainbow Bridge. The weather was beautiful and there was a gentle breeze. It was the most perfect way to say goodbye to our gentle giant. I had always been afraid that I would not be able to say goodbye to Baja as I live an hour away from the rescue. God gave me a very special gift that day by allowing me time to brush and hug Baja and say a proper goodbye.
Baja now runs free with no pain. He has been buried at Golden Years not far from where we have Nanook buried. He will live on in all of the felted and spun items made from that gorgeous red fur.
Godspeed Baja. Wear your silver harness with pride.
Margaret from the Mal-L listserv group wrote this lovely poem in Baja's honor
POOF! Goes his coat
Singing his song
Carol & Baja sing a duet
Baja's last day with us.