Saturday, May 25, 2019

Thank You For Your Service

Tuesday May 21st was a sad day for us here on the farm.  Our beloved friend Mauka passed away quickly in the early morning hours. He died instantly guarding the goats in the corner of the pasture where he normally barks at predators.  On the same day Mauka passed my husband went to the funeral of a Vietnam Veteran buddy.

It was a tough day.

Too many veterans end their life due to war trauma.  If you or someone you know who is a veteran needs help please direct them to Operation Restored Warrior.  They can help.
Mauka's soul was beyond my ability to describe here.  Language can't quite capture the essence of this amazing animal and friend but I will try my best.  
Our journey together began when we moved to the farm back in 2008.  We started out as clueless farmers with a small herd of alpacas.  We needed a guard dog because South Carolina has lots of bad guys here.  Coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and other dogs all love to taste the delightful treats (chickens, rabbits, goats) here on our property.  

Our grandson Peter was visiting us when we headed up to North Carolina to pick out some dogs.  We came home with Mauka and his sister Lani; two of the best Great Pyrenees dogs ever created!  Poor Peter was not quite sure about riding in the car with two big white monsters right behind him! 

Mauka protected the alpacas with great care.
Our grandchildren loved him dearly.  Even though his size was large and somewhat overwhelming, they sensed the gentle and kind soul emanating from that huge hairy body!  Ella Bella Petronella is afraid of dogs, especially large ones, but not so with Mauka.  

Mauka attended all 13 of our Farm Labs this past week.  The students were able to love on him, brush him, and marvel at the fact that such a big dog can hang out with baby rabbits, 

tiny chicks, and baby goats, 

all together in the same pen.  

How do you say goodby to such a gentle giant and loyal companion?  My husband and I buried our dear friend Mauka in the back corner of the property.  We both cried as we remembered the wonderful times we had together for the past 12.5 years.  We thanked him for his unrelenting devotion and service to us and to our family.  

We love you Mauka.  Thank you for your service.  You will never be forgotten.  Even in death you still reach out to teach me.  As I've been reflecting on Mauka this is what I believe he would want me to know. 
  • My "to do" list is not as important as saying hello and goodbye when I greet my loved ones.  You never know if it might be the last time.  I would give anything to rewind the clock and hug him and tell him how much I love him one more time.
  • Non-verbal communication speaks volumes.  Mauka never uttered one word his entire life yet he was a transmitter of unconditional love and loyalty to all who were fortunate enough to encounter him.  
  • Don't let looks fool you.  Mauka was large and scary yet his eyes gave him away.  He was a lover of humans, other dogs, and those who needed his protection.  
  • Love your work.  Mauka loved to protect and he worked any hour of any day if his services were needed.  
  • Recognize greatness, it is all around you.  Mauka was more than a remarkable dog.  He was my friend, my protector, my helper on the farm, and loyal to the bitter end.  I didn't quite grasp the value of his greatness until he left us so suddenly.  I wonder how many other humans and animals are part of my life and I don't see their beauty or recognize their greatness shining out.  That  70's song "Don't It Always Seem To Go That You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone", (Big Yellow Taxi) by Joni Mitchel makes me sad.  I was in the presence of greatness and was too busy to recognize it.  
  • Always be grateful to those who stand guard over you. They deserve honor for what they do.   
And to all the faithful ones both human and animal who helped protect us we thank you this Memorial Day!  


JMC said...

Dear Ellen, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I remember him fondly from when I was on your farm a few years ago with my cousin helping to take care of the alpacas. Your description of him is perfect! My condolences, Jean Cooper

Explore-Science-Beyond-the-Classroom said...

Thank you Jean. I'm glad you remember him.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for pouring out your heart to us Ellen, and sharing the valuable life lessons learned from your precious Mauka. We can all greatly benefit from them. Praise be to God for his ministry to us through this beautiful aspect of his creation-the animals! Our hearts go out to you and Mel at this time. Stephanie

Learning Table said...

I am so sorry for your loss! Jake and I will miss seeing Mauka when we come for labs. What a touching and beautiful tribute you've written!! ❤ Anne Campbell