Our first big adventure was a cross country trip to Idaho late that same summer. In no particular hurry, we took to the back roads, sleeping at natural forest campgrounds and even out under the stars in empty cow pastures. Despite being August, the nights in the mountains were chilly, and Sarah would climb into my sleeping bag and settle down by my feet. I worried she would suffocate so I would open the bag just a bit at its far end, and she would poke her head out. I found it comical the idea of a two-headed sleeping bag.
That fall, I took Sarah backpacking at the Selway River with some other graduate students from my department. At one spot, an enormous boulder loomed 3 meters above the churning whitewater. We took turns jumping off the rock and into the river. On my second go, I surfaced to see my friend's frantically gesticulating towards the water where to my shock, I saw Sarah furiously dog paddling towards me. She had leapt off a 3 meter rock into furious whitewater to follow me. I grabbed her by the collar and swam hard for the shore before we could be swept over a series of rapids downstream. On shore, and breathless, I hugged her and whispered to her "You crazy, crazy dog. You are amazing!" I knew she was something special.
The next morning at the vet I told her I was sorry.
And now she's gone.
Such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be here.
Sarah, I miss you terribly.