Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Remembering Portia

A year ago today, Portia's heart stopped. And all of the efforts of a determined veterinary operating team could not get it started again.

Portia came to live with us in February, 2008. We had her for less than seventeen months. But her memory will never fade. She was the most challenging of all the dogs of my life: living proof that beauty and brains can go together. She picked up on the most subtle cues that I was planning to leave the house. And she was determined to either stop me or persuade me to take her with me. She could do great mischief in the house--shredding magazines or clothing that John and I had forgotten to put out of her reach. But on her walks, she was the perfect little lady, basking in the compliments of all who paused to comment on her beauty and comportment.

After a day or two of trying to match wits with Portia, John and I agreed that it would be better for her to have a doggy companion on which to focus some of her energy. So we took her back to Greyhound Adoption Center to choose a pal. She played tirelessly with two male Greyhounds. But it was Bingley who looked up at me with his warm brown eyes that said, "Please take me home with you."

There was never a question of who was boss. Portia teased and taunted Bingley for weeks. But he was so good-natured, he was always ready to play--on her terms. After six months, Bingley slowly took back some turf for himself and even though Portia was still the leader, their relationship was a true partnership.

They were complements. Portia reserved misbehavior for in the house. Outdoors, she was perfectly behaved. Bingley is a Good Boy in the house. Outdoors, he is The Great Hunter, constantly on the lookout for something to chase.

With adequate law enforcement, the attack that took Portia's life would not have happened. Not only Portia, but the dog who attacked her, Bingley , John and Zephyr would have been contained after his attack on Zephyr and he also would still be alive.

I cannot bring Portia back. But I pledge to do everything I can do to create a more responsive and realistic approach to leash laws and leash law enforcement in North San Diego County. When I talked about my dream with Marilyn, my Greyhound rescuing friend, she said, "We'll call it 'Portia's Law'."

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