Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sweet Oka

Oka passed away, quietly, as she had lived.

Over the past year, she played a daily game, edging towards the dining table as the evening sun heated up the west porch where she spends her day. When looked at sternly, she would tuck her head down, looking up with doe eyes even as she shuffled back to her place on the porch.

Oka, standing, in her prime

Overnight, she would take what was for her a long trek round the back of the house, down the stairs to the landing, then up the front stairs to the south porch which is Sox's domain. In the morning, we would find her at the east lookout - the corner of the porch from which to look at cobos in the bois canot trees. Otherwise, she might be on Sox's mat, or even further in, near to the big furry dog. But you only had to open the front door and she would haul herself unsteadily and shuffle through the house to the kitchen porch, her domain. She knew her place.

Since we started giving her a daily tablet of glucosamine and chondroitin wrapped in a sardine, her joints didn't seem to hurt so much. If the hobble-hop up and down stairs and around the house was her regular exercise, we let her be. She had been called obese by those who saw her barrel body on short slim legs. But it must have been her Rottweiler genes that gave that round shape. Her Labrador genes certainly gave her the sweetest disposition of any dog we have ever known.

She had come to us from a home in the east where she had been weaned to puppy chow. So she was a skinny leggy black pup that loved to play. Chasing the broom, she had fallen off a porch some ten feet. Surprised to find herself on grass, she promptly jumped up and ran to the concerned children. It was not the only time; another night without electricity, she had rolled off the same porch - with no ill effects.

We moved to the house in Saddle Grove shortly after, when she was about six months old, almost full grown but still playful and loving.

In her lifetime, Oka had three litters, with Max the male Lab-Rott. Oka had the most beautiful puppies, fat and furry. She was a good mother. She was considered portly or matronly, and nicknamed Chubby-Booby. Her affection for others earned her the name Licky-Licky. Her given name, Oka, is Swahili for "come here."

Oka with puppies, in typical Lab colours, jet black or creamy.
One of Oka's puppies seemed to have inherited her love of licking.

Oka had super-sensitive hearing. Bad weather, thunder, fireworks, loud noises gave her the heebie-jeebies. She would cower, trembling, in a corner, in bad weather or on old years' nights. But all she ever wanted was to be loved, petted and taken care of.
Oka only ever wanted to be loved.

If you want to see one of Oka's special tricks, check this post from six years ago:

Oka was 13 years old at the start of 2017.  We will miss her.

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