(contributed by Heather Pedersen)
Choosing the next family pet at an animal shelter is no easy task; not only is not hard on the heart but, God-willing, it can be an extremely long term commitment, so it’s a decision not to be taken lightly. It was 13 years ago that our family (Bruce, me, and our three children: Kipling (then age 6), Rio (then age 5), and Selkirk (then age 3)  set out to Sandpoint’s own Panhandle Animal Shelter with one goal in mind: to bring home a dog. When we arrived, Bruce and I decided to divide and conquer and meet in the shelter parking lot in a half of an hour. After scouring the rows upon rows of seemingly endless canines, we gathered in the parking lot as planned, and I detected the frustration and disappointment mounted on Bruce and our kids’ faces; they had apparently come up empty.My quest passing the many pens of wonderful-but-not-just-right-for-us pets, turned up a shadow of possibility;  I happened to notice a little blue heeler, who, despite her seemingly gentle disposition,  was looking quite ratty, matty, and bagged down having just had a litter of puppies. Perhaps it was because she was the quiet one that she had caught my attention; she was the only dog that hadn’t charged the kennel door barking to be adopted. She appeared to me dejected and pitiful, withdrawn and hopeless–as if destined for life in a cage. Whatever it was, I couldn’t shake her from my mind. When I described the potential candidate to my family, I was met with a diversity of opinions: Kipling started crying and begged, “Oh noooo, Mommy, please not the ‘homely and ugly one”; Bruce, being an experienced veterinarian, was concerned about the breed being a bit unpredictable around children;  Rio decided she wanted a kitty instead;  and Selkirk just wanted to take anything home with fur and a tail.It was then and there that we decided to give the pitiful pup a chance. We named her “Talus”; the name of one of the bones in the heel.  Little did we know what a terrific companion she would be, and that we would someday name our home after her.Most people can wholeheartedly agree that the loss of the family dog is gut-wrenching.  Thirteen years is a long time to cherish a pet, and it was with great sadness that on April 28, 2013, Dr. Daddy sent Talus on her way to heaven with good hips to chase rabbits, with 20/20 eyesight to watch cats scale trees, and with strong and clean teeth to chew endless raw hides – all gifts of health which she had lost on this side of the white light. The five of us gathered around to say goodbye (Kipling was present via speaker phone from college), each sharing Talus memories as we laid our wonderful dog to rest. We remembered how she lived for swimming in the pond with the kids, chasing the sprinkler heads, how she would turn on the “bear bark” when the smell was in the air (which was the only bark to ever to come from this quiet, well-behaved pet), how she’d cower by our side in thunderstorms, and lie underfoot in the kitchen.  Our beloved Talus was often a silent, perpetually obedient, and patient friend – the kind of dog who possessed characteristics cherished among other dog owners: unconditional love, eternal loyalty, and constant companionship.The transition from having Talus in our everyday life to now gone, has been a difficult adjustment to our family. She was lovingly buried at home with her paws crossed over her chest at the base the giant rock aptly named Talus Rock.Farewell, dear friend. We loved you so.

The Legacy of Talus 

(contributed by Bruce Pedersen)

It is with a blend of tears and sadness, yet still great joy, that we announce the passing of our dear friend and beloved companion, Talus. The joy is in the honor and rich memories of having her in our lives.  While we always knew the time to say goodbye would eventually come, the reality of the moment often exceeds any preconceptions and her passing was no different.Entering our life shortly after moving to Sandpoint as a bagged down, postpartum young mother behind a wire cage, Talus was found at the shelter, a discarded throwaway.  After a short foster period, the permanent bond between dog and family was forged.She had the most stately stature and perfectly shaped head and nose and the list of Talus-family stories would fill a book. I loved the way she rose in the morning and stretched her neck, rotating her head in a slow, 360 degree swivel better than any yogi… her instinctive attitude she had with cows (she could never resist one’s heel or nose if given the opportunity). In the morning we’d often find her helping herself to the pig food from the pigs’ self-feeder and I’ll always remember the time she fell two stories from the roof during the building of Talus Rock Retreat.  We won’t soon forget the big black bear taking a swat at her as she chased it off the property through the backyard, or how she would crawl to your lap in the car if you hit the rumble bars, or her unexplained obsession with chasing sprinklers until she had worn a circle around the heads.Her nicknames, among others, were “Piggus Augustus”, “Taloo”, Tally-Ho”, “Pig”,and  “Piggy Pie” as she was first in line for any stray scraps or leftovers that found their way to the floor. As she aged, she was less tolerant of other animals, particularly when it was time to eat. She would come out of her naps snapping like an alligator, and occasionally continue in hot pursuit after anything sharing her bowl; it was a right she had earned in her old age.  Even though half deaf, the clang of the mixing bowl hitting the floor would bring her sauntering over from any corner of the room.Talus made our short list of life’s best dogs – she embodied love, loyalty, and dedication; words in themselves, but traits not easily found in life, animals, or people. She has left a well-earned legacy which we hope to honor through her namesake, Talus Rock Retreat. The name chosen because of the traits she exhibited, and the richness we feel animals bring to our human lives. Don’t be surprised if you see our animal friends come and go here at Talus Rock Retreat, as we cannot imagine a life without our four-legged friends.A God that would give us such wonderful additions to life will surely reunite us on the other side. This is the belief and faith that I choose to hold.  Having said that, all the cows in heaven had better put on their heel guards, the bears up there better be quick on their feet, because there’s a new heeler in Pearly Town!Goodbye, our dear friend…..for now.