After over 15 years of unconditional love and devout service to our family Guinness has left this world and journeys into the next. Now you might question my motive for writing an obituary for a dog but you need to understand what an integral part of our family he was.

Guinness provided companionship and a sense that one could never be alone. In an empty house and during my times of unemployment, when as Father and provider, I would began to question my worth in a “cruel” market place he was there. Laying next to me during the countless resume submissions, job letters, e-mail submissions and telephone interviews. He would follow me from one room to the next as I cleaned house or prepared dinner only settling down when I settled down. A “good listener” Guinness was a great sounding board to any mock interview question and answer session. He assisted me in live telephone interviews looking up with a “its going to be ok” “relax” smile

For my children, Nathan and Caitrin he assisted, in many respects,  in the raising our family. Providing a wag and a lick after rough days on the playground, A warm body to snuggle up against on a cold night and who knows how many countless childhood adventures Guinness was involved in. When no one loved you or “understood you” somehow Guinness did, always there and at the ready to give the love that was needed or asked for.

Vigilant he would greet you upon your return home or run up to greet you when you came out of the ocean water. Ocean water, turned that dog into something that at times amazed me. No matter how many times I threw the retriever into the ocean, no matter how far I threw it, he would charge in after it. Once the children and I were out beyond the first break, in surf that was easily overhead high. It was a time for a Father to explain and teach the wiles of the sea to his children. In the background I heard a steady thump..thump..thump turning around to see Guinness swimming toward us. He circled, with a huge otter like tail guiding his direction, assuring himself that we were safe and that the children were in good hands…proceeding back to the beach a quick shake of the water and up towards Dora. The kids and I floated there amazed.

Dora, never really had an indoor dog; let alone one that weighed in at 85+lbs at his peak. When she packed the car for a day at the beach Guinness never really bothered to help, I mean how could he. Yet once a few key items were witnessed he would “bolt” for the car with the anticipation of a young child. We all laughed because you could never really get him out. As we drove toward our destination his nose was often just behind Dora’s head at times  snorting away while he breathed in the “buffet” of smells. His anticipatory pacing back and forth from Nate to Caity always created quite a stir. On the ride home you could see he had given it his all as he sleep soundly at the kids feet.  When Dora waited up for our kid’s he waited up with her, when she had hours of paperwork Guinness was at her feet.

Unfortunately the hikes, got a little longer than he could bear, the waves at the beach a little taller. He wanted to continue on with both; the heart and spirit so willing but alas his body continued to age.

I am somewhat at a loss as to how or who will clean the Ice Cream Bowls or BBQ Platters. Who will eat the left over Pizza Crust or clean up the spill on the floor

In the end he needed to be assisted with the simple task of getting up and walking. Somehow he would manage to sit up and wait until you could pick the rest of him up. Even then he recognized you, knew your smell and your touch behind those cloudy eyes. Often laying his head in your lap enjoying what little he could of a vigorous rub of the nose, head and ears. We will miss him dearly and yes he was one in a million.  We know he is now in “good hands” his ailments and infirmities gone forever; running next to a horse on a beach that is never ending.

— Phil from Camarillo, CA