A True Companion: Part I

I’m starting off the year with the first of a three-part post about my dog. I’ve been frustrated with her lately and wanted to remind myself of how much I love her. Every relationship is give and take.


Lately it’s been hard with our dog, Coda. She’s a 10-year-old German Shorthair. A good dog but not without some struggles. Derek and I adopted her from a humane society when she was two. At least that’s how old the vet thought she was. We don’t know anything about her history before we came along but she did appear to be well taken care of. She knew some basic commands and showed no signs of physical abuse. We brought her home two weeks before we both started our graduate school programs. Some might say that was a bad idea.

But Coda quickly became a true companion. When we were buried neck-deep in exams and research papers she helped get us out the door. German Shorthairs are well-known for their high energy levels and need for exercise. I’m not talking a walk around the block or even a jog around the neighborhood. I’m talking trail runs of one to two hours. Even then sometimes she seemed like she was ready to go out after getting home. Derek would take her for a run, return home, and then I would head out with her and do the same thing over again. A high-five was always in order when we managed to tire her enough that she would collapse on the floor, her tongue hanging from her mouth in exhaustion. Exercising our dog was practically an Olympic sport. We literally planned our days around it.

Coda is also the reason Derek and I often caught up on life. In an effort to get her all the exercise we could possibly fit in we headed out for early morning walks and late evening rambles. Coda would frolic as we talked about everything from frustrations at work to dream vacations. I think back on these times fondly. It was a quiet, peaceful moment together amidst busy and hectic days. These memories span such different periods of life, too. Grad school and stress over classes. Meeting new friends. Making friends for life. Moving to Oregon and starting our first jobs. Another move in Oregon and mulling over buying a house. Do we stay, do we go? Job satisfaction or lack there of. Moving to Idaho where we did buy our first house and found great jobs. Discussions about starting a family. Without even knowing it, Coda provided us an outlet for planning our life.

Yes, she is a wonderful dog and an important member of our family. It wouldn’t be the same without her around. This is why I’m saddened to say that I’ve struggled with her presence lately. More on that next time…

Mt. Adams, 2007

Mt. Adams, 2007

Boise Foothills. Coda's happy place.

Boise Foothills. Coda’s happy place.












Do you have a pet who has provided wonderful companionship? One that has served as a member of the family? Or perhaps has helped you make important life decisions?




5 thoughts on “A True Companion: Part I

  1. I can relate, Ashley. I found myself frustrated with the dogs today! They have really been remarkably patient with us and the baby, though. I just remind myself they are part of the family, too, and Henry will love them and learn from them when he is older.

  2. What a beautiful way to start out your series about your dog. Good thing both you and your hubby are active people. I probably would have have put him on a treadmill and call it a day.lol. 2+hrs of walking seems ALOT
    I also had a first dog that was rescued. He eventually died at old age of 14, and we loved him like a family. Even my mother, who doesn’t like animals, cried her heart out that day. I never got another dog after that because its a tragedy they die so quickly.

    • Yes, it was A LOT of exercise! We always wondered if her high energy was why she was given up. Rescue dogs definitely tug at my heart strings. I’m afraid to think about Coda passing. It will be a very sad day.

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