April 14, 2003 – August 1, 2015
Irei’s dam was the beloved Susie ( OFA excellent), with whom Emily achieved the height of her junior handlng career. Irei’s grand dam, Sadie, was a Best in Show winner and Irei was chosen for Ireigold because of the stunning likeness to her grandmother. She exemplified the temperament and conformation of a true champion, and she was selectively bred and unconditionally loved as an ambassador of Ireigold.
The kennel was in fact, renamed for Irei, whose name is Jamaican for (loosely translated) “Don’t worry – be happy” – combined with her registered name, “Hope Floats”, provides a perspective of positive and forward thinking to govern not only the direction of Ireigold but that of our daily lives as well.
Irei continued her therapy dog work in my counseling office where “her” clients were grateful for the delight and unconditional love with which she supports them.
On August 1, 2015 we lost our lovely, sweet Irei to complications from a tick borne disease. She was everything a golden should be – beautiful, intelligent, versatile, loyal.
Irei and I shared a bond that exceeded love’s capacity. She was my nurturer, the catalyst for maintaining and restoring balance, the collaborator in the realization of some of my wildest dreams, and the living metaphor of her name, Irei, loosely translated as “don’t worry/ be happy”. She was the quintessential mama dog to four litters of puppies, and would nurse and care for puppies from any other Ireigold litter as well. She helped raised grandson, toddler, and pack mate Calai. Irei had all the makings of a therapy dog extraordinaire, and she loved to visit her admirers at local assisted living facilities, also participated as co-facilitator in my counseling practice. Although I grieve her loss I also remember how extraordinary my life was with her.
I have always thought of Irei as my familiar, an animal with whom one shares a part of one’s soul. I am keenly aware of her presence even now, of the thread that connects us between worlds, of the truth that love does transcend time and space. I am eternally grateful for every moment of the 12 years we shared.