A Tribute to Tesla

I have tried, many times, to write a post here about Tesla.
Today is the first anniversary of her death, and it still feels strange that she isn’t here with us.
One thing life has taught me about death is the importance of celebrating the life lived rather than mourning the life lost. In that spirit, here are some of her adventures: 

Tesla was born in Montana on Prairie Ridge Ranch and came home to live with us in Wyoming as a puppy when she was 7 and a half weeks old.
She went tubing with us around Thermopolis, WY several times, starting just a week or two after she came home with us. 

She learned to swim in the Cody Reservoir and Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. She camped at Yellowstone National Park in addition to multiple day-trips there, and also camped at Glendo State Park, where she discovered her love for sand. 

Her first long road trip was from Cody, Wyoming to Portland, Oregon. She was only a few months old at the time, and already a champ. She was great in the car as well as a good guest at our friends’ home, and got to explore some of the city on our long weekend there. She stuck her toes in the Pacific Ocean. 

The next spring, we moved from Wyoming to Michigan. Tesla traveled through South Dakota (including Mt Rushmore, though she had to stay in the car), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana to get here. It was a long trip, and she was nervous, but she loved the smell of Michigan and quickly settled in to this new phase of our life. That summer, she went on her first boat rides, and expanded her fetching prowess to include swimming. She swam in the Detroit River and bounced through the shallows of Lake Erie in Ohio. By the end of the summer, she was so comfortable on our boat (Mr Sulu) that she fell asleep almost immediately after boarding. 

Over the next few years, Tesla road-tripped with us from Michigan to visit family in Indiana and Georgia, as well as friends in Illinois and Pennsylvania. She spent at least a couple of nights in Kentucky on a trip south. 
When we bought our house in 2014, she often came along to keep us company and help.
When our new mattress was delivered a day or two after we moved in, everything seemed to click for her, and she understood that we were in our new home. Though the plastic was still on, she immediately relaxed, and took a nap on our new bed.
Tesla loved snow. It was always fun watching her excitement when it was snowing, especially the first snow of the season. 
Her favorite body of water was Lake Superior, and she enjoyed our camping trips at the Pictured Rocks Lakeshore on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula possibly even more than Dave and I did. At Lake Superior, she taught herself to jump waves. She never seemed to want to get out of the water there. Her favorite toy to fetch was a horse ball Dave’s mom got her when she was about 3 years old. 

Tesla’s first international trip came in May of 2018, when the three of us went to Canada to pick up Vashti. Our planned two-day journey ended up taking four days thanks to a broken gin pole at the marina. We’d assumed that she would be fine with the boat in general, but weren’t sure how to teach her to go up and down the ladder in the companionway. She figured it out for herself the first day. She had no way to know what we were doing, but was content to be wherever we were, and made the experience much less stressful.  

She was intuitive, and completely understood Dave and me. She preferred for the three of us to be together as much as possible. Tesla always knew when to check on us, whether we were upset, sick, or just staying up too late for no good reason. She was a wonderful cuddler who loved family naps and being the little spoon. Her biggest frustration with the original V-berth setup on Vashti was that it impeded cuddling, and we couldn’t all sleep together. 

Tesla made friends everywhere she went. She was quick to wiggle and brighten anyone’s day. She loved, and was loved by, everyone she met. 

You’re my girl
You’re so sweet
Honey, you can’t be beat
I love you
I love you, most of all
– Sam Cooke, “Love You Most of All”

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