Remembering Tara

We have lost a member of our Kaibab community -- Tara from our G Litter had to leave. Here is the memorial prepared by her family...

Kaibab’s Green Tara

November 22, 2008 – December 15, 2017

 What can we say about Kaibab's Green Tara, or to us... Woogie, Tarabear, Tana Banana, Tara Bobara, and Mrs. Wigglebottom?

Well, from the day she first came home, we knew she had her own voice.  Not only the distinctive bark, but we invented a voice for her... and yes, we had a lot of conversations over the years.  She sang songs, she made smart aleck teenager comments.  Her personality was apparent from day one.  She barked at strangers, but the denizens of the house got nothing but love (even the mean old cat).

When she was a baby she was already the size of our full grown pug, Kiko.  I'm not sure what Kiko thought when week after week, she just kept getting bigger and bigger.  I do know that Kiko got used to her size and would happily share his water dish with Tara.  He, standing beneath her drinking from the edge, and she, her head as big as his body drinking from the other side.

We think that growing up with a pug and a cat, made Tara believe that she was a small dog.  She had no idea that she couldn't fit in certain places.  And she seemed to believe that if her head was hidden, so was the rest of her body.  Tara loved to "hide"  with her head underneath a nightstand or coffee table.  When we would inevitably find her, we would ask, "Tara, what are you doing?", and she would answer, in her voice, of course... "I'm hiding."

Tara was our first Berner.  As such she taught us a lot of things that we had never encountered with our pugs.  Leaning against us to the point of pushing us off the couch.  Walking in between our legs so that she could get the best position for a back scratch and a good tail wag.  Barking at every new person that came to the door only to wag her tail expecting to be petted moments later.  Eating dandelions when they first bloomed, but not the late spring ones, she had standards. Watching this big bear of a dog walk around in a field of dandelions in spring, dandelion fluff floating all around her and stuck to her fur, was a magical sight to behold.

In the mornings at our house, Sam gets up earlier for work, and after he gets out of the bed, Tara always jumped up into the bed with Liz for morning snuggles. This developed into a morning ritual, where Tara would snuggle and get belly and head rubs, and Tara and Liz would make eye contact and share loving words (Tara, in her own voice, of course).  Sam's snuggle time with Tara was called bearcation...  this was reserved for the evenings on the large chaise affectionally called the "bear chair." 

Walking with Tara was like walking into a Mary Oliver poem.  She loved to feel the breeze on her face.  She played in the snow as if she had discovered snow for the first time each winter morning.  She smelled deeply of flowers on every walk.  She disliked water, but would walk right up to the edge of a stream, lake, or ocean with curiosity, but it was never enough to dip a paw into it. She was a great hiking companion, whether in the mountains or in the city, she was always excited to go outside and explore the world around her. 

Joining the Kaibab family also meant that we were invited to attend Camp Kaibab! At Camp Kaibab, Mary-Ann guided us in nurturing Tara's natural love for agility and learning the various exercises (except for that confounding wobble board!). She got to hang with her own Berner family and some of her siblings there, and it was great to watch her early love of learning and working develop. 

These and many other memories are the things that we will miss dearly now that she is gone. We were so lucky to get nine beautiful years with our girl, and yet, at the same time, it feels so searingly short, and as if we were just getting started in this life together. Tara, we love you, and we hold you closely in our hearts. Thank you for being our Berner Buddha of compassion.


I do not have the right words to express my love, respect, and appreciation for Liz and Sam. They walked Tara through her life with such love. The thought and grace they showed every single day for the months of Tara's illness was inspiring. They squared up and faced the heartbreak, and then walked with it until the day that Tara had to go ahead and leave behind their shattered hearts. Not a day soon, not a day late, not too much, not too little. Palliative care for a dog is a thing, friends -- and Sam and Liz did it to perfection.

I am better for having been part of their journey -- and that makes me part of Tara's legacy. Thank you -- every one of you -- for thinking of Tara today, and for noticing that one dog makes a Big Impact.


by Lori S. on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:10

What a beautiful tribute to a special girl. My deepest condolences to Sam and Liz and you, Mary-Ann. I wish you all comfort and peace, knowing you gave her all the love her heart could hold and the life she deserved.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:46

Thank you, Lori, for the kind words. It's comforting to feel "held" by the Kaibab family during this time.

by Carol K on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:48

My deepest condolences to Sam and Liz over the loss of the lovely Tara who I had the honor of grooming here at one time- a real lady she was- so very sorry to hear of her loss and what a wonderful tribute to the precious soul she was...

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:47

Thank you, Carol. You always made her look so beautiful, and she loved hanging out with Brimmi and the guests of your home.

by Chonteau on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:08

What a wonderful celebration of life for your four legged family member. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. May your love for sweet Tara always be an inspiration to live life beyond all limits. May her teachings and beauty live forever in your hearts.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:48

Thank you, Chonteau, for the beautiful words, and intentions, they really resonate.

by Sandy on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:16

What a beautiful tribute to your special girl, Tara. She was so lucky to have been raised with so much love and devotion. I could hardly read your tribute because of the tears in my eyes. Her pawprints will be in your hearts forever.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:49

Thank you, Sandy. I'm definitely joining you in the crying, puffy eyes department. Thank you for your open heart, and sharing in this tribute with us.

by Bronagh on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:35

Such a majestic dog and what a gift to have spent her years being loved by the beautiful-hearted Liz. Sorry for your loss. Tara - a great Irish name.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:51

Bronagh, thank you for taking time to read and share your kind words. A fitting Irish name for dog with at least 1 largely Irish-American parent (and Sam does claim 3% Irish ancestry from his DNA test, ha!). I'll be heading to Esalen again in February, and will miss you dearly this year...

by BarbZ on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:43

Tara had a wonderful life filled with love. It shines through in all the pictures.
I am so very sorry for your loss. XOXO

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:52

Thanks again, Barb. I know I said this, but we have always loved opportunities to hang out with you and Zaida! I'm grateful to be part of the Kaibab family with you.

by Gibble on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 14:08

Tara was a brilliantly shining fluffy so filled with love. I am so sorry, Sam and Liz. This tribute is perfect and beautiful, just like Tara. Sending all my love!

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:26

Thank you, Laura. We appreciate it so much.

by Terri Binion on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:30

Sam and Liz, we should all be so lucky to have such love in our lives! The love you have for each other and the love you gave to Tara and the way she loved you back is a true gift of life. A life you were so willing to share and oh so brightly from within and outward. Thank you for being that way. I am heartbroken too reading this and seeing these pictures of such perfection and all that is no longer there to see, to touch and to hold. I’m sorry.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:28

Oh Terri, thank you so much for sharing and connecting so deeply with us here. Much love to you, sister. I am in Orlando today through 1/15. If you have time for a coffee, lunch, beer, etc, please let me know. I would love to see you in person and connect.

by Nikolai Houston on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 20:55

Looking though the pictures and reading about Tara, I am reminded by how blessed we are to have animal loved ones in our lives. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you had support and guidance in the process of caring for Tara and letting her go with love. Thank you for sharing your connection. The pictures are a joy!

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:31

Nik, thank you for what you shared. Yes, blessed resonates with me. Blessed with Tara and all of our Berner family, and also with our friends and family who support us and hold us, during times of grief and tremendous loss. Thank you, friend.

by Jennifer Z on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:20

Such a beautifully written story of a love shared. Thank you for sharing I am so sorry for the loss of Tara. She sounds wonderful.

by Liz on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:32

Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind words.

by Kay on Fri, 01/05/2018 - 07:39

Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to a wonderful dog. She may be gone but certainly will never be forgotten. It is evident you meant so much to each other and we share your grief.

by Elizabethanne on Fri, 01/05/2018 - 23:51

Liz and Sam, I am so very sorry to see that you have lost your sweet girl. Tara was one of my very favorites. So happy and smart and beautiful and so much like her mother, Cadi. And you were both just so great with her in class. Hugs to you during this very sad time.

by Mari on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 15:18

What a lovely tribute to a beautiful girl. I hope that in time the memories of good times shared bring you smiles through the tears.

by LeLaina on Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:00

This tribute is so beautiful...I feel Tara's presence in it. Even though I only spent a little bit of time with her over the years, I know her through your love, Liz and Sam. Here for you as you grieve.

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