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The first dog that entered my life was a cream colored 60 poound mutt named Argo. I got Argo in the winter of 1981. When I first brought him home, he was small enough he could not even come up to first step into the house. Before long though he was a bundle of energy, running throught the house, running up and down stairs as though they did not even exist.

Argo loved to roam the neighborhood. At times he would disappear for more than a day, and just about the time I figured he wasn't coming back, I would hear him scratching at the back door wanting to come inside. At times like that I wish he could have talked, so I could know where he had been and what he had seen.

Since Argo roamed, he was not very good on hiking, long canoe trips or camping trips. But he did join me on numerous shorter canoe trips, including a couple of trips down the Current River in Missouri. On these canoe trips, he would just sit in the middle of the canoe, with his head resting on the gunwale. Argo wasn't real thrilled with swimming, when he was young, he would only get his feet wet, but later he would come into the water only if people were out in the water and then he would be the last in and the first out.

On July 25, 1994, I wrote to Argo's friends the following note:

    Last night I lost a very near and dear friend.
    About 8:20 Sunday evening I had to make the toughest decision of my life, I had to say farewell to Argo. Argo was 12 years, 9 months and 22 days old, he had led a full life and I am glad that he was part of my life. I will treasure my memories of him for the rest of my days, I remember fondly they way he would nudge me with his nose when he wanted attention and the way he would push his face between my crossed legs. I remember the way his ears bounced while walking up his path in my parent's backyard. I remember the way he would scratch at the backdoor to announce that he wanted to come inside or go out. I remember his happy smile and lively eyes. I remember most of all the way he cheered me up whenever I was feeling a little down and the way he always gave me his love.
    In the end though, he just wore out. His back legs, which had been getting weaker the past couple of years, just quite working. It was so hard to watch him try to get around the last few days, especially since he was such a robust dog earlier in life.
    But now he is able to run free once again to chase all the bunny rabbits to his heart's desires. I laid him to rest in the place he knew the best, my parent's backyard.

Argo was named after a beautiful lake in Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park.