Every Anatolian owner has at least one "special" dog who makes a permanent home in their heart. My "heart" dog was ARBA BIS CH Alaturka Kibardev Senflower, affectionately known as Devver. He had a magnificent presence coupled with an air of calm dignity that was immediately recognized by all creatures large and small. Ever the gentleman, even as a puppy, Devver was not mischievous or disobedient. He always displayed good humor and utter patience. Even when snarling Rottweilers and other tough breeds approached him aggressively on dog show grounds and elsewhere, he quietly watched them until they changed their minds, which they always did.
Dev loved the show ring, loping past the steward’s table and the crowds with a smile, while displaying his powerful, flowing gait. At the tender age of 14 months, Devver became ARBA's #1 Anatolian after becoming one of only three Anatolians to be awarded an ARBA Best In Show, and the only Anatolian to go all the way to Best In Show from the 12-15mo puppy class. He quickly finished his ARBA championship shortly thereafter. Two months after taking BIS, he pulled a cruciate ligament in his right knee, ending his show career and leaving him with a permanent limp. Dev underwent three painful surgeries in two years without complaint, winning new fans every time we had to go back to the doctor's office for his stoicism in the face of painful adversity.
In true Anatolian fashion, Dev was an impeccable guard dog, requiring a formal introduction and a good sniff of new people whom he remained aloof from until some undetermined time when he would greet them without a bark and allow them close to me. Until then, he warned people off as he stood with the length of his body directly in front of me even if I told him it was “okay”. On rare occasions, he met fortunate people of whom he approved immediately.
When his adored sister, Karma, passed away with a three week old litter of nine puppies on the ground, Devver took it upon himself to guard the puppies to a fault. Even prospective puppy owners were hard pressed to win his approval. He patiently raised two of the pups that I kept from the litter, allowing them to pull his ears and tail and walk all over him as puppies have a wont to do.
On or off leash, his head was always pressed close to my right hip except for calls of nature or perceived threats that he felt needed looking into. Then he was back at my side, pressing his head into my hip for a hug. Months before he became obviously ill, I sensed that our time together was short so we took more frequent long walks and had long talks and shared big hugs.
At the end, he laid quietly in my arms until the moment his spirit left. Through my tears, I could see him running, carefree at last, in a field of grass, with the sun burnishing his beautiful red coat.
While I grieve and tears fall often, more frequently I am grateful for a quiet moment to allow the powerful spirit of my best and most loyal friend to envelope me with his love.
A heart of gold stopped beating,