Guinevere (or Winnie, as we called her), was a purebred Irish Wolfhound. I've already talked about the sad and sudden circumstances of her demise.... so let's talk about her life.
Like so many of her breed, she was a homebody - devoted to her family and familiar routines, wary of strangers, suspicious of change.
She joined us when our first child was just 8 months old, and grew to be a faithful and gentle companion to them. Although she had little use for unfamiliar adults, she was always pleased to be mobbed and fussed over by young children.
Once her beloved doggy mentor Lightning passed on, Winnie's absolute best friend and companion was the Cat.
They hung out together on lazy afternoons - in latter years, neither wanted to go out unless the other came along. They washed each other's ears, though as Winnie's tongue was the size of Basil's head, he would emerge from his turn soaked and sticky... but purring madly. Basil established himself as boss early in her puppyhood, and occasionally when the mood struck him, would lurk evilly on the countertop at the choke point separating Winnie from her food dish. It was quite a sight to see a 165 lb dog quaking and whimpering in fear of being swatted by the cat. He got his comeuppance not long before she died though - Winnie made a mad dash for the kitchen, Basil reached out to smack her backside... and got his claws caught in her long winter coat. He spent several inglorious moments bouncing off her heaving buttocks before managing to extricate himself.
Winnie prefered to spend much of her day, especially in latter years, hanging out in companionable silence, but when she got the urge to be adored, there was no refusing her. That enormous head would appear in your lap... or face, breathing heavily, tail wagging furiously, and there was nothing for it but to cuddle and fawn over her until she was satisfied.
Early attempts to turn her into a running companion came to naught - she would slow to a walk after a couple of blocks, and if I persisted, finally flop down on the sidewalk or trail and refuse to get up. Since she outweighed me by a considerable margin, there wasn't much recourse. We had her checked for orthopedic issues, but she was perfectly healthy, and as soon as I gave up and turned around, she'd leap to her feet and sprint happily for home. Family walks were a different matter, her only concern being if there was a distance between us and she had to choose whom to keep in safe proximity.
She was a magnificent creature, and a loving and beloved part of our family. She is sorely missed.