A Tribute to Senshi
10/04/2001 to 04/02/2016

Senshi watching the Rose Bowl

Senshi came to live at the Knoll house on January 4, 2002. I had been looking for a Labrador Retriever, and an email had gone out at work about a stray Labrador found on a sandbar in the Kansas river. Randy & Beth Listrom ended up with her and were looking for a home for her. My girlfriend at the time, Annie and I, went to see her. She was about four to six months old at the time and didn’t appear to be full-blooded lab. She was black with just a touch of white on the chest. She had a long snout, and the lines of a greyhound, but a broad Lab rear-end. Beth called her ‟Little Bit.‟ We brought her home and introduced her to the pack.Paying attention!

Senshi walked into the living room and was greeted by my large German Shepard dog Phoebe. Phoebe growled at her and posted up on her. I expected Senshi to whimper and run away, but she got right back in Phoebe’s face and stood her ground. Senshi bared her teeth and let out a low, powerful growl. Phoebe backed off and looked at us, then they sniffed each other for a while and decided to be friendly.

Our other dogs at the time were Phoebe and Molly. We had lost a yellow lab, Sally, the October before. I wanted to keep the pack’s initials PMS, so I started looking for a female’s name that started with ‟S‟ which would suit her personality. After some searching on the internet, I came across a Japanese word, Senshi, which means ‟warrior.‟ The way this dog stood up to a harsh Kansas winter on a sandbar and stood up to Phoebe, I knew this one was a warrior. Thus ‟Little Bit‟ became Senshi. When I sat in my recliner, Senshi liked to crawl in my lap and take a nap. At these times I realized she had the big butt of a lab, and started calling her Squenchy Butt, and that evolved into Squenchy Butt Nutt or Butter Nutt, or as Kim just called her, Butt.
Senshi giving me a kiss
Senshi was a real sweetheart and would have been the perfect indoor dog if she didn’t have an annoying trait of a having a weak bladder when she was younger. More than once while she was napping in my lap I would feel my leg getting warm and discover that she had peed on my leg in her sleep. That is why she didn’t get to sleep on the bed. But sometimes on those ‟dark and stormy nights,‟ she would get scared and jump into bed with us. Despite her having the heart of a warrior, she was always scared of thunderstorms and was surprisingly sensitive. When one of the other dogs generated a harsh word, Senshi always thought she was in trouble and would sulk off somewhere until we found her and told her she wasn’t in trouble.

In her younger days, Senshi had the speed of a greyhound and an amazing talent to hoard tennis balls in her long snout. I would throw a ball as far as I could in the backyard. Phoebe, Molly and Senshi would all chase after them with the speedster Senshi leaving the rest of the pack in the dust. And she was greedy - even though she might have had one or two tennis balls in her mouth, she could fit three, and wouldn’t let the other dogs have one until her snout was full. When Schön (our small German Shepard dog) arrived, Schön would give her a run for her money, but eventually Schön decided it was more fun to let Senshi run to get the ball and ‟attack‟ her on her way back to me. When Senshi started letting Schön get to the ball first, I knew her joints were starting to ache and she was slowing down a bit.

Senshi streching out
Senshi began developing tumors all over her body, but she kept powering through life not letting them bother her. After losing an eyeball to some type of infection in late 2015, she still rallied and enjoyed life. Eventually, she was diagnosed with liver cancer which would have killed her at some point, but due to her warrior spirit and caring love from Kim, Senshi rallied and stayed mostly healthy until the end. Kim started feeding Senshi a diet of homemade food recommend by her friend Deb which consisted of baked potato, broccoli, yogurt and salmon. Senshi loved it and ate heartily until her last week.

Senshi went out Easter Sunday morning like normal, but started falling down and having trouble walking later that day. Kim took her to the vet and an X-ray showed a large tumor on her spleen that was pressing on her spine. Even though she was 14 ½ years old, we made the decision to have her spleen removed to give her a shot at a longer life. She had the surgery on March 31, 2016, and came home later that day, but apparently the surgery was too much for her old body to handle and she died in my arms on Saturday, April 2, 2016. She had a great life here, and we will miss her immensely. So long, my little Butt Nutt.


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