10/19/2005 - 10/19/2019It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that our Labrador Retriever “Tahoe” has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Tahoe truly lived a charmed life of just over 14 years and now she can join her “sister” and partner in crime and mischief “Sahara” our German Shepherd who left us almost two years ago.

When Tahoe first joined our family as a puppy she was warmly greeted by Sahara who was 1.5 years old. Sahara soon taught Tahoe all of the tricks of living in the woods as at the time we lived on the foothills of Mt Hood in Zigzag, Oregon. Squirrels were the number one prey for those two.

When she was only 8 months old I had just finished BBQ’ing a 5lb whole chicken. I had it cooling off on the cutting board in the kitchen and upon passing by I noticed it was missing. When I walked into the kitchen I saw the cutting board on the floor and a young Lab looking at me with a wing in her mouth. She promptly swallowed it and there was not a speck of evidence left. She ate the whole chicken carcass and all!

Throughout the many camping trips and fishing and hunting adventures Tahoe was truly a sportsman’s dog. One time Sahara, Tahoe and I were in my old Jeep and were checking out hunting areas. I crawled up this old logging road for about a half an hour checking things out. When I reached the top I looked back and Tahoe was nowhere to be found. The back of my jeep was empty. It was just Sahara and myself (Sahara looked as startled as I was that she wasn’t there). I drove back down the road asking people that I passed if they had seen a Lab. Finally after going about three miles I got out my binoculars and spotted a black dot moving around in a river another half mile down the road. When I got there Tahoe looked up and calmly jumped back into the Jeep all soaking wet after having spent the last 45 minutes swimming in a portion of Hood River.

Besides retrieving ducks, one of her most favorite things to do was to go crabbing or crawfishing with me. As soon as I would approach the buoy that was floating on the end of the trap she would leap off the bow of the boat and retrieve it for me. The one problem I occasionally had was that I was usually crabbing during Salmon season and the seals and sea lions would also be in the bay. Tahoe would try and go play with them at times thinking they were her friends.

Once while on a road trip with my oldest daughter Mikayla as she was visiting prospective colleges to attend we stopped at Montana State in Bozeman, MT. Just as they were telling the prospective students about their famed ducks on campus and the fines that are issued if somebody harms one, Tahoe slips out of the motorhome and then I’m heard yelling “Tahoe leave those ducks alone” as she is running towards her prey. Fortunately I caught her but I think at that point Mikayla immediately eliminated Montana State as an option and tuned out the rest of the campus tour that day.

Another time when I was in Florida visiting my mom I had Mikayla in charge of watching the dogs. A freak situation that caused a gap in my fence (that I’m pretty sure happened as the results of Mikayla’s dog Molly who was an escape artist) resulted in Tahoe going missing. Kayla was very upset and called me at around 2:00 AM Eastern Time. Long story short after face book posts and looking on Craigslist Tahoe was eventually found. When Kayla went to pick her up she found that she was being treated like a queen. They fed her pizza and she even slept with them in their bed. I’m pretty sure Kayla took Tahoe back over to their house a couple of times for visitation because their kids enjoyed her so much.

Tahoe spent the last two years of her life living in Henderson, NV. She would sunbathe daily and up until recently would swim in the pool every day, with nine to ten swims daily not being uncommon. She recently celebrated her 14th birthday (one month ago to the day) but unfortunately that was to be her last.

Today Tahoe enjoyed her last meal one that I am proud to say was chocked full of all of her favorites (livers, chicken hearts, gizzards, squirrel, duck, chicken, bacon, beef steak, hamburger, cheese, select sausages, French fries as well as some whipped cream for dessert). Yes she eagerly munched it down. I can honestly say from the time she entered our life as a puppy up to and including today she never once missed a meal.

Today we enjoyed our last meal and beer together.

Run free Tahoe! You are now free of all your pain. I’m sure Sahara will greet you and show you around just like she did when you first joined our family.

RIP Tahoe!!! You will be missed.
Randy BallardHenderson, NevadaOctober 20, 2019
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My heart was thinking of you extra today little T 💕 CC too 💕 So glad you two are causing trouble together again!Mikayla Ballard - February 21, 2020
My sweat baby girl Tahoe. A ball of energy since day one. My silly girl who was always down to adventure, snooze, or snack. Sahara’s best friend and loyal companion to us all, especially my dad. Oh how you will be dearly missed. I am so happy you are with your sister again watching over us, patiently waiting. Young and healthy and free. My little teapot. So many moments I will never forget: our infamous Montana duck incident, your great Oregon city escape, meeting you as a little puppy for the first time, sharing treats and watching you swim in any body of water just to name a few. Thank you for all the memories, thank you for being my sweet girl. I will always be thinking of you, and miss you always. I love you Tahoe!Mikayla Ballard - October 29, 2019
.Kylie Ballard - October 27, 2019

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