Dog gone

To the Editor:

Cirra the Great Pyrenees enjoyed a wonderful life on Mount Desert Island. Her name came from cirrus clouds, the highest hair-like clouds signaling fair or pleasant weather. She was one of five white females born to Glimmer of Hope and Spirit of Thornhill and was also named Glimmers’ Spirit of Acadia.

As an exceptional ambassador for the breed, Cirra educated people about Great Pyrenees. Cirra was a best friend, guardian, companion and teacher.

Cirra and her people spent considerable time training to become a therapy team. She was chosen as a puppy because of her sociable nature, important for any breed, however especially important for a livestock guardian breed. As such, she was often the class clown in advanced obedience. It seemed that Cirra would do anything just to get a laugh out of people!

Cirra eventually settled into therapy work after getting her Canine Good Citizen at 15 months and her Therapy Dogs International Inc. certification at two and a half years of age.

Cirra became best friends with her readers and helped them to learn to read aloud with confidence and enjoyment. She taught them about responsible dog ownership and companionship. The children would often choose her books to read, especially her “C is for Cirra” alphabet book. Cirra was content as long as she had a reader to listen to.

This summer, Cirra received her AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) Title for volunteering over 400 visits as a therapy dog. To her last month, Cirra visited seniors at Birch Bay Village in Bar Harbor and listened to readers at the Northeast Harbor Library.

Ironically, just before she passed, Cirra was one of five dogs in the nation to receive the 2014 Therapy Dog Honorable Mention Award for Canine Excellence from the American Kennel Club Humane Fund.

Cirra was a Dog Scout of America and a founding member of the Downeast Dog Scouts in Hancock County. It was Cirra’s mission as a Dog Scout to strengthen the human canine bond for the next generation.

Cirra loved her daily walks and had walked every inch of the Carriage Road system in Acadia. It was hard to get a walk in quickly sometimes because of the “paparazzi” and the questions about the “polar bear.”

In Cirra’s youth, she climbed Acadia’s mountains, and there is nothing so magnificent as a Pyr surveying the land and sea from on high! She was a true Pyrenean Mountain Dog!

Most of all, Cirra had a wicked sense of humor and truly a mind of her own. Her most favorite things were snow, popovers, happy puppies, dog friends, listening to readers, cool breezes, high places, stealing socks, sleeping in, daily walks, woofing, guarding and being the center of attention. A friend called her “Cirra the Great,” and she truly was. We as well as the community will miss her greatly. You made a difference, Cirra!

Robyn Douglas

Denise Houseknecht

Bar Harbor

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