In Memory of Hana

Parents - Scott and Robin McMurray

January 1994 - 22 October 2006

Hana died on Sunday Oct. 22. She was 13 years old. The cancer and kidney problems caught up with her and so we decided to put her to sleep. She passed over peacefully here at home with us.

Hana was born in the rice fields of Miyazaki, Japan in 1994. Her mother was a pure-bred, rough-coated Sheltie named “Mink.” We believe her father was a Shiba (Japanese breed). She was the runt of the litter and also the boss. We picked her out even before her eyes had opened. Of course Robin says that Hana picked us out! We traveled to the kennel where she was born every weekend and visited with her until she was grown enough to come home with us. Robin chose the name “Hana” because it means “flower” in Japanese and made for a nice bilingual name.

In Japan she would often go exploring with Robin all over the countryside. Nothing excited her more than to drive down a road she had never traveled before and go for a walk. In this way Robin got to know the back roads of our city there better than any of the locals did and would astonish them with her knowledge of shortcuts! Hana looked amazingly like a little red fox. When we walked her around our neighborhood, Japanese children would spot her and say, “Look! A fox!” and we’d say, “Yes, she is a fox!” and they’d run home and tell their parents about the crazy American neighbors with the fox. That was fun.

Hana was very well-traveled. She made the 12-hour plane ride to Los Angeles when we returned to the US in 1996. She loved living in LA, where we could go for walks in the sunshine almost every day. Hana in particular enjoyed the courtyard of our condo, where for hours she would chase the shadows of the birds on the ground as they flew from tree to tree. Hana also loved going to the beaches in San Diego where she could jump in the ocean waves and also chase the shadows of the seagulls as they slowly cruised up and down the beach.

Hana came to Atlanta with us in 2004, where we lived for a short time in the same apartment complex as her Aunt Courtney and cousin Gracie Mae. She really enjoyed our condo here when we moved in November 2005. From our ground-floor unit she was able to easily walk outside (in spite of her cruciate ligament injuries), as she often needed to because of the bladder cancer. As long as she was able to she took us for walks all over the property until she finally lost her strength.

Over the last few weeks we agonized over the decision to end her life. However, Hana still was enjoying eating some of her favorite foods and watching her favorite movies on TV with us. Hana had an uncanny ability to see dogs and, indeed, any animals that would appear on the TV screen and bark like crazy with no prompting from us. She was extremely intelligent and understood just about everything that was said to her and about her.

Hana got Scott out of the house for nature walks and together, we encountered the following creatures, up close and personal: a black bear, a coyote, a mole walking across an early-morning lawn, many possums, hundreds of ravens, and a little lost owl.

Hana kept Robin company through the long nights when Robin was not feeling well and also during the many out-of-town trips Scott would take for work over the last 13 years.

We will miss Hana terribly.


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