Tanzi was not her full name. It’s short for Mampatanzika which — in the native language of Madagascar where our son (who named her for us) served in the Peace Corps almost two decades ago — means “gives strength.” And over the course of her almost 15 years of life, she did exactly that.
She was a rescue puppy whose mixed breeding was determined by a young friend from church about a year after her birth to be composed largely of flat-coated retriever. Already at five years old, he was an avid reader and, as it turns out, also a careful researcher who determined her breed from a thorough review of the photographs he found in a weighty book on dog breeds in his family’s library — an authoritative tome he brought with him to confirm how he had made his determination. Flipping to the page in question, he said excitedly, “Doesn’t this look just like her!” And he was right. With an elegant, solid black coat and a beautifully fluffy, feathered tail, she looked exactly like the model for the breed which that book displayed.