I adopted Soro from a shelter when he was 12 weeks old. He was the dog that got me started in training. Soro was amazing - he was great with children and a ham around people, he loved to learn, and he was patient and steady through all of our adventures. Soro and I drove across the country a handful of times, lived in numerous states, hung out with other dogs and roommates, and hiked through all terrain. He had a "presence" that is hard to describe. Full of confidence and swagger, but also a gentle soul, Sor was the kind of dog that people felt comfortable being around.
However, he had some behavior challenges. Sor was a severe resource guarder, the kind of dog who would bite and puncture other dogs for getting too close to his food or toys. He'd have probably done the same to people if I didn't manage the issue early on. He was also "dog selective" which meant he didn't get along with many other dogs and would react aggressively if they invaded his personal space. Thankfully, with the right approach Soro was able to live a wonderful, full life. In his time he was a demo-dog in my group classes, participated in kid's camps, and learned over 70 different tricks. He could even hike with my friends' dogs as long as I introduced him properly.
Soro went on his last backpacking adventure at 11 and a half years of age and held his own. Sadly, he developed bone cancer shortly after that. He lived to be 12 and a half years old, and he passed peacefully in my home and in my arms. He was my best friend through some of my most formative years. He was my first teacher. I will miss him forever.