Astaire, Champ

Hi Mark,
I listen to you each day on my drive home here in New Mexico. I am a schoolteacher and with a childhood filled with asthma I did not have many pets at all until we moved from Brooklyn to a larger home in upstate New York. Astaire was our very first family dog. He was found in a paper along the side of the road with another dog the humane society named Ginger. Well he was a rotweiler mix and just adorable. He did not live for but 2 years due tot the fact that from the abuse and a condition his legs gradually got worse until he was in so much pain and could not walk anymore without simply dragging his back end. We had to give him to the Lord after such a short time with us. Champ, a black lab mix, found us, at the Humane Society after we had just put down our first dog Astaire. He was so active and bubbly we almost did not get him. I was 13 at the time and my brother was 10 and my parents did not want to add a hyperactive dog to the mix, but like I said he picked us. He became such an important member of our family waiting for us to come home from work or school and always there to dash to the door when we said the word “walk”. He lived a great life for 11 years with us until he got sick with a tumor and had to be put down. It was one of the worst days of my life. My dad had to go and bring him to the vet because no one else was strong enough to do it but him. He had to be strong for all of us – we had so many nicknames for him, but “champsy” was what we called him the most. I know he is healthy and happy running around in heaven and we will see him again someday. Here is a poem I wrote when he passed on.

Always Chasing a ball, sock, or bone,
Always Hearing our thoughts when we are alone,
Always Accompanying us wherever we may roam,
Always Meeting us at the door when we come home,
Always Protective of Mom, Dad, Vito, And Me,
Always a CHAMP and forever you will be.

Thank you Mark for giving us this forum to honor and remember our special family members. I hope to adopt another dog in the future.

Toni Ann
Las Cruces, NM

A poem that helped me deal with all of this is called Rainbow Bridge and the author is unknown –
here it is:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

Toni from VA