I have always owned a dog. When I was 10 yrs old my parents for Christmas that year bought me a dog, a beagle, that they named Bourbon. Bourbon was just a wonderful dog. He was playful, loving and just brought a sense of happiness to our home. When he was about a year old he developed a breathing problem that we just thought was allergies. He wouldn’t get the “hack” as we called it unless it got warm and the flowers were in bloom. My mom would go to the butcher shop and boil down the scraps that they sold for his food. He also loved table scraps. He would eat beef stew but not the peas. He would like every single pea clean of the stew gravy while leaving them in the bowl. He also ate Chinese food, but his favorite without a doubt was Italian. My mom would make spagetti sauce and he would get a small bowl with spagetti and sauce in it. He never begged at the table nor bothered anyone while they were eating. When my grandparents would come for Christmas my grandfather would bring ravioli and keilbasa. The minute he would walk through the door, there was Bourbon following him and the bag with all the “goodies” in it. He got some of each.

Each summer since both my parents worked I spent most of the time with my grandmother who loved right by the shore in NJ. I always wanted to bring Bourbon but my grandmother was somewhat allegric to dogs and cats so she couldn’t have him around all the time. While I missed him, I knew he was fine with mom and dad there to take care of him.

One specific Saturday morning, I heard my mom and dad arrive early at my grandma’s (more so than normal). When I came out of the bedroom, everyone was crying and just so upset. I asked what was wrong. My dad told me that Bourbon had died. I screamed and ran into my bedroom and locked the door not wanting to see anyone. My dad came to the door and knocked on it and asked if he could come in. I opened the door and my dad and I sat on the bed. For the first time in my 14 years, I saw my dad cry. We laughed, we cried and we hugged. He told me that they had gone out the night before and that when they came home, Bourbon didn’t come to the door. At first they thought he had gotten into something and was hiding. Then they walked into the dining room and there he was lying by the door having passed. We think it had been a heart attack.

Since 2003, I have lost my mom, my dad and my grandma. I know that they along with Bourbon are together again. I miss them all so much. I now have three dogs of my own. One is 12 yrs old and she is starting to have trouble walking (her back leg is becoming lame) and she already has an autoimmune disease. I know that time is getting short but the thought of having to eventually put her down is just killing me. I got her from a shelter in Florida and our middle dog we also got from a rescue organization. Our third dog we got from a pet store and she is a mini-schnauzer and just a love bug. Madison (the older dog) is so sweet as well. When the pup (Mandy who is the 2 yr old schnauzer) drinks water, Madison will clean her beard. It is just the sweetest thing to see. It has taken us 2 yrs to get to that point. Max our middle dog is very attached to Madison and that was the main reason we got Mandy. I pray that when the time comes that God interceeds and makes the decision that I dread making. She has been a wonderful dog. I just hope that we get to have her for a while longer.

I want to get “Rescuing Sprite” but I know that I am just going to cry my eyes out reading it. Hopefully it will help prepare me for the day we have to put our Madison down.

Dogs are just such wonderful creatures. The unconditional love that they show should be a lesson to us all.

For those who have lost a pet recently, my heartfelt sympathy. I know that soon I will be there in that position. For those who rescue these animals, I can’t thank them enough. Right now my mini-Schnauzer is in my lap as I am typing.

Julia from CA