Her name was Gillian..she was my number 4 little girl dog, my beach buddy, my two ball dog…mother of 11 heavenly pups…asking only for the sound of my voice or the touch of my hand…she was my most magnificent friend.

Mark, I have been through this anguish and loss 4 times in my life…each time unspeakably hard, rivers of tears and a heart that is so broken it’s difficult to know how it keeps beating.

All of my girls were Golden Retrievers. I still puddle up over the loss of my first, Peaches, and that was over 15 years ago. Then there was Sundae, my happy tail girl..and then the loss of my beloved sainted Penelope…I called her my little ferry boat..because when she went swimming she simply glided slowly into the water.

Gillie was diagnosed with liver cancer the day before Thanksgiving las year. I lost my Gillie last December 18. She was only 9 years old.

The real story lies in what she gave to me.

Gillie gave birth to 9 glorious pups April 26th of 2000. Never being allowed to have a dog growing up…this was a childhood dream come true. It’s a tremendous undertaking and more work than I could have ever imagined, but, an experience full of laughter and so much joy mere words cannot express. Helping Gillie with her babies…and seeing to it that everthing was done to perfection…seeing to the little mother’s needs…did you know she ate 7 meals a day just to keep her milk up? I was happily exhausted and in seventh heaven.

My only child, my son, who lives in Florida, was diagnosed with stage 4 non hodgkins lymphoma 4 weeks after the pups arrived. My daughter-in-law was 7 months pregnant with their first child…my first grandchild.

It’s difficult to say how I felt when I got the news…fear fills you so completely.

My son came to Seattle to see the pups and hug his mom after his diagnosis. Blessing is, he has been in remission for 5 years now. Being 3000 miles away from him during his treatment was so damn hard…but, he knew I had to care for the pups and Gillie, so I planned to visit after the pups went to their new homes.

I have to say those pups kept me sane…every time I began to be sick with worry…someone needed something…or was into something. They made me laugh all day. The little darling followed me around like a scool of fish and in the evening…after Gillie had nursed them…I would sit in their special enclosure and hold each of them…one at a time…puppy breath, warm soft fur, pure innocence, pure love…my soul was filled with peace and hope…alll the while Gillie sat near me…just watching me with her beautiful brown eyes.

After the last pup went the her new home I went into the enclosure…the sock I had tied for the pups to tug on was just hanging there…there was no warm little baby to pick up..no whining and needing me…and then it hit me…the pups had been there for me…not the other way around. I fell to my knees and cried and prayed…thanking God for his gift…the pups had come into my life at a time when I needed something to nuture and hold. And then…there, as always, was Gillie…ball in her mouth, tail whipping…as if to say…no time for tears Mom…time to play.

We are all given gifts in this life…if only we take the time to acknowledge them…Gillie Girl was truly a gift…and she left me a gift as well, her little daughter Pippin who lies at my feet at this moment.

Mark, a friend sent this to me….

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

Love and warmest regards,

Lynda from WA