Our First dog was a Golden Retriever named JR We got him within a week of getting our new townhouse. He was already 6 months old, the runt of the littler and almost snow white. Bad for him because his mother and father were both champion show dogs but just fine for me and my wife, we just wanted a new friend. We had no plans at all to show him or make him do anything that he didn’t want to do. His breeder called him Junior so we just took the abbreviation and called him J.R. He had some growing pains caused by the rapid long bone growth resulting from a high protein diet. Plus at first he simply would not eat. My wife and I would be on the floor in front of him hand feeding him burgers and rice. After a bit he settled in and out grew his growing pains and started to eat (and eat). The runt soon grew to a very large 115lbs. and stayed almost snow white. He was a simply gorgeous dog that while not “show quality” was maybe the best looking dog ever. He had a wonderful temperament as well. He was never one to bark, in fact it took us months to teach him. The first time he “spoke” he scared the daylights out of himself.

He was a gentle dog to. And one that never pulled away or complained about anything. On a Halloween evening I sat out on our steps with JR giving out candy to the kids. He sat with his costume on, dressed with his cape, horns and tie just watching the goings on with a bit of a goofy look on his face. At this time a little boy came by with his mother. She asked if I could put the dog in the house as the little boy had been attacked by two different dogs over the last couple on months. As I started to get up and move JR away, the little boy started walking to the candy bowl and tripped on a step. As he was falling down, he reached out to grab the first thing that would stop his fall, JR’s ears. He latched on to both of them and pulled JR down with him. Both mother and I held our breaths but JR just waited there, licked the little boys face a couple times and stood there waiting to be released buy the kid. I swear he had a smile on his face. Like everyone else’s dog, he had a built in ability to know when you were sick or just blue and would do anything to make you feel better. Sometimes it would be to just sit under your hand and let you rub his head.
On June 20th of 2000 JR looked a bit out of sorts. He was paceing around and a bit uneasy. He also seemed to not be eating or drinking water. After a day of this we took him to his doctor. It was found that his kidneys stopped working. We don’t know if he got into anything he should not have. There was none of the chemicals or antifreeze or poisonous plants that would do this. He stayed at the vets for a few days. We visited him everyday. I was sick with grief whenever I saw him. He looked so sad in the cage he was in. He just didn’t understand why he was there. The vet assured us that he was not in any pain so I was happy about that. We were just crushed that every time we went there he was not up and running around. One day the vet who was doing everything possible had told us that we needed to make a decision. This could not keep going on as nothing was helping him and he couldn’t go on forever like this. After the shock and tears from both of us, the vet said to give it a day or so. We could bring him home for the weekend to spend his last days and bring him back Monday to do what we needed to do.

He told us to leave him one last day at his office and get him on Friday afternoon.
Thankfully (in hindsight), he called us Friday morning to tell us JR had passed away on his own that morning. They walked him one last time and he came back in and just fell asleep. Wth dignity and grace he was gone. No pain. We were spared the agony of making the final decision of doing what needed to be done. As with most everyone that had a dog, we were devastated and frankly after almost 8 years I still am and am fighting tears now. He is resting under his favorite tree in the shade of our back yard. He truly was our best friend as his monument says.

Brian from NJ