Donna and I lost our dear beloved pet of 11 years, Ricky-Bear, on Monday. He had been seriously ill for a long time so we knew it was coming. His condition worsened through the fall and hearing Mark and all the other people’s stories was both a comfort and a tremendous source or strength for us as we prepared for the inevitable.

Of course, we knew he was dying. We had imagined that we could keep him comfortable and see to it that he didn’t suffer badly. At the end, we couldn’t. By the last full day, Sunday, none of the things we had been doing to alleviate his suffering worked anymore. There was no amount of medication we could humanely get into him that would take away the pain that came with the very last stage of the little bear’s illness. At that point we took him to the vet first thing Monday morning and had the doctor end his suffering.

We didn’t want to put Ricky down. We wanted, as difficult as it had become, to care for him, to take him to his favorite places and share with him his favorite things. At the end, it didn’t matter what, we wanted. Putting him down was the only thing we could do to protect him from the pain that came with his physical deterioration.

That is our story.

Here is Ricky’s story.
Ricky-Bear, also know as Mr. Bear, Baby-Bear, Mr. Baby and Little Lamb was, by our best estimates, 14 years old. That is 98 to you and me. We are not 100% sure of Ricky’s age because he was rescued.
Although it was a dog’s life, Ricky never lived like a dog. His favorite foods were lobster, shrimp and especially braunschweiger, a German liver sausage. Not much is known about his early life except that he spent some unpleasant years in Jersey City. Ricky was rescued and brought to the home of Donna’s father, Sunshine Hill Farm.
This was a time of great joy for Ricky and it was where he met the love of his life, Donna from Manasquan. It was Donna who first brought Ricky to the Lake in Spring Lake, Ricky’s favorite place in the whole world. In the winter, Ricky would often take long walks on the beach with Donna’s dad. One time in fact, they received as summons because they walked three miles into Manasquan where dogs are not permitted on the beach, even in the off-season.
After Donna married her true love, Kelan from Manasquan, Ricky would stay with Kelan and Donna when her dad traveled. Eventually her dad’s travel schedule was such that Ricky came to live with Kelan and Donna permanently. Kelan and Donna loved Ricky treating him with kindness and respect. Ricky was, according to Kelan, his adoptive father, the best dog he had ever known.
In his life Ricky-Bear enjoyed fine food, travel and unauthorized swimming when no one was looking. In particular, Mr. Bear loved to go to New England. Highlights of his life include flying in a plane, boating and riding on an all terrain vehicle. Ricky had an active social life and loved both hosting and attending extravagant parties.
A staunch conservative, Ricky-Bear was the mascot of the Rush Limbaugh Fan Club founded by Donna from Manasquan. Ricky was also associated with the Manasquan Republican Club and other social and charitable efforts. Ricky participated in efforts to support our troops and helped Donna raise thousands of dollars for a variety of charities including Prodigal House, the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Ricky died with dignity at Belmar-Wall Animal Hospital on Monday November 19, 2007. He will be sorely missed.

Kelan & Donna from NJ