Shayna, Tasha, Charlie

On January 2, 2005 my 16 ½ year old ‘Shayna’ passed. She was a rescue dog that my wife got for her father, but he could not keep her. I remember the day well – September 1988 I was at home watching the Giants vs the Cowboys. At halftime me wife arrived home (we had a 2 bedroom condo) and called me outside. Our life has never been the same.

A few months later the week before Christmas, my wife made the mistake of sending me to the vet alone. I ended up coming home with another dog. The sign in the vet’s office read find a home for Tasha. She was about 7 years old (shepherd) and had been abused I was told. I begged my wife to let me keep her. That may have been my best holiday present ever.

Well in 1989 my first son was born and in 1992 my second son. It was time to start looking for a bigger house since 2 kids and 2 dogs did not make us very popular with our next door neighbors.

We lucked out and found a house which needed a LOT of work on 2 ½ acres. When I first saw it I thought how happy the dogs would be here.

In September 1997, while my wife was at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore receiving a bone marrow transplant for breast cancer (I went down every weekend as I had to take care of the kids) I found Tasha passed away on the dining room floor. The kids had yet to see her and it was their first day of school. With the help of a neighbor they never saw what occurred. It was determined later that she had crones’ disease – she had some problems prior but the vet was never able to diagnose the problem.

In any case, trying to make this as short as possible, we got another rescue dog ‘Charlie’ which helped the kids – we were back to 2 dogs. Well in 1998 I went out again to a shelter and came home with Phil. That was my first and last trip to a shelter – I couldn’t sleep for a week and if I went again I’d come home with all of these dogs…

Well as I mentioned in January 2005 our Shayna passed away. I My wife and I were with her until the end. Even with everything we’d been through, this devastating. She was part of our family for so long…

In late 2006 my youngest son asked if we could adopt another dog. He made the very good choice of asking me and I said ‘sure’. My wife and he went and returned with ‘Raja’. My wife once again made the mistake of sending me to the vet along with a new dog, but no there were no adoption signs that day…

We now have the three dogs (and one cat ‘Blackie’ who showed up at our door in 1998). Phil the yellow lab, Charlie the black terrier mix, and Raja the puppy. During all of our family’s ups and downs (wife and I are cancer survivors’, I was diagnosed with MS in late June) I can’t imagine life without my dogs and cats. There is going to come a day when they will leave us, but I so appreciate all of the time we share. I believe that come this Christmas, I’m going to ask my wife to adopt another.

There’s not many things more rewarding than knowing you’re giving an animal a home were they are so very much loved. My only regret is that I wish I could take in more.

Jack from NY