Chico, Yankee & Teddy, Lucy, Beau,

Over the years I have had the privilege of sharing my home with dogs and cats. I also have horses. These animals have given me far more than I can ever repay. They taught me to accept whatever comes my way and just keep on keeping on. Chico, my old gelding passed away at age 30. He was a big white horse – weighed 1500 pounds. When he had a child or beginner on his back he would walk like he was carrying precious cargo. If he felt them slip he would simply stop no matter what they were asking of him. My dogs were all rescues as were all of my cats. They took care of my children (no one touched the kids in anger – mine or any other child). Yankee and Teddy (Theodore Bear) were 40 lbs and 130 lbs respectively. Yankee ruled. She would steal Teddy’s dog bones and hide them where he was too big to reach. They both lived to be 15 years of age. Barney was rescued from floodwaters by my sister. He was a coonhound and Teddy’s best friend. When Teddy and Yankee died Barney went into such a decline that no vet could help him. He died at age 10 one year after Teddy passed away. I cannot describe the agony we all felt watching him slip away like this. He developed colon cancer which the vet felt had been dormant until the stress of losing his best buddy caused it to become active and grow.

Then there was Lucy my white German Shepherd who spent eight hours at my son’s 21st birthday party going from guest to guest and having them throw her ball so she could fetch it. Lucy had a malignant tumor on her heart which was undetected until she suddenly began to bleed internally. She was dead in spite of the vets efforts within three hours. He and I were so upset (thinking she may have been poisoned) that he performed a necropsy and found the tumor. I was devastated but also helped by the knowledge that no one could have saved her or changed the outcome.

Beau came next with hemophilia (Von Willebrand disorder) He would bleed uncontrollably if injured or stressed. They told me to expect no more than 5 years – he lived to 12 and I was grateful for every day. I had a cat who made it to 25 years we called him the energizer kitty. I currently have an abused cat with three legs that has been with me for ten years and I am amazed at her. She just climbs up with her front legs drags her remaining hind leg (both had been broken and not treated when she was rescued) and never acts like anything is wrong. This is what I mean by teaching me to suck it up and just do what I must. These animals bring so much joy into my life. I treat every day with them as a gift from God. They give love without any condition or prejudice and leave joy wherever they go. I know how you feel about Sprite because I have had to do the unthinkable myself over the years when the illness was so painful that life was just existence waiting for the end. I hate it and it goes against my soul but I also know that there is nothing left for my beloved friend but pain and I owe it to them to make it stop. God bless you Mark, you are a great teacher and an inspiration to me.

Elaine from MD