I am a dog lover. I got my wife a yellow lab puppy in December 2003 after much begging. We had dogs in the past together but could never get past the puppy stages and had to take them back. Years ago I had a dog Angel a Spitz breed dog that lived for almost 15 years. She was an outdoor dog and honestly I have always felt guilty she never got the love and attention she deserved. When we got Harley, our Fox Red lab as a puppy we fell in love with her. I swore I would spoil this dog like I never did with my Angel.

Within a few months we discovered harley had a heart murmur that wasnt life threatning but treatable. We werent in a financial position to have the treatment done so we resigned ourselves to living day to day and see how she got on. Well, she never ever showed any signs of any heart problems. She still had the heart murmur but she ran, played catch, did everything a puppy and then a grown dog would normally do. This past year I took an out state construction job that allowed me to take Harley with me on my travels. She would ride in the front seat of my truck, all 100 lbs. of her enjoying her trips with me. Now harley mind you at 100 lbs, would sleep on my lap in my recliner stretched out all 5-6 feet of her. She was smart and probably had a 50 word knowledge of the english language. She was our baby, our child if you will. Her ability to know when something was wrong between me and my wife or when I was sick she would keep her distance waiting for me to get better. She just knew things, Dogs just know things people dont. Now I have liver in Omaha, Ne all 50 years of my life and my wife and I just decided to up and move to Colorado. She moved before me so I could finish up work in Omaha and I moved out mid-August. We always told Harley that we were going to live in Colorado. She would get so excited when I said the name Colorado.

Now in June and then in July Harley had a few heart wrenching seizures that the vets said were just a lab thing. These things just drove me to tears and I felt helpless when she was having the Grand Mal seizures. We went till September 12 without any troubles. She was loving her new home, we were out in the yard playing catch and she was just being Harley. She loved life so much. I came in and she started to wobble a bit and I knew she was seizing. I laid her down and got her through it. When she got up she followed me into the living room and as usual she hopped up on my lap. I noticed she was panting and her heart was beating so fast. I went to get her water and of course she followed me into the kitchen. Halfway there she stopped and wobbled a bit. I laid her down and she started seizing again. I realized her heart wasnt beating and I just held her, held her head and petted her fur telling her that daddy and mommy loved her and were sorry we couldnt make her better. I knew she was dying but I let her know I was here for her and I would see her someday in heaven. She died in my arms. I pass that spot on the floor everyday and it just kills me.

I met my wife at the vet where we said our goodbyes again. I hugged my wife and I kissed my harley one last time. I had her cremated and her ashes are sitting on my desk at home. Im in Omaha again working on a project for 3 months and her pictures are on my dresser. I have her photo on my cellphone and miss her every day. Im getting over, no learning to cope with her death better each day but like you say Mark, ” we are the lucky ones” Dogs just give us unconditional love, nothing else. If people could be more like amimals and dogs especially the world would be a better place. Im enclosing a photo of her. I am almost through with your book. I must tell you I was bawling after the forward Mark:)

Rob from CO