I came from a big family of 11 and my parents were quite rightly opposed to having any pets in our small Baltimore County, Maryland home. So, needless to say, being the 6th of 9 children as soon as I was able (Due to the fact that my brothers and sisters had left the nest) I brought home a puppy that we had found INSIDE a dumpster in Downtown Baltimore. His ears and body were full of mites and open sores and when we bathed him the water turned red with the bloodsucking bastards!

He walked sideways for a time from the ear mite damage and he would not eat. Finally, I figured out he liked bacon and he soon started putting on weight and becoming increasingly active and more playful.
Needless to say, he became a member of the family and much loved by all he met.
We named him \”Baltimore\”.

He was 17 years old when he was playing with 2 younger dogs and tore the ligaments in both his back legs. It \”came to me\” when it was time for him to leave this earth. I have never cried so hard in my life before or since and I have lost my father, 2 brothers and a sister. I had to beg the Vet to put him down because there had to be a waiting period of 2 weeks in case the dog had bitten someone and he didn\’t want to break the law. Baltimore was feeble from his injuries and you could see he knew it was time to go.
The vet complied.

I waited outside while the Vet injected him and when it was over I came in and picked the dog up. His final breath escaped in a large \”whoosh\” and the tears whoosed from me. I was a grown man by this time and I was bawling uncontrollably… so much I had to pull over on the side of the road. A policeman pulled over to see if I was alright and all I could do was point into the back of my car and show him the vet bill. My head was bowed against the steering wheel and I felt him pat me soundly on the shoulders as he walked back to his cruiser. As he pulled away I could see him wiping tears off his face.
I buried my friend underneath a fig tree in the backyard where he would watch me garden in his older years. I called him my \”Garden Dog\”.
The fig tree has grown immense from the goodness and sweetness that was so much a part of his nature.
That was 20 years ago and I still have his picture on my bureau.

Chip from NJ