We had lost our last German Shepherd at 8yrs to cancer, and decided a year later to replace her, though I thought it would be impossible. I did my research on the internet and decided on a 4mo. old male German Shepherd from a breeder in Texas.

Upon picking him up at the airport, we received a scared puppy who had never left his home and peers. In the car he immediately cuddled up to my wife, which was his first bonding experience. We had three kids at the house at that time, in their pre and early teens, and for some reason .Cisco was scared to death of our older son, David.

A week went by and my wife said if he doesn’t “bond” with Dave, we have to send him back. I told her, give him 30 days, and we’ll see. By week two, he was fine.

Cisco was rather large, 110, lbs. and was also rather intimidating, if you didn’t know him. He developed his own personal relationships with each family member, with me being his “alpha” of our pack.

Although he was protective of his home and family, he was absolutely the sweetest dog you had ever met. He became our block’s favorite dog, with a particularly gentle affinity for kids.

Cisco and I became as close as an owner and dog could be, doing everything with me, including going .ona long walks in the countryside, with him never venturing more than 10ft from me to make sure I was okay. He would do anything for me, as I would for him.

At 12 yrs, he developed arthritis and at 13yrs, we noticed it had gotten worse. We also noticed a growth on the inside of his upper gum, which grew to the point we thought his tooth was abscessed. We took him to the vet to have the tooth removed and they called me while he was under, and said his tooth was fine, but want to take a sample of the abscess, which I approved.

The following day the vet called back with the news that he had “bone cancer” which was not treatable. Of course we were all devastated, and gave him maybe 6 months. We kept him on pain medication until it became apparent that it was “time”. God knows he would have stayed by our side to his last breath.

It’s now been 8 months since his passing, and I still find myself coming to tears when I see something that reminds me of him. He was truly a “once in a life-time” dog. Time heals all, they say, but I will always miss our times together.

I take comfort in the fact that he had a good, long life, and gave as much love as he received. People say that they’ll never get another pet, because the pain is too great when they go. leave us. All I know is, Cisco’s time with us on this earth was worth every second!

— Dave from Plesanton, CA