From the time I saw Sydney run head first into a tree and then wake up in my arms she was my dog. Never mind the fact that the wife was losing her patience puppy training Sydney during my business trips. I recall a phone conversation when she was in tears and told me “I think we made a mistake”. That was the day Sydney chewed through the baby gate and pooped on the carpet.

When the wife kicked me out of the house all I could think of was if I was ever going to see Sydney again. As it turned out she got the house and I got Sydney. There were so many very special memories of Sydney we had together. How that one strand of Sydney fur got inside the glass of the cars’ dashboard I’ll never know.

At age 11 a tumor grew to the size of a golf ball in Sydney’s front left leg. It was soft tissue sarcoma; it didn’t originate from the bone, and it was isolated just to her leg. I had just lost my job, but there was never any doubt that I was going to save Sydney’s life. I just wasn’t ready to let her go yet. The surgery to amputate her front left leg was a success and it melted my heart the look of joy Sydney had when she saw me for the first time after surgery.

It is amazing how well a dog adapts so quickly to having three legs. Also the amount of attention they get. When children want to pet Sydney, sometimes I ask them; “do you see anything unusual?” When I ask them to count the number of legs most still count four.

Then at age 12 Sydney started experiencing some coughing. The x-rays determined there was a spot on her lung. The vet determined it was either an infection or tumor. After a few weeks when the coughing persisted new x-rays determined it definitely was a tumor and that it grew very quickly. At this point it was just a matter of days. Sydney and my ex-wife are considered very special members of my family. Once I notified my ex-wife about Sydney’s condition she made the time to travel from Indianapolis to Chicago by bus to be with us four days later. My neighbor who is a photographer took some photos of all of us. We will cherish them forever.
Three days later Sydney’s condition weakened significantly and it was obvious the tumor was winning. There was one thing I wanted more than anything else, I did not want Sydney to suffer. When Sydney had trouble walking and she wouldn’t take any more treats I called my neighbor and said; “it is time to let Sydney go, I need your help (to take Sydney to the vet)”. I then saw those big brown eyes close for the last time. The ex-wife may have got the house, but I got the better of the deal.

— Tom in Evanston, IL