An “unwanted” dog — part yellow lab, part Shar Pei, part ?? — was left one evening tied to the gate of my friend’s animal sanctuary for special needs (“unadoptable”) animals… it’s a wonderful place, but it was a Friday night and my friend had no place for this dog in her no-kill, no-cage sanctuary and no way to have her checked out at the vet before the weekend.  I offered to take her home “for the weekend”… a weekend that lasted more than 5 years.  I named her “LoLo” … short for “Lokahi”, which is Hawaiian for “harmony.”   She was about 7 at the time, and fit in well with my other dogs and my cats and she adored my beloved mother, with whom I lived.  LoLo was my “clown dog” who made me laugh all the time and was so full of joy and love.  I needed the laughter; for those years, I was full-time caregiver for my mother, as I watched dementia and old age take her.  She ultimately no longer even knew who I was.  In late June 2010, LoLo was diagnosed with cancer.  She wasn’t expected to live more than a month.  But she had other plans, and stayed.  Then, on the morning of August 1, 2010, I found my mother in her bed, having passed away in her sleep.  I had prayed fervently for years that she might go that way… still, it was the worst loss of my life.  Throughout the dark months of grief that followed, nothing and no one were as great a comfort to me as my LoLo.  Somehow, some way, with the help of prayer and a wonderful vet, my girl remained alive for well over a year after Mom died.  She was happy and did not suffer.  But ultimately, cancer began to take a toll and on October 1, 2011, I had to make the awful decision to have a vet come to the house to help her leave her body.  It had come to the point that LoLo was at high risk for, and possibly very close to, drowning in fluid in her lungs.  While I still feel agonized over the decision… I still see her smiling face and loving, trusting eyes … I know in my heart there was no choice… that I could not let my darling girl suffer.  I miss her so much every day, even as I still so miss my mother.  \’m so thankful for my other two dogs and three cats and love them very much.  But there was no one like my LoLo.  I feel sure she’s with Mom now … and all the other precious animals I’ve loved and lost over the years.  Thank God I believe we’ll all be together again one day.

— Juli from S. Daytona, FL