In 2002 my father died, and I took mom into my home to provide care for her as she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years earlier. In 2006, it became necessary to provide a more secure environment so mom would not wander off and get lost so I purchased a house and soon after a dog to keep mom company. Cherish is a pound dog and fell immediately in love with mom. They were devoted to each other, and I think Cherish helped to keep her centered on life. When mom had come down to the end of her life, something the caregiver called the transition mom was on a hospital bed provided by the local hospice and she, and Cherish could not be together. Mom had an unusually long transition, 22 days. The caregiver said that in her experience, people hung on until their loved ones come to say their final good-byes. Each member of my family dutifully came by to say good-bye to mom and a few days later she was still going strong. On what turned out to be the final day of my mother’s life the caregiver, and I were going through the morning routine of cleaning her up to get her ready to face another day. Cherish is a small dog only 15 pounds and on this day, she was not to be denied the chance to be with mom. Cherish leapt with everything she had and managed to get her front paws onto the bed then she pulled herself onto the bed. I immediately went over to where Cherish was on the bed and was getting ready to put her back on the floor, but the caregiver said it was alright because she was done, so I let Cherish be. Cherish walked up to mom\’s face and gave her one lick on the face then settled down next to mom where she stayed until mom died two hours later. I now know it was her constant companion who gave her unqualified love during the most difficult times of her life that mom was waiting to say good-bye to.

— Dick from Gervais, OR