Loving and Losing

Three things combined this week to dictate today’s topic. First was a blog comment from someone who had attended a long ago signing event at the Apache Junction library. She didn’t think I would remember that one, but I did, and in my reply to her I explained why. Next came a text photo from my grandson, Colt, which included a photo of our first long-haired miniature dachshund, Bella. After that came a sad email from my good friend, Bonnie Abney, letting me know of the untimely passing of her beloved Bernese mountain dog, Alexander the Great. She sent along a photo of Alex, and with those two photos in hand, it seemed as though the stars were aligned for me to tell a story, some pieces of which may have appeared before. I have it on good authority that, at my age, I have been granted complete immunity to telling the same stories more than once.

By the way, if Bonnie Abney’s name seems familiar to you, that’s because you most likely met her before while reading Second Watch. If you’ve read that book, you already know that Bonnie is someone who knows all too well that the price of loving is losing. Loving and losing is what happened for us with Bella, too, but I need to start at the beginning.

On a cold and rainy Saturday morning in late October nearly a dozen years ago, Colt, his mom, and I spotted a tiny, terrified dog running for dear life in the middle of a nearby busy street. My daughter let me out of the car, and I chased after the panicked dog. Eventually, with some timely help of two college aged kids who stopped to lend their assistance, I managed to catch her. She was cold, soaking wet, and shaking like a leaf. She had a collar but no tag. We took her to my daughter’s vet where we learned she wasn’t chipped. We then spent several hours in the neighborhood trying to locate her owner—to no avail. Finally, there was nothing for it but to bring her home.

My husband started dating Lynn, his first wife, back in the old days when prospective boyfriends were expected to meet the girl’s parents on the occasion of their first date. When Bill went to Lynn’s home, he was tackled by the family dog, Moxie, a full-sized male dachshund who bit Bill on the ankle hard enough to draw blood and wreck his sock. Although Bill and Lynn eventually married, Moxie continued to regard Bill as evil incarnate for as long as he was on the planet. So let’s just say that Bill didn’t much like dachshunds, and for good reason. That was why I hadn’t been too eager to bring our little stray home. But eventually there was nothing for it but to do it. When we drove up, Bill came out on the porch to see what all the fuss was about, and together he and Colt carried the still shivering little dog into the house.

Colt was in kindergarten at the time. On the way to the kitchen, he was explaining to his grandpa how we had found “this poor little fella” running down the street “Colt,” Bill said, “Fella is a boy’s name. This is a girl dog.” “Okay,” Colt replied, “so we’ll call her Bella.” And we did.

Bella came to us as a complete stranger. She was a starveling, weighing in at seven pounds when she should have been eleven or twelve. We didn’t know her name or what she liked to eat. She didn’t know any of the Academy for Canine Behavior commands that we were accustomed to using with our other dogs, and she had obviously spent her life in an apartment because she had never met a doggy door and had no idea how to use one. She was also terrified of men. We did everything we could to locate her owner, but those efforts came to nothing. Eventually, we took her to the Academy for some training. They let us know that her bad breath was the result of bad teeth. So, after investing $1400 to have fourteen teeth pulled, we decided she was our dog for sure and had her chipped.

That was in October. As I said, she was afraid of men. When we tried leaving her with our male dog-sitter—whom she eventually came to adore—she would hide under the bed and refuse to eat. In December when we had to go to Tucson for an event, there was nothing for it but to take Bella with us. Coming home, in the process of going through airport security, Bella slipped her leash and took off down the concourse. Having not yet cleared security, all I could do was stand there and yell, “Bella, Bella, come back!” She scampered off down the concourse a couple of gates and then turned around and scampered right back. Everyone on that Alaska flight knew her by name, and in that moment we knew she was really ours.

Two months later, when it came time to go on a book tour, she had still not made friends with the dog-sitter, and that’s how she became Bella, the Book Tour Dog. The first day of that tour was in Phoenix. I was a lot younger then than I am now, so the first day was a four-event marathon—Sun City, Peoria, Apache Junction, and Scottsdale. Every event was standing-room only, we arrived at the Apache Junction library in the afternoon. Bella was with me up front during the talk, but during the signing itself, she stayed in the background with Bill although people wanted to pet her and have their pictures taken with her.

During the signing, a woman approached me and asked if I would sign the book for her daughter. While I was doing so, she explained that her daughter had recently succumbed to breast cancer, but she had been a big fan of mine. By the time the book was autographed, both the grieving mother and I were in tears. I passed her along to Bill, and she spent the next half-hour with Bella, being comforted in the steadfast way only a dog can provide.

In the course of that day, Bella interacted with well over a thousand people, and by the end of it, we were all worn to a nub. She went on a few more tours after that, but eventually she realized our dog-sitter was wrapped around her little paw. After that she happily stayed home with him. My novella, A Last Goodbye, available in e-book or audio editions, is a fictionalized version of what may have been Bella’s history before we met her.

The vet who removed her teeth told us Bella was probably eight or nine when we found her. She was with us for seven years, and we lost her on the first day of yet another book tour. We were broken at her passing and miss her still. Seeing her in the photo Colt sent me this week reminded me of what a loving girl she was. We had been big-dog people before we met her—golden retriever people—but Bella taught us to downsize, and she’s the reason we now have not one but two “yappy little dogs,” as some of you may recall I sometimes used to call those noisy little creatures in my books. Yes, you’d better believe that both Jojo and Mary are expert yappers!

So that’s why there are two dogs pictured here today—our Bella and Bonnie’s beautiful Alex. As you can see, Alex was a cheerful, happy dog, who summer or winter, preferred sleeping outdoors to inside. Her house is too empty and unnervingly quiet without him. Eventually the sharp pain she’s feeling right now will become a dull ache, but she’ll still miss his exuberant presence just as we miss Bella’s queenlike dignity.

In the face of the losses so many have suffered during Covid over the last two years, writing about losing beloved pets may seem trivial, but loving and losing still hurts.

Yes, we loved and lost Bella and Alex, but boy were we lucky to have them while they were here.

62 thoughts on “Loving and Losing

  1. As a committed dog rescuer, I identify with yr efforts. Now at 86, no family and alone, and having recently been given a banana to slip on (dual diagnoses of the fatal variety), I am facing limits with my energetic 11# maltipoo. Hope to continue caring 4 her and reading your marvelous books!

    • I am sorry to hear you don’t have any family near by Jane. We are in Lake Havasu City Arizona and if you are close by we would be happy to add you as our friend. We could share taco night and a friendship. Plenty of us out here to share laughs, stories and memories with. ?

  2. What a beautiful tribute to the animals in our lives. They give us so much and only ask that we love and care for them in return.

  3. I still miss Kate, our wonderful Bichon/Shitsu mix! I still have a hole in my heart
    and now tears as I remember that wonderful face!

  4. What a nice sweet story. Reminded me of our Lilly, a miniature sable dachshund. Oh we loved and she loved us right back. Her one vice was dirty underwear, they were never safe. I would worn company, “ don’t leave any underwear on the floor…she’ll get them”. The next morning the crotch would be eaten out. They all finally learned.

    • Arne, you made me laugh hard enough to scare the cat!

      When we were growing up, my sister had dachshunds. One summer she was packing to go to camp, but left the suitcase open and unattended for a while. When she returned, one of the dogs, who knew darn well what a suitcase meant, had chewed the crotches out of every pair of underwear and shorts — all clean — that my sister had packed! Needless to say, a hasty shopping trip, and none of us ever left a suitcase open again!

      We learn so much from our short-lived, loving companions. We make changes, large and small, to our lives to accommodate their foibles.

      JA, you’ve made a lot of people treasure their most memorable pets today. Thanks! I’m thinking about Miss Tippytoes, gone nearly 4 years now, as well as a small host of others from deeper in my past.

  5. again Timely and well received
    in my life, and touching other Dog Lovers via my forwarding !! Chuck in Tacoma …

  6. Pets are just blessings from above. They always love and are always willing to listen!

  7. I facilitate a Grief Ministry and folks come because of pet loss. They are family members too.

  8. We loved Bella from afar through all your stories of her. We accidentally acquired a mini-dachsie as well, a sweet little devil of a dog named Daisy, who charmed us all when she wasn’t piddling on the floor. She is gone as well, and we miss her still. Love the photo of Bella…so much personality.

  9. When I finished reading your blog I was almost sorry that I had read it. That gets my heart. ?. In the last few years we have had to say, “goodbye” to three special miniature Schnauzers and it really was like losing a family member, each time.
    The pictures that you included were precious.

  10. Pets are wonderful companions. It doesn’t take long for them to become important family members. For fifteen years we had two shid tzu dogs, Charlie Chan and Connie Chung. They were our BFFs. They were lovely lap dogs. I would sometimes not move because I didn’t want to disturb a dog.
    We were looking to buy a beach house. We found are lovely house in an enclosed community … good location and good price. We were ready to buy until be learned a Home Owner Association rule. ONE DOG ONLY. We couldn’t buy. How could pick one dog over the other. It was like “Sophie’s Choice.”. We didn’t buy.

  11. Thanks for the great post. I just finished rereading Betrayal of Trust. Caused me to look back at the source of the term Luddite for the first time in a while. They still haven’t figured out how it was derived

  12. It’s a shame that the Bernese mountain dogs have such a short lifespan. Leslie saw one at the town square in Tuebingen Germany and got permission to pet it. Made her day

    • We are so blessed! Our Maddie, a Bernese Mountain dog, is in her 12th year! Our vet is amazed every year we take her in for her annual physical. We hesitated years ago after researching the breed because of the short lifespan. Never once have we regretted our decision.

  13. I was lucky enough to get to meet Bella at a booksigning several years ago on Whidbey Island (I don’t remember where exactly…I’m your age so don’t judge ?) I also get the….you already told me Mom/grandma reaction often. Love your books…and your blog.

  14. What lovely doggies! Animals are a privilege to be around. Rescues are especially a blessing as they are much of the time unwanted by whoever had them before.
    We can relate to the problems they can have due to mistreatment or just being ignored. But when they finally realize that you are going to love them with all your heart and they know you will be faithful servants to them it’s a match made in heaven!
    I have found that when one of our little friends dies that it’s like a hole in my heart. Although no other animal will ever replace the darling we lost, I invariably run right out and fill the hole with another rescue. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it helps fill my need to love and it helps another poor little orphan have a loving family.

  15. Himself was NOT a dog person when we married. Thirty-seven years & six furchildren later…. five have ashes in a book shelf in his office. Brandy is still with us. I’ve always thought it perfect that God spelled backward is dog. Unconditional love. Thank you.

  16. Remembering all out beloved dogs…made me cry. Missing Sparky, Pluggy, Chester, PC Piddle Puppy…thank you.

  17. And on reading this I am once again bawling my eyes out. It’s been 3 months since my beloved Bentley (Shitzu) at 10 years old had a cough. And being as I’m an 84 years old widow on oxygen 24/7, I called a neighbor to help me take him to his vet. We were sitting in the waiting room when he coughed and vomited blood and they took him to the back. Ten minutes later I was told he had a cancerous tumor that broke and she gave him a shot to put him to sleep. It is an amazing wonder that we go thru life losing family and friends…………and grieving for them. The last dog or cat in your life is a huge loss however that breaks your heart big time. I feel guilty that I did not feel near this bad when my husband of 52 years died because it was a release from painful cancer. For him………..I was happy! For Bentley………..still crying. And there’s no way I can have another pet. That’s because I thought I could rescue a cat. I couldn’t because my oxygen tube that let me move that around the house is a wonderful toy:-)

  18. I just finished “Missing and endangered” ad it was a great read as your books are so I will comment on your dogs. I am a big dog lover and at present have a mixed breed from the shelter named Lucky. He is part chihuahua,part dachshund and is the love of my life. I also know how it feels to lose A dog and grieve for it.

  19. Some people don’t realize how the loss of a dog can feel like it has broken our hearts into pieces too tiny to ever put back together again. That is what it felt like when I lost my beloved Gracie. My heart always felt the loss of every dog we had, but she was special as she was the first dog I raised from a puppy. I lost her to acute kidney failure when she was 12 years old. The vet missed seeing it in her lab work when I brought her in for back pain, he prescribed medication for her back which of course was processed through the kidneys and caused further damage. A week and a half later I had to make the decision to let her go.

    I am thankful that through my grief I was able to find something positive that has helped others with the loss of their pets as well as honor them in life. I channeled my grief by starting oil painting again, I had stopped about ten years before when I spent part of that year painting pictures from our Alaskan cruise and before that hadn’t painted in over 20 years. I started with painting my Gracie. When several people saw the painting, they asked if I would paint one of their animals and that has led to my continuing to more and more commissions. I always feel honored when someone trusts me to paint their loved one. It is a special trust especially if that pet is no longer around.

    Eventually, I created a website to show my work and just yesterday got two more commissions. I am wrapping up two commissions today, framing them and shipping them out. If anyone is interested in seeing my work and/or my Gracie, here is a link to my website: https://jlponder3.wixsite.com/website

  20. I don’t think I could have made it through these last 2 years without my beloved but slightly naughty yellow lab, Smokey Jo.

  21. Bless you for this deeply moving and encouraging story. “The price of loving is loss”…a message I will keep in mind and heart as I live with the inevitable losses of loved ones as I age. The ability and opportunity to love and connect with another is a gift, I have often taken for granted, even stating when one “falls in love, it is putting your neck on the chopping block, waiting for the ax”. And, I’ve fully come to realize the reasons some people decide to never love again to avoid the pain of the loss.
    However, the joys of LOVE, as you so well illustrated today are SO worth it.

  22. Agreed–losing a beloved pet is so hard. But the memories continue on. After we lost our last one we decided to be petless–miss not having one but at our ages (78 and 81) and with Dave having MCI, we just decided we couldn’t do it.

  23. I started loving your writing because of the Hunter series, but I started loving it (and you!) even more when Bella came onto the scene.

    Our rescued mini-dachshund, Annie, came into our lives very shortly after our first, Duchess, succumbed to old (17 years) age. She was starved by her owner, a lady of the night who kept the dog’s nails painted red, and referred to her as a pest. We were so happy to have been able to care for her for almost 17 years. What a joy she was to love. She’s been gone a while now, but the memories of her antics always take us to a good place.

    Your stories also take me, and most of your readers, I’m sure, to a good place. Thank you for that.

  24. Right now I have three dogs, three horses and two cats. I have never listed all the animals that have been in my custody over my lifetime. But there have been many so I have gone thru losing a beloved friend way too many times. In one two year period I lost two dogs and a horse to different forms of cancer. The horse was particularly hard as I had raised him from birth. I had his mother for 27 years and him for all of his 25 years. I guess I must think that it is worth it tho. I keep getting more. I’m on my last horses tho.

    I don’t think that I ever had to fight traffic to get one, but I don’t usually get dogs on purpose. I have gotten dogs in front of a grocery store, at a gas station, Facebook, several at the school where I taught and so on. And once in awhile I get one from a shelter.

    • I grew up with horses- I love them, and have always wanted to raise one from birth, with the help of the foal’s mother, of course- Watching a newborn foal struggle to his feet, and learn to circle around his mom is something I will always cherish-

      • Raising Boo was one of the best experiences of my life. When he was born, I started calling him “Baby Boo.” The Boo stuck. He grew up.to be 16.3 hands but he was still Boo. Probably one of.the.friendliest horses.ever. He knew that everybody loved him. It helped that both parents had terrific dispositions too.

  25. I am your reader from the Apache Junction book signing event. Never received your reply email. We too had a mini-dachshund who didn’t like men. He only tolerated my husband if I was not here to put his food out
    Enjoying your blogs

  26. When someone tells stories as well as you do they have Carte Blanche to tell them again and again regardless of their age.

  27. Can not wait for your next release. Have been a doxie lover since my teens. My current guy is almost 11, a champion dropout. I’m sure because he is too relaxed to do the pomp and circumstances associated with becoming one. Your Love of doxies just increased my esteem for you as writer and person.

  28. I grew up with a mini-dachshund named Heidi. She lived 21 years. When I got married we found Gretchen and Otto. They both lived to about 15. Since then there’s been Heidi Too and Greta. Greta passed away 5 years ago. I miss her every day even though she wouldn’t quit pottying on the floor. I live in apartments now. So having a pet is more difficult for me. I agree they become family and are so comforting. I loved Bella in your books.
    I love reading your books and wait for the newest one with eagerness.

  29. Love how the Bernese is sitting in front of all your books! Bella was adorable.

  30. I lost my sweet Golden retriever 10 years ago and I still mourn for her. Circumstances have been such that I now have cats and they are great and yet I still miss my sweet lady. She opened and filled my heart in a way that no person ever had. She taught and enabled me to love completely – to give my heart unconditionally.

  31. I am in a distinct minority here! When I was growing up my family had wonderful German Shepherds, and I do love dogs-
    However, based on a lovely school experience I had with a bunny at age Seven, I had always wanted a rabbit, and I converted my husband to “Lagomorph-Love” in 1993- I simply presented the bunny as a fait accompli, and Carl’s reluctance to entertain her as a family member vanished in less than 48 hours- Since that time, he has adored all of our bunnies, and been devastated when one was lost- We adopted Tony, a rescue, a year ago when he was 10 months old – When He realized there was no cage, Tony raced around ecstatically, almost non-stop, for three days- I called him, “Tony-Toddler-Tornado!” Bunnies do form strong bonds with their humans- However, it is ideal for them to have another rabbit to bond with as well- Hence the “Arranged marriage” with Lily, who is about Tony’s age, late last July- After Tony spent several days trying to evict Lily from his apartment (Rabbits are territorial) he seemed to decide that there might be certain advantages to having her around- So they became Snuggle-Bunnies-
    They groom each other, and go on explorations together, into closets and nooks and crannies- (all indoors) They are Litter-Box-Trained, and, as long as all electrical wires are covered with durable tubing, they are fine as Free-Range pets inside- Spending time in cages is not good for them, and being kept outside makes them targets for predators- Bunnies get along better when they are spayed or neutered- One aspect of having a rabbit is that their medical care must be handled by an “Exotics Specialist-” Most Vets do not understand their needs or issues- Bunnies are actually very smart and very affectionate- Despite being physically small, Tony and Lily do not see themselves as subordinate to their humans- If anything, they know how easy it is to boss us around!

    • We noticed bunnies around our acreage many years ago. Prob was that they didn’t look like wild bunnies. Did some research and we decided someone had dropped them off. One was pure black and then we met some dark tan or light brown ones. Obviously mating occurred but we had black ones and white ones!?!.!! We have what we call Jack rabbits who are more elusive and we’re pretty sure they’re wild. We’ve also had what I call banana color bunnies. Right now there are the Jack’s and the tans and the bananas. Some of the non-Jacks have like a lion’s mane. We’ve made friends and take out food when they seem to need it but not often or regularly. They (not the Jacks) come and greet us and smell our hands and occasionally let us briefly pet a nose or a head but rarely.
      Bottom line is we do love our bunnies.

      • Thanks so much for that love-
        Unfortunately people do drop off domestic bunnies, mistakenly thinking they can survive on their own- They cannot!
        One of our bunnies, Hannah, was found on a road at night by the husband of a House Rabbit Society Foster Mom in New Jersey-
        It really upsets me that people will not at least take their pets to a shelter- Our bunny Lily was dropped off at a Mechanics shop- The owner of the shop was planning to release her onto the street- A young man dropped by to visit, and, knowing what an animal lover his mother is, brought her home – Yesenia was a wonderful foster mom, and refused to give Lily to anyone who would keep her in a cage- So it was a miracle that we were looking for a “Bride” for Tony at the same time- Another miracle that Tony and Lily bonded within a short time- Bunnies don’t always get along, so it can be a tricky process to find ” The Soul Mate- ” Just like people!

        • Yep we’ve had a drop off but with a little of our help our dropped off bunny population has thrived for many years. They seemed to revert to the wild instincts.

          • I’m so glad you were there to help them- It’s very unusual for domestic bunnies, bred to be pets, to be able to recover the instincts for survival in the wild-
            You must have made quite a difference in their welfare-

          • I think protecting their habit has been about the only real help we provided. Unfortunately that is being threatened by development and a lack of funds to hold on to it. Been here 30 years + and want to continue holding this small habitat (3 1/2 acres) for the bunnies, squirrels, deer, myriad of birds and other wildlife. But…

  32. Your insight into how dogs behave is one of the features of your work that make your writing unique.

  33. We are also fans of “large dogs”. We had a lab/St. Bernard mix, then a black
    lab named Sammy. Sammy would steal socks from anyone staying at our house and he’d even go into their suitcase so I warned them as did the writer above.
    I loved your rescue story and the pictures.

  34. I really love all of your books and blogs! Don’t ever stop!

    Love of dogs has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From our family Cocker Spaniel, who endured me playing “cowgirl” and roping and hog -tying him, through several other Cockers and Labrador Retrievers. We still have a loving, smart and slightly nutty Lab, but I lost my precious Cocker, Bentley, this past January at the age of 15. It broke my heart, as it has been broken many times before. Strange, how we persist in doing the to ourselves time after time, isn’t it? But the unconditional love we receive every time is worth everything. I cannot imagine life without a dog snoring nearby!

  35. This touched my heart and memory and activated my tear ducts. I, too, have experienced the heartbreak of losing a piece of my heart. I know you spoke of dogs but I have the same scars from both dogs and cats.

    Most recent my Tonka, another ankle biter black and tan chihuahua, who thought he was a doberman. The runt of the litter, my daughter bought him when a woman stopped in the shop Trista worked in. She was on her way to Beverly Hills to pedal him. Trista bought him on the spot. She lived in a 3rd floor apartment so we digest when she was in school. I had a plethora of reasons why we should keep him longer until she finally said, “Okay, Mom, he’s yours”. Took him everywhere in a covered cat bed. He weighed about 8 lbs. He cuddled me every night. He finally was caught with heart failure. I carried him up and down stairs to do his business until he had no energy left to even walk to me. I prayed for weeks for him to stay. The night before he left we stayed on the couch and we talked all night. Many years have passed and even typing this I’m crying too hard to finish. What ab blessing he was.

    And now we have another baby who rescued us. She’s another story.

  36. I’ve been enjoying reading your blogs. I met you at the Apache Junction Library some years ago. We live down here in Apache Junction now, right next to Superstition Mountain, but we used to live in Kirkland WA up on Finn Hill. My husband and I have read all of your Joanna Brady books. I’m rereading the J P Beaumont books in order now, since I missed some of them before. I also love the Ali Reynolds series. Although I don’t usually like tense murder books, I’m also reading the Walker Family series.
    The hard part about having dogs, is that we usually outlive them. They take a piece of our hearts when they leave us. Our current Australian Terrier, Rocket, is a delight, but will probably be our last furry one. We’re in our 70s and when we got him as a puppy, I said more than once, “What was I thinking!” He’ll be three in August. If he hears a dog bark when he’s in our back yard, He barks back. The thing is, we are probably less than a mile from Superstition Mountain, and when he barks, it echos off the mountain, so he barks back. It’s a vicious cycle. :-0

  37. This made me tear up. I am a dog lover and know how painful it is losing a pet. Condolences to your friend and keep in writing. Love your books and have seen you at festival of books in Tucson. Cannot attend due to health reasons so I treasure the times I’ve heard you.

  38. Thank you! We get them assuming we’ll outlive them, and we usually do, but the pain at the end is so worth the love and joy they bring.

  39. What a heartwarming Friday story. My condolences to you Bonnie on you recent loss of Alexander the Great. What a beautiful boy he was. And oh my, Bella, what a sweet girl.
    My animals are family and I grieve every loss.
    I love how you’ve turned Beau into a dog lover in your later books. Thank you for sharing.

  40. We understand too well the loss of a dog friend or a dog family member. Our fellow Board members Golden Retriever Sophie was our docent extraordinaire and loved by all. She recently passed away and indeed we all felt we had lost a cherished friend.

  41. I am in tears. I hate the phrase it’s only a cat. I had the pleasure of having Killmouski for 15 years and he was by my side comforting me as only he could for the last year of my husband’s illness. I lost him two months after my husband’s died and I hope they are together.

  42. We lost our Pom, Sundance, some years back. We were blessed with his presence
    For 15.5 years. Losing him was like losing a family member. Too painful to repeat.

  43. A sad but heartwarming story. Thanks for including the photos. We’ve loved and lost many rescue pets, kitty’s and dogs alike. It’s always very hard but would not trade having spent what time we had with any one of them.

  44. I so love your blogs- a little look into your life. Losing a dog is such a sad thing. Last October My wonderful black lab mix died on my patio. I knew it was coming and the angel vet that came to do what had to be done was caring and compassionate. The next weekend I went to a shelter to give them meds and my new dog was there. She had lived on the streets so she is a little different but is loved.
    I have had goldens in the past and they are the smartest dogs and so loving. Three labs later has sold me on the breed. All different and all have brought me happiness.
    Thank you for your talent that has entertained me so much. Have read all your books and wish I had been aware of you when you came to Apache Junction. Maybe you will return? Next time you are anywhere in the Phoenix area I will be there.

  45. This story really resonated with me. This past November I lost my beloved Papillon, Madeleine. She was almost 14, and passed because of kidney failure. The pain was so strong, I actually could feel my heart hurting. The pain has subsided thankfully; enough for me to take in a wee bit of a thing from a hoarding case In Glendale. She was 1 of 30 crowded in a 1 room trailer. No socialization, had never been outside, never saw grass, not potty trained. The vet says she’s probably about 2-1/2. Horrible situation. Anyway, she has lightened my pain so much even though I was worried that it was too early after my Maddie’s death. I’ve never had a very small dog before, 8 lbs, so I can carry her when needed since she is very afraid of men. Learning to walk on a leash, still no potty training, etc. but I am beginning to love her! She makes me smile.

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