This page is dedicated to those special members of our family who have passed on but whom we never forget:
WINSTON (2/3/81 - 5/5/94)
My first dog - a cross between a labrador and golden who looked like a newfoundland. He was the smartest dog I've ever had - never had a day of training but new every command. He was there for Jim and my wedding. He not only learned to bring our newspaper in every Sunday but brought us all our neighbor's papers as well. He had a sixth sense about everyone's feelings and moods. We lost Winston to bone cancer.
BEAUREGARDE (1984 - 1997)
Jim and I went to a Ducks Unlimited dinner in Ocean City Maryland where one of the auction items was a golden retriever puppy. This was an annual event and they always auctioned off a puppy. I bid on that dog like crazy but finally gave it up when the price got to $800. He sold for about $1100. Well, the gentleman who had been carrying around that puppy came over later on and said that he bred golden retrievers and would be having a litter that fall. We jumped at it. I think I called that poor many every day starting with the anticipated whelping date. Finally - the litter arrived and to reward my persistence, I got pick of the litter. Enter BEAUREGARDE. A holy terror in his youth and the perfect gentleman as an adult. Although we lost Beau to a heart ailment, he lived a full life.
NEVADA (5/23/94 to 2/8/04)
My friend's husband had MS and for that reason had a service dog. That was my introduction to Canine Companions for Independence out of Santa Rosa, California. I signed up for the "puppy raiser" program - enter NEVADA. My job was to train him and socialize him. This meant taking him into restaurants, stores and even an airplane ride. We had a blast. At 18 months he was to return to CCI for advanced training and placement with a selected individual. I couldn't work for 3 days after we returned him. I was devastated. I called CCI weekly for updates on his progress. About 5 months later the call came - Nevada was being released from the program due to food aggression issues and we had first choice to come get him. They didn't have to ask twice. We lost Nevada to what we think was a heart tumor.
GOLIATH (2/24/1992 - 12/17/2005)
A friend of ours who had a cabin up in the Sierra mountains called one day to say his cat had somehow gotten into a family way with the result being a litter of kittens. We signed up for one. Enter GOLIATH. Goliath got his name because as a kitten he was very small with enormous ears. We figured he needed a strong name to live up to. He did and then some. At his best, he tipped the scales at 22 pounds. Not much of a hunter, he preferred to lounge around the house and accept whatever hugs, scratches and kisses he could get. A major presence in our lives, we lost Goliath to renal failure.
LAMBCHOP (3/1997 -4/10/2008)
In spring of 1997 I traveled to Florida to visit my sister. At the time she was working in a shelter part time and took me to see it. Well, it was kitty season and there were rows and rows of cages with black cats and white cats and tabby cats. I came to a cage with a family of a black mom and her kitties - all were black except for one - a small fuzzy dirty siamese looking thing who clambored on top of everyone else to get to the front of the cage to be scratched. He also had six toes. Enter LAMBCHOP. He flew home to California in a small carrier underneath my seat. That was when I discovered that Lamby suffered from motion sickness. Oh well. He was a very special kitty and a great hunter in his earlier years. He even brought me a snake one mother's day. We just lost him to liver/kidney failure.
DELILAH (11/10/2004 - 11/25/2008
My husband Jim always loved Newfies and would talk about having them. So I spent many hours researching breeders and on January 6, 2005 I surprised Jim with two Newfie pups - Samson and Delilah. Delilah was pure black. We threw a baby shower for them and we had a cake shaped like a bone. Delilah was always healthy and happy. Sometime in mid November 2008, I noticed a little blood in her mouth and it appeared to be either her gum or a tooth. Didn't worry too much about it. But after about a week or so when it did not stop I took her to the local vet. He sent us to a specialist in North Carolina. It turned out she was suffering from Immune-Mediated ThromboCytopenia and immune disorder which causes the body's antibodies to attack the blood platelets. She bled out internally and died within 2 days of taking her to the specialist. It was a huge shock and a very difficult time - especially at Thanksgiving.
SAMSON (11/10/2004 - 12/27/2010)
Truly a gentle giant. Samson was special from day one. He and Di really loved each other and the cats adored him. It was not unusual to see one of the cats curled up next to Sammy's belly. Unfortunately, Samson and Di evidently both had a genetically compromised immune system. There was no way to know this at time of purchase. Subsequent to his rabies shot at 4 months, Samson began his difficult road to the "rainbow bridge." He lost his hearing then got it back. His eyesight was diminished. He was clumsy and always bumping into things and ultimately ended up with torn cruciate ligaments on both hind legs. He had a total of 3 surgeries. In addition,, he developed epilepsy. We did everything we could for him including special rehab facilities where he used an underwater treadmill. But in mid December 2010 Samson decided he had had enough. He didn't even want to get up to go to the bathroom - he became incontinent. At 170 pounds - this was not a dog you could pick up and take outside. After much soul searching and praying I decided to let him go. He was a happy boy right up to the end. It was the hardest decision I've ever made. But I know it was the best thing for him and for us. Of all the animals we've had in our lives - Samson touched me most. I hope he is waiting for me when I cross the bridge.