Horse & Rider Mail Call Online: A Good Dog's Soul

In the December 2007 issue of Horse & Rider, Sue Copeland shared the loss of her dog, Boomer, through her column "A Good Dog's Soul." Here, Sue shares the many heartfelt letters she received from readers who understood her loss and offered words about good dogs of their own.
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In the December 2007 issue of Horse & Rider, Sue Copeland shared the loss of her dog, Boomer, through her column "A Good Dog's Soul." Here, Sue shares the many heartfelt letters she received from readers who understood her loss and offered words about good dogs of their own.

The loss of a loved one is never easy. And especially one as loyal as Boomer. I feel your sorrow and have much compassion for you. Even though Boo was only with you for nine years, that's nine fantastic years to him, for no one could have loved him more.

I have an aged Labrador, Teddy, who has been having hip and hock troubles for several months now. He'll be 13 in February. I only hope he can make it through our tough winter here in New Jersey. Teddy and I will pray for you and hope that someday you will find a new puppy that can give you the love and friendship that they all do.

Marion Porrino

Sussex, N.J.

I was touched and saddened to read your recent column about the loss of your faithful friend and barn buddy, Boo. I too have been blessed by the loving and generous personality of some very special Rotties in my life.

My first great love, Grunt, was a true "old soul," even as a puppy. She was gentle and kind with all creatures great or small, human or otherwise. Even though she was spayed at a young age, she had a nurturing, mothering quality. She raised many litters of barn kittens and had a special place in her heart for small children, no matter how much they jumped on her or pulled her ears.

Grunt was my rodeo companion, and she went with me everywhere. She loved to travel with her head in my lap as we logged countless miles on the road. She hated to be left behind, even on the shortest trips. She even went to the grocery store or to the movies, waiting happily in the truck, head out the window, greeting everyone as they walked by.

I can relate to the sudden and unexpected way in which you lost Boo. I took Grunt to the vet one day when she was just eight years old, after she had been sore on her right hind leg for a couple of days. She had some arthritis, but was usually only sore after a long ride.

The news was terrible. Bone cancer. It was too far along to be treated, so we chose to do our best to keep her comfortable and pain free as long as possible. We only had one more month with Grunt before making the agonizing decision to end her pain.

Like you, I sobbed uncontrollably and seemingly endlessly. I still do sometimes. We haven't just lost a dog, we lost a great friend and a part of our lives. I lost Grunt almost three years ago and have since been blessed by another great dog in my life. Hazel possesses many of the wonderful qualities that Grunt did, and in that way I know Grunt lives on. It was difficult to move on, but I was pregnant at the time and wanted my new son to know the love of such a great dog, just as I did. Hazel is gentle, kind and patient with my son even though at 18 months old, my son Owen is less than gentle with her. They go everywhere together, Hazel following behind like Owen's shadow, keeping him safe and playing like best buddies.

Even though Grunt can never be replaced, Hazel has helped my family heal through her kind and loving ways. I hope you can eventually move on and find another companion to enrich your life in the special way that only a good dog can.

I also wish that more people would see what great dogs Rottweilers truly are. They are so often misunderstood, as many of them simply wind up in the wrong hands. The breed is gentle, loving, kind and generous in nature. Rotties will always be a part of our family.

Again, I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope time will help heal your pain.

Dani Sheets
Via email

I just finished reading your write up about Boomer. As I was reading, I felt a somewhat familiar sadness, as the same thing happened to me and my family in May. I had a wonderful, beautiful Golden Retriever (Gram) that was about to turn eight years old. Two weeks prior to his death we noticed he was acting a bit strange. We also noticed that his left back leg started to shake and quiver. We would rub it and after a bit, he would start to act like himself. The vet told me basically that I should give him vitamin B for energy and to give him an antibiotic.

So Monday (the same day as you) we came home and Gram was on the floor unable to lift his head and completely listless. We rushed him to the vets where we found out the same thing. He was bleeding internally. We unfortunately didn't get the honest story from our vet, and we operated. He had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured. He was given transfusions overnight and seemed much better in the morning. We brought him home with HIGH hopes. However the next day (Wednesday) my daughter came home, fed him and let him out to go to the bathroom. As he came in to the mud room, he collapsed and died. We were completely surprised and very saddened.

I, as you, still sob, almost every day. We now have a new golden who is eight months old, but my heart still aches for my Gram. We found out after Gram died that he had a rapid spreading blood attacking cancer called Hermangiosarcoma. Very deadly and VERY untreatable. Our vet knew he had little or no chance of surviving, but wasn't honest with us. Had we known, we would have chosen the exact route that you did. You did the right thing--never second-guess it. Thank you for sharing your story. You are probably the only other person that would understand my sadness.

Linda Rogers
Via email

I just read your editorial, "A Good Dog's Soul." Please accept my deepest sympathy, as I too know the great pain you must be feeling. Your story touched my soul as just this month my best barn buddy, Zilla, a 125 lb. male Rottie, has become very ill. Just like your Boomer, Zilla refused to let anything ruin his zest for life. He was always in the barn with me, never letting me out of his sight, watching over me when I rode, escorting me to each pasture as I feed. Earlier this month I noticed he was losing a little weight. I tried not to be alarmed, but his weight loss became more and more evident despite his constant eating. His belly became distended. My vet, too, was baffled, as bloodwork didn't show what he had thought he'd find.

Extensive testing determined by precious boy is in advanced stages of a serious heart disease. He is doing OK on medication but I know my time is limited with him. I get paranoid that he shouldn't be out running around so I try to leave him in the house when I go to the barn, but he gives me the most forlorn look, so I've decided that I won't deny him the life he loves for my sake. He will keep doing chores with me until such a time as he can't. He doesn't escort me all the way to the pasture now, but waits for me at the top of the hill (I don't blame him--I don't care for the hike back up myself).

He is absolutely the kindest, biggest hearted dog I have ever owned. I have to share this story with every Rottie lover because not many others believe it. One cold night, my hubby and I went into town to McDonalds to grab something to eat. When we arrived there was a pretty and apparently lost cattle-type dog in the parking lot. She was as sweet as could be, looking for a truck to get in. My husband said, "If she's still here when we come out we'll take her home."

Needless to say, we took her home but she would not go in any of the dog houses or in the barn, she would only lay curled up in a ball in the middle of the yard in the snow and wind. I came home from work the following day to something amazing. Zilla had taken the blanket out of his dog house on the other side of our house and pulled it around to the front yard and was laying there on it with her. He is such a caregiver. He has helped raise many a litter of ornery Jack Russell pups and loved every minute of it. I love that boy with all my heart.

Wendi Marcy
Marcy Performance Horses
Wellston, Okla.

I can't begin to tell you how affected I was by your article on Boomer. We too had a Rottweiler named Casey who we got as a puppy. He was a wonderful dog, protective of the family, especially the girls, with a spirit and personality that kept us continually amused. I don't believe I have ever seen such devotion and love from a single living entity.

We lost Casey a while back to cancer. When we put him down it was for his own comfort. The vet actually came to the house and put him to sleep very peacefully on the deck off the kitchen. It was so heart wrenching, I left and stayed in the garage until they had taken him away. For weeks after that, my wife and I would reach the front door returning from an errand and be unable to open the door and face the unbearable emptiness his passing imposed on our lives.

We called the breeder to let him know that Casey was gone and to let him know there was cancer in the bloodline. The breeder was sympathetic and informed us that Casey's brother had just fathered a litter with an owner here in Monument. Reluctantly we went to view the puppies and were instantly engaged by one of Casey's nieces, a beautiful little girl that reminded us so clearly of those traits we treasured in our Casey.

La Bella Circe has been with us for four years and has helped heal some of the pain we felt in losing Casey. Rottweilers have such an undeserved reputation. Our experiences with these dogs put them clearly in a league unto themselves. I know you miss your "Boo" but you should feel favored to have had such a delight in your life and cherish the memories you hold of him. He will always be with you in one form or another. My deepest sympathies for the loss of such a dearly beloved and faithful friend.

Bob Golightly
Monument, Colo.

I am an H&R subscriber, and I just read your article on Boomer. I know just how you feel. About six years ago we lost a Rottweiler, Molly, to cancer. It happened very fast, too. We had to have her euthanized because there was nothing they could do and we, too, couldn't stand to see her suffer. It was so very hard on us both. We now raise Rottweilers. We have three females, and we got a male from Oklahoma as a puppy so we could bring in a new bloodline. There aren't many Rottweiler breeders in Wisconsin. He's a gentle giant, so sweet and mild mannered. If and when you ever feel you're ready for another Rottweiler let us know. You could have the pick of the litter. Our Rotts are like family and each one is special in his/her own way! Boomer was a very good-looking guy. And it's so true that they have that big clown smile.

Lou Anne Lemmer
Edgar, Wisc.

I experienced a very similar loss of my 10 1/2 year old Lab, Rosie, in August. It was gut-wrenching to euthanize her but the right decision. I miss her daily and the least little thing will remind me of her and at times I cry my heart out. Last night we got a new puppy, another black lab. She is wonderful.

I don't have an idea what kind of adult dog she will be and she will never replace Rosie in my heart. The new little girl however makes me smile all the time and makes me think that she will offer many wonderful days of companionship. She will also teach me lots of lessons about what the important components are in a loving relationship. Hopefully I will be a better person to my humans as only dogs can teach us to be. I am sorry for your loss and want to let you know that I understand your empty heart. Boomer, however, will never leave you.

Anita Tigert
Alaska

I just read your story about Boomer. My heart goes out to you. I lost two of my "best friends" this year. One was my 29-year-old Quarter Horse gelding Irish whom I had owned for 18 years. I wasn't able to keep weight on him last winter and had him vet checked. I guess his old age caught up with him as I found he had passed away on March 13th of this year. He had fallen through the fence and laid on our lawn next to a tree. I'm pretty sure he had a quick death and did not suffer long. Luckily my friends at work were very understanding of my loss. The vet did not find anything in his bloodwork to let us know what was happening. I miss him very much.

Your story about Boomer struck a chord with me because my husband and I went through something similar with our dog Casey last summer. We noticed that she wasn't eating very well in June. We thought the hot weather was causing her lack of appetite. Casey was a golden retriever/collie mix. We had our vet check her out, but he didn't find anything with the blood tests he had taken. He did feel some lumps in her abdomen, and my first thought was they were tumors. He didn't think so at first. By August Casey had lost so much weight and was panting harder than normal. She had started to throw up water after she had drank some. Our vet was gone on vacation for a couple a days the first week in August. We had decided to get a second opinion when she wasn't able to keep water down. We took her to an animal clinic/hospital, and they confirmed Casey was full of tumors. We decided not to have her go through exploratory surgery as the vets did not think she would survive it. They thought she was filling up with fluid caused from the tumors leaking or some internal bleeding.

We decided to take her home and live out her days. It was very hard for me to see her like that. She was a very loving dog. She was loving toward other pets and loved people and loved to go for walks when I took my horses out riding. I was feeding her broth with an oral syringe to try to get her to eat and feeding her anything I thought she might have an appetite for. She still looked forward to going for her rides in our pick up truck and going for a swim in the river in a nearby park. She finally passed away on August 18. Christmas was not the same for us as we would buy a new toy for her to unwrap. It was so fun to watch her unwrap her gift.

I hope as time goes by, you will feel better. I still have times of sadness when I start to think about our Casey. She was truly one of a kind. And Irish is a horse I'll always miss because I had so much trust in him when I rode him. Hopefully next year will be a better year for the both of us. We did find another puppy in October. I think our other dog, Cody, was pretty lonely without Casey.

Kay Capen
Wisconsin

It was with sadness and empathy that I read your article about Boo. As a veterinarian (currently not practicing) with five dogs in my home right now, I could really relate to your pain.

Last February, I took a mini-trip with my aging mother who has Parkinson's disease. We had lots of fun, but watching her decline with Parkinson's was an eye-opener in and of itself. I returned home late one evening and realized there were vomit piles all around my house. My aging Rottie, Lexie, was glad to see me, but by the next day it was clear we were in trouble. That was a Tuesday. By Sunday we had to put her down, as she crashed over the weekend. GI tumor was the likely cause. She was 9, and a rescue from a Wisconsin shelter. She and my other aged dog, Chance (half Rott, half Aussie) had trained with me for two consecutive years for the Avon Breast Cancer walk, and we had literally thousands of miles of walking together.

I couldn't stand not having a Rottie (Lexie was my second, having lost my first to a splenic tumor) so being the idiot that I am, I looked on Petfinders.com. I found this pathetic, sick Rottie at a shelter a couple of hours away, and she was literally on borrowed time as they were going to euthanize her for kennel cough, of all things! She's our ultra runtie Rottie (her name is Zoe, meaning "life"), as she is either very poor quality Rottie or has something else in her. She's thin-bodied and far more agile than any Rottie I have ever seen, but in all respects she acts like a Rottie!

| Photo courtesy of Nancy Spoolstra

| Photo courtesy of Nancy Spoolstra

During my time on Petfinders.com, I also found a pup (I was NOT looking for a pup!) that was supposed to be Rottie/Greater Swiss Mountain dog. She was so cute and my family clamored to get both, so we did. This pup could trace her lineage back to Adam and Eve's time, and I seriously doubt there would be a trace of Rottie. Try mostly Foxhound with maybe a little Doberman thrown in? She looks, sounds and acts like a hound! So these two were added to the already-present mix of Chance and two Border collies, Ben and Reilly. We just got Ben a year ago from Border Collie rescue. Chance was also a rescue, one of the sickest dogs I had ever seen. The only breeder-obtained dog was Reilly the Border Collie.

Anyway, this is a very long way of saying I understand your pain and how much you miss your Boo, and how hard it is. I still call Zoe by Lexie's name occasionally. My Rotties are something very special.

Nancy Spoolstra
Via email

I am very sorry for your loss of Boo. We lost our beloved Sasha on December 8, 2006. Sasha had bone cancer and put up a hard fight. We let her pass here at home. I buried her on her favorite mound of dirt, and we made it into a flowerbed in her honor. Sasha was an American Rottweiler and she was our number-one farm dog. She loved being around all of our horses and just being part of our family. Sasha and our Quarter Horse mare Jackie were very good friends and stayed pretty close to each other when Jackie would roam the yard. But Sasha also knew when to get out of the way when it was time to without being told to.

Sasha was and still is my companion. She had this unique smell and bark that you'd never forget and every once and awhile we will either hear her or smell her around the house or barn. Sometimes in my truck too. She loved to go for rides.

The hole that is in our hearts is huge. We still have Addicus and three of Sasha's offspring, Titan, Jackson and Ladybug. They make up for some of the lose, but not entirely. We do have a new one-year-old dog, named Star who is half Mastiff and half German Shepherd. She is the first tailed dog we have had in 10 years. We pick up our new dog today. A chocolate lab, six weeks old. Her name will be "Mint." Mint will not take the place in my heart for Sasha, my heart is still broken. I still get tears and my heart aches when I think of Sasha.

Thanks for your article on Boomer. I was not sure if other folks felt the same way as we do about our beloved dogs, now I do.

Richard Dillon
Via email

I wanted to send you a note of sympathy because like you, I just lost my Boo. Your editorial couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

Her name was actually Lexi but like most pets she had several nicknames, the one I used most often being "Boo." We got Lexi right after we moved into our first house as a 10-week-old puppy that quickly became our center and heart. We still laugh and say that before we got her we used to make fun of people like us but as the years passed and we didn't have any children she filled our days with laughter and joy. Also at the time we got her I no longer had any horses after having them for the previous 20 years so you can imagine the shoes she filled!

I won't go into the details but during a particularly dark time for our family she was literally all I had at times and got me through many days and nights. This includes moving three times in two years and to a state over 900 miles from home. Since then I've been fortunate enough to be able to have horses again, but Lexi's sweet face was still the one of the first things I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. Everyone who met and got to know Lex loved her furry, happy face and the tail that never quit wagging. Or as we always said, she wagged with her entire body!

September 26 of this year (2007), at a little over 11 years old, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lymphoma, and we made the tough decision not to put her through chemo, choosing instead to keep her as comfortable and happy as possible with steroids and a special diet for the remainder of her days. And was she ever happy! She played hard and enjoyed life right up to the last day, and was even gracious enough to let me know the exact time when I needed to let her go, on November 2. It was both the longest and shortest 37 days that I've ever experienced.

The first days without her were almost unbearable, and I cannot remember crying as hard or as much as I did that weekend. Saturday morning after I picked up her bowl and then managed to step on one of her squeaky toys, I found myself sitting by her toy basket unable to move or stop crying. Our house seemed incredibly empty, and it still amazes me that a dog weighing only 26 pounds could take up so much room! I've also picked up her tennis balls from our yard and put most of her things away, but as I got out our Christmas rug this past weekend, I found some Lexi hairs on it. Of course, that meant more tears, but also a profound sense of peace and love that reminds me that she will always be with me. Even as a hairball.

My husband and I have slowly started the process of finding another dog because we're dog people, and let's face it, dog people need dogs. Although I've always loved the time I spend with my horses, now when I get to spend even the briefest moments with my two it takes on an incredibly special quality as they are all I have (for now at least) as what we refer to as "fur therapy." (I think my 3-year-old really would come in the house if we let him, and I have to keep assuring my husband I won't let that happen!)

I wanted to let you know that you're not alone, and I'm certain you'll be amazed at the outpouring of letters you'll receive from those us who love animals, especially dogs and horses, as we understand what you're going through. Because of this experience, I am also reminded of the responsibility we all have as their caretakers and what amazing, wonderful gifts they are.

Kelly Bauer
Via email

I look forward to your columns every month but this really hit home. I had to put my dog of 15 years to sleep last January, and I still miss him very much. He was my buddy and my best friend. I know how you feel, but remember this, when it is our time to leave this place and cross the rainbow bridge our dogs will be waiting for us. I know that my C.J. is waiting for me.

There have been times in the last year that I have been down, and I feel his presence like a hug and that helps me to get through. Each dog is special in his own way and none of them can be replaced. There will be other dogs to come along but the special ones we will remember always.

Lori Safford
Via email

I just finished reading your article about Boomer. My heart goes out to you. I know about the heartache because I just had to put down my best friend Lamont about a month ago. He was much like Boomer in the way that he was always with me. In the barn, in the arena or out on the trail or just down the road. He even slept with us. Lamont was with us for almost 14 years, and I guess for a Cockapoo that is a long time. I miss him terribly. We have always had more than one dog and so Bo (short for Hobo) is filling in the gaps. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

Sharon Wilfing
Canada

I adopted my second rescued greyhound, Rochelle, over 10 years ago and after a score of moves across this beautiful country, countless walks along country roads and city streets, runs in our pasture, and hundreds of kind and inquisitive folks wondering about this gentle couch potato breed, we said goodbye to her this spring. She lost a leg in a horse-related accident and never fully recovered. After a couple months paralysis set in, and she was pretty miserable and had to be sent to that great open field in the sky. We like to think she's out there running like the wind, her sleek form covering the ground like poetry in motion, along with our first hound Peanut Butter and Jelly, each racing along, playing like they did when they first came to live with us.

She used to sleep next to our adopted Siamese-mix-ruler-of-the-roost cat, whom we lost around the same time, he was also 12, so it was a double whammy. I don't care what some folks say about it being "just a cat," he was a part of who we are just as much as the hounds.

Hang in there. Boomer knows you loved him, and you did your best. As he did when you had him.

Michelle Sundin
Naples, Texas

Just a note of thanks for your beautiful article. I read it the day after one of my two trail dogs, Paris, a Catahoula mix (a cattle dog, though she was terrified of cows) was hit and killed by a truck as my daughter and I were picking up a horse to train last Tuesday evening.

She was a goofy, dingy good-hearted soul who deserved better. My only solace is that she died instantly. It's amazing how these animals work their way and take a firm hold on our hearts. Thank you for sharing your story about Boomer.

Jean M. Smith
Via email

Our hearts are broken over the loss of your sweet Boo. It is so hard to lose a companion who brings so much joy into our lives. And what a handsome boy he was. Such a sweet face and serene expression. It will be a long time before either of you stop expecting him to come running in greeting when he sees you.

I lost my beloved Jake six years ago and still grieve for him and even shed a few tears over fond memories. My sweet Tyler is a great comfort and a great dog. Could not love him more than I do. They are both Border Collies and very different from each other, but both have a permanent place in my heart.

When Jake died I waited about 6 months to get Tyler and still people asked why I got another dog when I still missed Jake so much. He brought so much joy to our hearts that I wanted that companionship again. It is not disloyalty, but a testament to the wonderful dog that he was that made us want to share our lives with Tyler. By some miracle we got another member of our family who helped to heal our hearts and bring joy into our lives.

We had 15 for dinner on Thanksgiving this year and all my kids brought their dogs, as they all know Grandma is a soft touch. There was my Tyler, Secret (Australian cattle dog), Zeus (Yorkie) and Diesel (yellow Lab). The dogs had a blast! So did we. We all stuffed ourselves and played with the grandkids and grandpups. It was a blessed day. The dogs brought such fun and silliness to the gathering.

Roger Caras has written, "Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made." I totally believe this. I also believe that we must be worthy of their devotion. And I know that both of you are.

We all hope that your happy memories will help you through your grief. It does get better, and it was with a loving heart that you let him go with dignity. Your gift of love to him was precious, and I know he appreciated his life with you.

Roseann, Ron and Brittany Howze
Via email

Ria and Ally | Photo courtesy of Janet Alexander

Ria and Ally | Photo courtesy of Janet Alexander

What a touching story about your beautiful Rottweiler, Boomer. Your story brought back strong feelings in me for my friend Ally, a Rottweiler that was 100 lbs of joy and love. At right is a treasured picture of Ally and our newborn Friesian cross, Ria. Ria was only one day old when this photo was taken. Ally wanted to be close to the new baby so badly that she used her huge Rottweiler head to slide the stall door open for a better look. When she stuck her head into the stall, she did so slowly and quietly as to not frighten Ria. The resulting picture is priceless to me. We lost Ally unexpectedly eight months later when her liver shut down and we had to put her to sleep. She was six years old.

It must have hurt terribly to put Boomer's story on paper, but I'm glad you did. Thank you for sharing him. We are so lucky to have shared a part of our lives with such beautiful souls.

Janet Alexander
Minnesota

I tearfully read your story about Boomer. First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss. I honestly think I know how you feel as we had a Rottweiler named Forest we lost to cancer four years ago. What an awesome dog! He was our best buddy and Chief of Security at best. There wasn't a mean bone in that boy's body, trust me. But his 140 pound stature was so intimidating to people who didn't know him. Forest would go to the barn with me to feed horses each day and never bothered to chase them or our cattle. I would get the biggest kick out of each season's calves gathering around him to check him out and the look he would get on his face expressing "help."

Forest developed a huge tumor on his right hip which our vet removed, and we were given only six more weeks with him before we had to put him down. That was the hardest decision to make for him, but my husband and I both knew he was suffering, and it wasn't fair to keep him with us like that. Four years have passed and not a day goes by that I don't miss him still. God made only one Forest and we were the lucky people to have him. Sue, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Time heals but the hole never completely fills. But thank God for our memories.

Eva Barnes
Texas

I'm sure you're getting a lot of emails about your departed, best barn buddy, Boomer. I, too, had a Rottie who was the spitting image of Boomer. Scooch was 160 lb male with 159 lbs of heart mixed with love. He would come to the arena and ride with me until he pooped out and would find the shade of a tree.

I would take him with me to work and some of our customers would swear that he wasn't the same dog that was in my backyard. The air conditioning repairmen were sure of that and claimed if they had dropped a screwdriver in the yard, it was going to stay there. Scooch was a good watchdog just by being a Rottweiler. He loved to play with my big, black Quarter Horse gelding and, boy, did they play hard. In the seven years that I had Scooch, every barrel racer on the west coast knew who he was or at least which rig he belonged to. Countless kids, especially little girls, would come over to me and want to take Scooch for a walk. I always let them, knowing they would both be safe with each other.

Our last trip was to Prescott, Ariz., over July 4, 2000. I could tell something was wrong because he wasn't his energetic self but instead mopey and lethargic. I got home on Sunday night and mentioned to my husband that Scooch looked a little bloated, and I was calling the vet on Monday morning. We rode that morning but he just laid in the shade. The vet gave me an appointment for Tuesday at 8 a.m. It was related to me later that he told his staff that if Scooch was bloated like I said, he wouldn't make the night.

Well, Scooch made the night and jumped in my Jeep Cherokee on Tuesday morning. Of course, we got the same news you did, but we did tell them to operate in case it was something else. Poor Scooch was riddled with hundreds of tumors--the most the vet had ever seen--and the only way to ease all our pain was to have him euthanized while he was under the anesthesia. I'm sure you cried as many tears as we did and I am now.

I told my husband that I didn't want another dog for a while but, as he would have it his way (you know men), he had me meeting him to look at some Doberman puppies about three weeks later. As I travel a bunch to barrel races, having a big dog can be like a legal .357 plus being such good traveling buddies. Chaney is just that and more. He's six now but still the memories of things Scooch did are with me and will be for many, many years. On a side note, Scooch's brother, Zack, died the next October of the same condition. I guess I could go on and on with stories of Scooch but I just wanted to let you know that I felt every bit of pain you did as I read your story in the December issue.

Julie Turney
Arizona

I just read your article about Boomer, and it was like I would tell the story about my Rotti "Caesar." He died the same way, only 8 years old. He slowed down, then five days of being tired and seemed to be gaining weight around his abdomen.

When I took him to the emergency clinic in Tucson Arizona, he was bleeding internally, his liver was totally shot. He had liver cancer and didn't show anything, and we had to put him down on May 20. I still have his brother "Nero," but I miss him every day. It helps to talk about him but a lot of people can't really relate how it feels to lose a friend like this.

Birgit Wilson
Arizona

I received my December issue of Horse & Rider just yesterday and read your article. Of course my heart was breaking for you on the loss of your Boomer who was a gorgeous boy! Quite handsome.

Just wanted to pass on my sympathies to you as a fellow dog (and horse) lover. I too have lost a special piece of my heart when I lost my Golden Retriever, Chief, a few years back. Everyone says it gets easier with time...take it from me, for me, it doesn't. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. His picture remains on my desk, and at work and most importantly in my heart. You will always treasure the times you had with Boomer. Keep them in your heart. You will always have a very special place there, just for Boomer. Now? He is running free at the Bridge. You have heard of the Rainbow Bridge, right?

I have two new loves of my lives right now to fill the pain of a broken heart from losing Chief at an early age to Cushings Disease. I have my Golden, Bear, Husky, Cherokee, along with my other furry kids (my new kitty, KitKat and my three Arabs, Perrsue, Bonn and my new Quarab, Wind). These truly are my "kids" and the love I have for them, is the kind of love you have for Boomer.

Cindy Link
Wisconsin

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