Hank Wm. Gill - July 2006, 12 years old

Our sweet little Hanky was such a wonderful little guy - he brought so much sunshine in our lives. He was a mini dapple. He was so brave with a heart of gold. Two years ago we found out he had diabeties...even having 14 shots a week, he still came a-running to lick your hand, when he heard the medicine bottle. It took his eyesight, but not his will to live..,dear baby, as you arrive at the Bridge, now you can see again, no more shots, and you can be a puppy again. Love you, your family.

Tessa-Marie Brennan - July 2006, 12 years, 1 months old

Tessa-marie was my best friend in the whole world. She was there every time I was down and every time I was up. Tessa lived such a wonderfull life which I knew at one point would come to an end. Tessa's life came to a tragic end on the second of July, 2006. Her kidneys were failing and the tess I once knew was fading. We put her on a drip to see if she could bounce back, but there was no hope. She had a seizure and we had no choice but to put her to sleep and farewell my special dog. I cried and cried 'till I could cry no longer. My heart shattered into a million pieces. What was I to do but to let her go to God where I knew she would be at peace? I loved her and always will. My very special Tessa-Marie, may you rest in peace, and I will see you in years to come and may we cross that Rainbow Bridge together. 'Till then I will think of you always, and always know I loved you with all my heart. Rest in peace my special Tess.

Toby Beldi - July 2006, 9 years old

Today we lost our best friend. Toby, aka Tobias was the runt of the litter, picked on by the other puppies and destined for a short life. Naturally we chose him from the litter. He was very frightened at first and it took a long time to win his confidence. It took a lot of love and understanding to get close to him, and in return he gave us nine years of unquestioning love, companionship and friendship, not to mention fun!

We'll miss his kisses, his barking hello when we got home every day, and his reminding us (you could set your clock by him) that 'it's dinner time dad!'

We love you baby - sleep peacfully

Sonny Ward - July 2006, 16 years old

Our dear Sonny. You stayed with us for as long as you could, but it was time for you to be reunited with Sissy and Arthur. Now you are all young pups playing together again.

Mommy is so very sad without you, and Danke misses you so much. The memories of you will help to sustain all of us, but it hurts so much.

You were always such a good boy, and such a sweet, sweet big teddybear. A million kisses were never enough for you.

We will miss and love you, Sissy and Arthur forever. We'll all be together one day, so wait for us at Rainbow Bridge.

Love, Mommy, Danke, Aunt Jenny, and uncle Buzz Jacqueline Ward

Gretchen Raden - July 2006, 12 years old

With great sadness, we had to say goodbye to our beloved Gretchen. For 12 years, she gave us tremendous joy and love. It is truly one of God's miracles that so much love can come from a nine-pound body. When we lost our Brandy five years ago, Gretchen reluctantly took on the role of being the pack leader for our pack. It was a role she grew to fill.

Her favourite thing to do was to play ball by the pool, which she would do for hours if we let her. But she also loved chilling with Mommy on the couch, or playing with her brothers, Max and Perri, and her sister Roxie. If she saw us take the cooler to the car, she wanted to go with us. Travelling was another great passion of hers, along with camping when we got where we were going. She would curl up on Mommy's lap in the car, and complain if the air conditioning got too cold. A couple of years ago, she took up ballroom dancing. If there was a tango on the stereo, she would bark until Daddy picked her up and danced with her, the whole time lying her head on my shoulder, hugging me and loving the moment.

She injured her back a couple of days prior to her death, and her tiny body was not up to enduring the medical treatments that were required. She went to the Rainbow Bridge on her own, with her Mommy and Daddy there, in Daddy's arms. She is so painfully missed, and so lovingly remembered.

Hershey Monroe - July 2006, 9 years, 2 months old

I got Hershey as a six-week-old puppy. She was to keep me company while my husband worked nights. She quickly did way more than that. I loved her deeply and showed her off every chance I got. Halloween was a special time. I am not sure if It was for me or for her but we laughed until we cried at the outfits I had her wear. Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, Ballerina, LadyBug, she wore them all well. When Hersh was about two we got her a sister, Lilli, and then another sister, Gabby. They were so close, loving and protecting each other. When my girl was about six-and-a-half she developed the dreaded dachshund curse - disc disease. She was treated and recovered only to go another round. She had recoved and was doing well when one morning in an instant she fell off of our bed. She screamed, I screamed, and we raced her to the vet. By the time I got her to the surgeon it was already too late. Her disc had severed her spinal cord - she was now a parapalegic.

This didn't deter her one bit. She was fitted with a wheelchair (she had two custom made ones) and within two days was walking in it and back to being 'Hershey Girl'. She chased her frogs, tried to capture the birds in flight (don't know why she thought she could catch them) and lived a good life for two-and-a-half more years. I took care of her like she was a baby - she was my baby - and everything for the next two-and-a-half years revolved around her. One week very suddenly she started acting disoriented and turning wildly in her wheelchair.The night she got so sick I came home from work - she could not eat or drink - mshe didn't know me or where she was I don't think. She had a violent seizure and was rushed to the emergency room. She was not responding to the medication and it was determinded she had a brain tumor and/or cancer that was causing her neurological problems. I, for the love of Hershey, had to make the decision to have her put to sleep. I was and still am so very, very heartbroken. I can't stop crying - she was more than a dog to me. I miss her so very much and so do her sisters. I had her cremated and I have her at home with me now again in a beautiful handcrafted urn with a plaque that bears her name, date of bith, date of death, and the only words that sums up how I feel about her - 'I love you Girl'.

Rest in peace always and run like the wind like you did before sweet, sweet girl. We will miss you and love you always, Mommy, Daddy, Michael, Lilli and Gabby.

Ginger Lewis - July 2006,12 years, 9 months old

My sweetest little Ginger bear. You were my baby girl for over 12 years. You saw me through many good and bad times - and gave me unconditional love whenever I needed it. I thank God that I could hold you in my arms as you fell asleep and went to heaven. I love you and will miss you forever!

Sibble Ellerbee Tussing Yates - July 2006, 16 years old

Rest in peace this day my sweet angel, Sibble. Jimi Hendrix sang our story. Angel came down from heaven yesterday
She stayed with me just long enough to rescue me
And she told me a story yesterday,
About the sweet love between the moon and the deep blue sea
And then she spread her wings high over me
She said she's gonna come back tomorrow
And I said, 'Fly on my sweet angel,
Fly on through the sky,
Fly on my sweet angel,
Tomorrow I'm gonna be by your side.'

Mom loves you and will be with you again. I really know that. Johnnie and I miss you. Know there's one thing that you've shown me... just give love to all.

Beautiful, beautiful Elloo, Elloo, Elloo.

Cindi Tussing

My Mighty Max Neely - July 2006, 16 years old

Goodby to our darling maxie. You will have lots of company at the Rainbow Bridge and we will join you there. You were such a loving friend - we have lost a piece of our hearts. Farewell.

Hanky Baby - July 2006, 12 years, 4 months old

Our dear sweet baby Hank, how we miss you. Our lives are so different now without you, and we hate it -we want you back so badly. I hope you are well, and you can see us. There are times I hear you little dog tags jingling and your toenails on the kitchen floor. I miss you, my weenie boy. I miss our bed buddy. Please wait for us at Rainbow Bridge, Sweet. Until then, love you forever, mama and the rest of the family

Dietrich - July 2006, 8 years old

I miss my Dietrich more than I can explain. He was such a big part of my life. The house has become so quiet, no nails ticking on the floor...no barking when the telephone rings...no howling when the door bell is rung.

You are free of pain now my friend, go and play! I love you!

Austin Doornbos-Ross - July 2006, 4 years, 8 months old

Austin was a dachshund mix who came into our lives and our hearts. He was the best little boy in the world. He hurt his back, endured pain and paralysis. We made the hardest choice we've ever had to make. Austin is no longer in pain, but our pain continues. Austin someday we'll see you again. Your two Dads miss you and love you.

Buddy Holly Taylor - July 2006, 17 years old

I have to admit that when we were told about Buddy Holly, age 14, we did have second thoughts. After all, at that age, how long would we have him with us? My husband and I have been owned by dachshunds for our entire 37 plus-year marriage. I came to our marriage already having been dachshund owned for many years before. However, all Buddy's predecessors did start out as babies. The longest-lived was our dear girl, Gudrun, whom we brought home at just under 8 weeks, and wo left us for the Rainbow Bridge at age 15. Buddy was definitely our first senior person.

Of course, we also got many of the all too usual comments and questions: why would you want to adopt a dog that might die any day? At that age, they're already half-dead anyway. He'll only break your heart? Then there was the one from my late brother, a herpetologist, 'Well, at least he's the right size to make a snack for a python.' Surely, at that age, he wouldn't live long enough for much more.

Before I go on, I should describe Buddy Holly. He was a tweenie dachshund, tipping the scales at a thunderous 14 pounds. He was a light brown with huge eyes, and just about the softest coat you could imagine. Nothing - absolutely nothing - could said about his being elegant. As for adorable? If there was ever a line to stand in for cuteness, Buddy must have managed to get into it several times. That is what made us fall in love with the picture his foster mom so craftily sent us. I could almost feel him in my arms just from that picture! Never mind that he was old - we fell in love from just that picture! Still, we did then ask ourselves HOW could two other homes give him up? Darned if we knew - or know NOW!

In the just over three years we were so privileged to have Buddy Holly in our lives, he truly taught us so much! Love is never used up. Character only improves with experience, the soul does not age, and every day must be made to GLOW! Of course, it should with every beloved four-legged companion, but with Buddy, it did anyway! Buddy never ceased to surprise us and delight us.

When he discovered the delight of exploring our very shady and hosta-filled garden, he became Mr Fierce Woodland Spirit. Oh the many times I saw those huge eyes of his peering out from those leaves at me. That he started wanting to begin his explorations at 3:00 a.m. was no bother to him. Knowing that his life hadn't been the happiest before God brought us together, I just didn't have the heart to say, no. His very strong sense of who he was, what HE wanted, and what he was NOT willing to tolerate got him dubbed The Tiny Tyrant; Mr Prissy Butt, was another favourite. Those into whose lives he came fell in love immediately with his unique way of moving.

He did put up with a lot. He kept company with four other dachshund people ranging in age from not quite just-three years to our special other senior guy, Trooper, whom I saw born. He, together with our other rescue, also a senior-ish dachshund, Dinkum, were the only little people (in the physical sense only). All the others are large standards. This didn't phase Buddy in the least. In those times when Buddy did have to stay overnight at the vet's, the house still seemed so empty without him. He filled it that much!

I do have to say here that Buddy was not without his foibles. Feet! Buddy did not like his feet fussed with. This occasioned yet another name when we had to treat a sore he did develop on a paw pad one year: Mr Godzilla. While we were protecting his bandage, from getting wet, we figured out that putting a small baggie over the affected foot was definitely a two-human operation. After graduating from the baggie, his paw pad still needed daubing in some antibiotic stuff. It was definitely a two-human operation.

So why do I continue to praise senior dogs? I've given some of the reasons already, but there are more. Nothing, but nothing, says that being mature does not make them undeserving or unworthy of the best years one could have every chance to give them. Neither does being old mean that they are incapable of loving with the same intensity, and with a lot more sincerity than a puppy. Chances are, they have already had more than their share of experiences, both good and bad, and so they are going to know the difference. They are already people, they know who they are, so their love will be given with reason. Being old does not mean, too old - to give and receive love, to have a good time, to appreciate the good stuff, to have huge souls that only grow with experience.

Yes, senior people do come with the potential of more health problems than a younger dog. This is a necessary realisation. For that matter, so do senior humans. By the same token, many a younger dog is not immune to them either. Mr Holly (Good Golly Mr Holly - yes that got said a lot, too), sleeps more; in the mornings he and I competed as to who was stiffer. Arthritis was his biggest issue - mine, too. We both knew when the weather was going to change, and we both took some time to loosen up. After that, though, if Buddy was sufficiently annoyed at what he saw happening on the others side of his fence, this sure didn't stop him charging across the lawn to make his disapproval known!

As I sit here, I knew that when I first wrote a present tense version of this there was no way that I could know how much longer God will let us have him here. At the time it seemed both very far in the future and always in the background. Buddy either refused to read how he was supposed to be at his years, or he considered the subject to be beneath his notice. In those precious three years we were so privileged to have Buddy in our lives he was always both totally loveable, and totally deserving of as much love as we were capable of giving. God gave us the chance to be the best home he always so richly deserved, saved for last. I originally wrote this not only about Mr Buddy Holly but about all senior dogs. They all deserve not only what we can give them; they also deserve the chance to show us all they can give us!

In closing, I feel that in fairness to my dear brother, he did become a convert. The comments about python food soon stopped as my tales of Buddy's latest exploits continued. In the last time I spoke to my brother, he asked about him particularly. I lost my brother on 7 June of 2005. I can just see the scene at the Rainbow Bridge: Buddy running up to my brother saying, 'See? Fooled you, didn't I?'

My dearest Buddy Holly, you are so missed, we all try to fill that hole your passing has left. I so look forward to seeing the new and young YOU at the Rainbow Bridge.

Buddy Holly passed after a valiant battle with kidney disease on 26 July 2006. Strangely enough, had my brother lived, it would have been HIS 68th birthday. Buddy Holly outlived him by more than a year.

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