George was born on December 23, 2000 as one of twelve puppies. I had no knowledge that my life had already changed, but after a bad experience with a previous dog, I had decided that I was ready for a pet. I thought I was going to get a cat. It was a busy Saturday at the Denver Dumb Friends League in early February 2001, when I had to park in the rear and was forced to walk through the puppy cases on my way to the cat section. There were a group of people gathered around a particular case. I elbowed my way to the front of the crowd to get a look. One of the little black puppies in the rear was asleep. Without provocation, he woke up ran to the window, and put his paws on the glass where my face was. My first reaction was “Oh sh*t.” He was all black, with a white goat-tee, and a white diamond on his chest. He was all paws and ears. I waited for hours and was instantly in love. Unfortunately I was fourth on the wait list (fifth overall) to adopt him. Who knows know long that list eventually got. As fate would have it, I was the one allowed to adopt him. He was a funny kid. Like most puppies, he was very hyperactive. He was very adept at finding the smallest break in the fence or the door, and he would be off. I spent many of his earlier months chasing him down. Worried that he would be hit by a bus or stolen. After one particularly trying event, I sat him down and said that there was only one way he was leaving me, and that would a comfortable warm old man in his bed. As he got older, he calmed down and became the George that I knew. He loved people. He was well behaved, happy, sweet, very intelligent, very sensitive, and very well mannered. His only flaw was he could not walk a leash. People would meet him, and want a dog thinking that all dogs were like him. But they aren’t. He was special. He had very large paws and would generously offer up shakes to anyone he met. In anticipation of treats, food, walks or car rides, he would let out his signature howl. It sound like, “Awww-woww, wowwww, wowwwwwwlll, wowwwwwlll.” You couldn’t help but laugh and say it back to him. When you talked to him, he looked attentively at you, and knew what you were saying and had the ability to react accordingly. If you were sad, kisses, and cuddles, if you were happy, he would wag his tail. He just instinctively knew that some people (the elderly, pregnant women, children) needed to be treated with particular care. I never taught him that. On most days, he was my constant companion, my best friend, and an extension of my person. On my worst days he was my hero and my savior. Often, literally pulling back the bed covers to get me out of bed when all I wanted to do was hide under the covers. One of his greatest pleasures in life was a comfortable couch. He always was on the couch looking out, or in the center of the room where he could see everyone and everything. He loved to play catch, and he loved the ocean. He especially loved to play catch in the ocean. He would play for hours until only I knew he had enough. He was eight or so when I met my future husband, Heath. Heath fell in love with me, I think in part, because of how great George was, and how well he was treated. Like a child, but better. And Heath fell in love with him, too. He was the best man at or wedding in 2010. Heath and George had a very special relationship. They loved each other deeply. By late 2012, George was getting up in years and slowing down a lot, and Burt, George’s little brother came into our world. His litter was abandoned by their mother, and we acquired him at a young five weeks. Despite his advanced age, George took on the father figure role, and brought him up patiently and protectively, teaching him how to be a good dog as if he was his own. The week that ended with his passing came on suddenly. He stopped eating. He was in pain. He was probably in pain for some time, but being the gentleman that he was, would not show it until he could no longer hide it. Knowing that his time was upon us, Home to Heaven and Dr. Reynolds were recommended to me, and they were compassionate, flexible, and heaven-sent. I spent his last three day never leaving his side except to leave the room to cry (because he was so sensitive, I knew I could not cry in front of him). He passed peacefully and gently, just like he lived, with his paws and hand in my own as I told him that soon he would be free and able to run and play. With the promise to him fulfilled, I stepped outside to cry. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the shadow of something run along the fence. Common thinking might say it was a shadow of a bird or a figment of my imagination, but in my heart, I know it was George, once again, telling me that he was okay, and I would be too. George leaves behind myself, his daddy Heath, and brother Burt, two grandmas, countless Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and friends whose life he touched, and who loved him reciprocally. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him. He will be missed greatly, and loved for years to come by many. Rest well, Big Dog. I will love you until we meet again, and look forward to you greeting me at the Pearly Gates when my time eventually comes. In the meantime, you will be missed.
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