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Deborah

my beloved dog

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In June 2002, a chocolate lab puppy came into our lives. My son and the young man who was living with us at the time prayed we'd pick the right puppy out of the litter of 11. We took him home and named him "Bear" because he looked like a teddy bear. He loved our farm and loved our family. Bear had soft soft ears and brown eyes that always seemed to understand what his humans were saying.

As a puppy, Bear loved chasing the grasshoppers that hopped around our hobby farm. Perhaps Bear saw the free-range chickens chasing and eating the grasshoppers and decided to follow suit. I had to take him to the vet once because of the tummy ache he got from eating grasshoppers; that ended that habit. I can still see my son and the three boys who were living with us at the time praying for Bear to soon be all better from his tummy ache and he was.

Bear quickly learned how to sit, come, shake and lie down. He obeyed hand gestures and verbal commands. After only one or two accidents in the house he was potty trained. One day he saw me cleaning up after him in the yard and after that he'd run into the field next to our property to go to bathroom. He seldom barked and never trusted small children. I suspect the small children where he spent the first 8 weeks of his life were mean to him, I'm not sure, but Bear preferred to not be around small children when they came over. He had a way of sizing up adults too. I remember many times when he'd growl a little bit deep in his throat around certain people and time would prove Bear right in his assessment. One time he even urinated on a guy. We never saw that guy again.

Bear attended every Boy Scout meeting we had on the farm, he attended every day of class in our homeschool. In fact when my son graduated from high school in 2010, Bear wore a graduation cap too and walked down the aisle with David. Bear didn't much enjoy his cap, but he wore it because he loved his humans. The 40 or so people who came to David's high school graduation from homeschool were amazed with Bear--it seemed like he really understood what it meant to graduate from high school and he was proud of himself.

My husband worked long, long hours and then my son worked long, long hours too. Bear was my constant companion in a community that had by and large rejected me. When my husband left for work, Bear would cuddle me and keep me warm until I decided to get up. When I was outside gardening, taking care of the other animals or painting, Bear was always near.

Sometimes the neighbor dog, Mia, would come over. She was a black lab and Bear was very much in love with her. She had a way of showing up on major holidays and Bear's birthday (and her humans said they didn't let her out). I'd say, "Mia is here," or "Bear, girlfriend dog!" and Bear would run to the window to look out for the love of his life. One Valentine's Day, I put a picture of Bear with a rose clutched between his teeth and a silly love note written to Mia in my neighbor's mailbox. My neighbor never commented on it; I suspect he thought it was silly.

Bear really liked truck rides and van rides. He'd sit in the driver's seat when I left him in the vehicle and I got more than a few coments on my chauffeur. My nephew and I calculated once Bear knew 30 English words, but there was very little I'd say to him that I didn't think he understood. He was never truly happy until my son, husband and I were with him under one roof. So last year, we all went on a family vacation to Glacier National Park. I researched a lot ahead of time and found places to stay and eat that allowed dogs to come along. Bear smiled the whole trip. People would say, "Oh, what a beautiful dog!" Yes, he was beautiful. His brown fur glistened in the sun and he was always in good shape physically from all the walking he did with me. When he went pheasant hunting with the guys, Bear would find a pheasant and hold it to the ground until his humans came around. He hadn't been taught that, he just did it.

One time he tangled with a porcupine and Bear sat very still as my husband took all the quills out of his nose. Bear never tangled with a porcupine again.

So the years went by. I heard about our nieghbor dog, Mia, dying. I told Bear and he looked really sad but he seemed to already know instinctively she was dead. I noticed Bear was having a harder time getting in and out of vehicles.

January 7,2013, I was sitting at the computer and Bear started pacing around. I knew something was wrong. The lights in the house began to dim. The guys in the house were all sleeping and Bear had just recovered from a mysterious infection the veterinarian couldn't explain. I opened the door to my basement; smoked rolled up the stairs. I woke up my family. What had happened was our fusebox had exploded and caught on fire. Ten minutes later, the insurance adjuster later said, and we would have lost our home and our lives too had we all been sleeping. We didn't have any power in our house that night so we relied on our wood stove for heat. Bear woke me up twice that night to tell me to put more wood in the stove. We all stayed warm that night thanks to Bear.

Now here it is two weeks later and Bear is in heaven. I brought him into the vet this morning and she said he had in inoperable tumor and needed to be euthanized. All day yesterday Bear was giving each of his humans long loving gazes. He was saying goodbye. Today before his shot he put his chin on my knee and breathed out a long breath. His mission on earth was done. My dog, my Bear, was my very best friend.

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Oh Deborah I am so sorry for your loss. I am a HUGE dog lover, and I have also mourned the loss of 2 dogs in my life that I have very special memories with. I know the sadness your feeling. Big hugs!!

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im sorry deb.. awww i have a doggy myself... im glad the Lord brought bear into your life..He was always meant to be your dog...

God bless

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Thanks, Sis! I cried three days after Bear died. Then the Lord let me see Bear in heaven. He was sitting beside a young blond woman and she had her arm around Bear like how I used to put my arm around Bear. They were sitting on some green green grass beside a body of water. She said, "The rest of us will be here soon," and Bear smiled (only dog lovers might understand how a dog can smile but they can) and he looked really happy. I received enormous peace ever since. I'm pretty sure the woman is my daughter.

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oh wow Deb,,thats so awesome... i do believe dogs/animals go to heaven.... Thank so much for sharing this, it blessed me!!!
and again, im sorry about Bear, but its nice to know he is in good hands ..

Bless you

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Bear would have been 11 years old today. I still really miss him.

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Ok, so I've become this huge dog lover since my grand dog Skeeter has come into my life. He is a Weimaraner and your tribute to Bear made me cry. What an awesome dog and my heart goes out to you and your family.
Skeeter and I are praying for you

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Hi Deborah,

Your post made me tear up. I lost my English Setter, Lizzie just before Thanksgiving last year. She too would move to the driver's seat when I went in anywhere. I'd hear people joking about it saying that it looked like she was driving. She'd also sit in the passenger's seat just like a human! She always knew when we were around the corner from being home or when going to my parents' house. She'd get SO excited!

One day I noticed her throwing up and she did this for a couple of days and thought she must have eaten something bad when she went outside. I thought it would pass. Then I noticed black stuff coming out of her rear. Then, I knew something was badly wrong. The days prior to that she had her usual spunky personality. After I saw this black stuff, her spunk was gone. Just for confirmation that she really wasn't herself, I motioned for her to jump up on me. She had such a hard time doing it, but she managed to do so ever so slightly. I decided to take her to the emergency vet.

In the car, I rolled down the windows to let her stick her head out. She always LOVED that. This time she didn't do it.

The vet wanted to keep her overnight because her doggy levels were really low. They called back to let me know she had a cancerous tumor. Inoperable. The doctor said she was in a lot of pain. I thought what strength it must have taken her to jump up at my command when she was in so much pain. What was really strange, was that for some reason the night before all of this happened, I let her sleep with me. I usually didn't do this because she had a habit of moving about the bed several times a night and that would wake me up. That night, she slept at the foot of my bed all night.

I went back up to the hospital, taking my Jack Russell with me to say goodbye. I could tell she was dying because she wouldn't come to me when I called. I've heard dogs know when they are dying and kind of wander off, but I went to her and stroked her. Lizzie was 7 years old. When she died, I asked the Lord to please let my brother, Layne, take care of her in heaven until I make my arrival. Reading about your daughter gave me comfort that He probably granted me that request. So sorry for your loss. Praying for you...

Shannon

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Awww thanks, Shannon, and sorry about Lizzie and your brother too. I'm glad my story gave you a measure of comfort. After Bear saved my family's lives, I started calling him my big hairy angel. There's a popular book about a young boy who went to heaven and he reported seeing a lot of animals there, so maybe our hairy angels are friends up in heaven where there's no cancer and no pain and no goodbyes.

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Maybe so!! I think I've read that book. H is for R?

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Trick question lol!
I was going to say I had an English setter once who was a farmer! Really! She must've found a potato in the garbage or something, but she dug a hole in my backyard under some steps and up came a potato plant! The funny thing was, my husband tried planting potatoes that year too (in another spot) and his didn't come up! lol!

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Lol! No trick question, just a coded one as we're not supposed to post names of books!

That's too funny! Luckily, Lizzie wasn't a digger. Who knows what would have been planted in my back yard if she was!

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Deborah, I am so sorry for your loss! I just had my little Annie die about two months ago. I am praying for you!

Love in ages us, Connie

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Sorry about Annie, Connie, and thanks for your prayers. People keep telling me to just get another dog but I'm just not ready, you know?

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I sure do. You will do it when you are ready and only you will know when that is. It will get easier. I promise.

Love in Jesus,

Connie

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Okay, here's the latest addition to our family!  His name is Monk and he's really smart (and sits on my leather couch only this once, I hope, my son took this picture lol! )

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