Goodbye, my dear friend, Bless.  

April 24, 1995 – February 1, 2003

My beloved Bless died in my arms at 12:30 a.m. on February 1st.  She had only been sick a little over a week.  Suddenly she quit eating and began having trouble breathing.  Numerous x-rays and ultrasounds eventually showed evidence of a mass near her heart.  We were doing everything we could to avoid surgery because we feared what we would find.  A week after I first took her to the vets, she took a sudden turn for the worse and died.  A post mortem revealed a huge cancerous growth encompassing nearly all of one lung and portions of the other lung and her heart.  The vet was amazed that she had been the picture of blooming health, active, playful, totally normal, for so long.  He thinks it might have been growing for years because so much tissue was involved.  He was also amazed that Bless had conceived a large litter by my new stud dog, Caz.  She was only 3 weeks in whelp, so the pups died with their mother, another heartbreak for me.  I had planned to keep one.  I never was able to get that “perfect” breeding prospect from her, unfortunately.

Bless was my silly girl.  She would get so excited about things that she’d go into overdrive, bouncing and barking madly with such verve and enthusiasm she made everyone laugh.  She always “helped” me start the car, looming over the ignition and barking as I turned the key.  Then she’d bounce to the back to keep an eye out for any cars or pickups which might be approaching, barking happily all the while.  She’d lean out the open window and bite at them when they’d pass.  We were always getting very strange looks from people in the cars or on the sidewalks.  It seems wrong to drive a quiet car now.

She was fascinated by the computer.  I can find only two photos of her in my saved photos on the computer, but they’re both typical.  In one she’s “working on” the computer.  In the other, she’s laughing during a therapy dog visit with her litter.  Glory helped with that visit so she’s also in the photo.  I have tons of photos of her from the pre-computer days, in photo albums, but they’re packed away.

Bless loved training.  She was ready for CDX competition but the last couple of years kept coming in heat right about the time the “local” (within 200 miles) shows were going to be held.  She enjoyed agility, too, and was about ready to show in that.  We have had a pretty open winter, no snow, so I had been doing TDX tracks with her, hoping to try for that title next fall.

Bless was a very physical dog.  She loved people and would  happily lean into them and allow them to pet her.  She was a great Therapy Dog because of this, although I would have to watch her at the beginning of each visit because she sometimes would want to leap into people’s arms in greeting.  She had a constant contest with herself to see if she could get any more square inches in contact with me than she did the previous time.   She’d often end up lying half on me as I sat in bed reading, or else I would wake in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breathe and find her lying on top of me, happily snoozing away.  If she wasn’t on top of me, she always lay on the other pillow, curled so that she could rest her face in my neck.  Oh, Bless, how many times have I slept with my arm under your head, tucked around you.  I keep reaching for you in the dark, only to wake up and once again feel the terrible loss.

She always loved to lie under the computer desk as I worked, or the dining room table as I ate.  Those were “her” places, and none of the other dogs ever thought of lying there.  Now my feet have all kinds of room, and I don’t like it at all.

Bless, I can only be grateful that you graced my life for nearly 8 years.  I can only try, now, to wait patiently until we meet again in heaven.  At least you’re not among strangers; Glory & Droll are there.  I can only imagine Glory’s glee at your appearance.  She always loved to tease you because you were so serious.  I just hope you left that seriousness behind and are now able to join in the fun and find lots at which to laugh, and thousands of toys to chase, while you wait for me