In July 2010, my family said goodbye to our dear friend, Panda. He was a hairy, black and white springer mix who filled our lives with love for six unfortunately short years before he passed away at the age of ten from bladder cancer. His loss was unexpected and devastating, especially to my four-year-old daughter who was his constant companion.
For us, our house is not a home with out a dog, and knowing how many dogs are waiting for homes everyday in shelters across the country, we did not wait very long before we started looking to find a new friend. I was watching the AHS website nearly everyday, along with petfinder and others, to find somebody that could fill the void left by our Panda. The last week in October, while checking the website like usual, I found Dozer. A very large, hairy, black and white St. Bernard mix. As soon as I saw his picture, I felt like I knew he was the dog for us. I packed up my daughter and off went to meet him.
As our eyes met when I saw him in his kennel, I teared up (and still do just a little even now as I type). The pain of Panda's loss still stung, but I could see in Dozer's eyes that he could bring back some of the doggy joy that had been missing from our family in the past few months.
Dozer had actually come to the shelter a while before, but had been in foster care to heal from surgery to correct cherry eye. His reason for coming to the shelter was not exceptionally tragic, but he unfortunately was a victim of our poor economy, and was surrendered because his family was losing their home.
We took Dozer to our home two days later and he has been an absolutely perfect fit ever since. He is fantastic with my kids, our family cats, and is exceptionally well behaved in the house. Once again, we have a happy, hairy face to greet us when we come home and I have a wonderful walking buddy. Everyday I am thankful for the joy that Dozer has brought to my family.
This upcoming 4th of July weekend will be the one year anniversary of Panda's passing. As much as I wish we could have had more time with Panda, I realize that if we would not have had to say goodbye to him when we did, we would not know our Dozer.