For Bear 5/15/16

In one of my favorite books, The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister, there is a chapter that asks the question, “What am I when I am no longer what I do?”  In the book, Chittister is referring to retirement and how we define ourselves in the world when we are no longer “the moneymaker, the boss, the councilwoman, the teacher, the parent-in-residence, etc.”

It only took a year of retirement for me to become defined by two new designations.  I became Bree the Blogger, and I became Bear’s Mom.

As if it was yesterday I remember going to look at young adult dogs at Bearabella Golden Retrievers in Peach Tree City, GA.  I’d been researching Goldens for a couple of weeks, following the passing of our Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Bud.  The ad was in the Atlanta Journal – three puppies out of a mom and dad who were both national champions.  The two brothers and one sister were 13 months old.  Along with their other siblings, all three dogs had been tried in the show ring, but for one reason or another – after a few competitions – their breeder knew these three were not meant for the ring.

I knew I wanted a male, so upon arrival, we only glanced at the pretty female.  Ted immediately went for the red brother – the one running around the yard like a crazy dog – jumping, barking, tongue lolling out of his mouth with the pure joy of running free outside.  “This is the one!” Ted exclaimed excitedly.

But I was already in love with his sibling – a big, beautiful, blonde male sitting quietly inside his opened outside kennel door – just watching everything that was going on with a slight smile on his face.  I walked over, snapped a lead on his collar, and led him out of his kennel.  He walked beautifully, a little ahead of me on the left side – not a perfect heel position, but a “show heel” as he’d been taught.  No pulling, no trying to break free, just a happy walk alongside the person who he probably already knew was taking him home.

And so I became Bear’s mom.  His registered call name was Valentino, and we laughed at thinking about a “river dog” with that name.  And so he became Bear, a name his breeder had included in the name of her kennel because she thought her dogs’ heads resembled bears’ heads.

I couldn't wait to get him home and get out my camera. This is the first photo I have of him - sprawled majestically on our back deck at Lake Blackshear.

I couldn’t wait to get him back to the lake and get out my camera. This is the first photo I have of Bear – sprawled majestically on our back deck at Lake Blackshear –  and probably wondering what on earth he’d gotten himself into. 

He loved the lake house. A big yard to play in . . . .

He loved the lake house. A big yard to play in . . . .

. . . a pontoon boat . . .

. . . a pontoon boat for lazy afternoon rides . . .

. . . and miles of dirt, country roads to run up and down, with the occasional sprint into the woods after a squirrel or rabbit.

. . . and miles of dirt, country roads to run up and down, with the occasional sprint into the woods after a squirrel or rabbit.

He and Maddie made a big game of chasing our resident squirrels up the crabapple tree in the back yard. They never came close to catching one, but they sure had fun trying!

He and Maddie made a big game of chasing our resident squirrels up the crabapple tree in the back yard. They never came close to catching one, but they sure had fun trying!

Even before I found Bear I knew I wanted to participate in Paws Patrol in Albany.  They were a dedicated group of pet therapy teams who visited hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living homes and schools.  After only a few weeks with Bear, I knew he’d be perfect as a therapy dog, so we signed up for the orientation classes, took all the tests (which HE passed with flying colors – I had to repeat one test), and started four happy years of service.

Bear loved our work days. As soon as I took out his vest and bandanda, he would stand solidly still while I "dressed" him.

Bear loved our work days. As soon as I took out his vest and bandana, he would stand perfectly still while I “dressed” him.

One of his favorite things to do was to listen to children read to him. Middle school students gravitated toward the "big yellow dog", and he always patiently listened to every word.

One of his favorite things to do was listen to children read to him. Middle school students gravitated toward the “big yellow dog”, and he always patiently listened to every word.

He was the perfect size. He could put his head on a hospital bed just where a patient's hand could reach him or lay his head in the laps of wheelchair patients. I don't think there was ever a person who put their hand on him who didn't say, "He's so soft! What do you bathe him with?" But, it wasn't the shampoo - it was just Bear.

He was the perfect size. He could put his head on a hospital bed just where a patient’s hand could reach him or lay his head in the laps of wheelchair patients. I don’t think there was ever a person who put their hand on him who didn’t say, “He’s so soft! What do you bathe him with?” But, it wasn’t the shampoo – it was just Bear.

One of our pet therapy groups outside an assisted living facility.

One of our pet therapy groups outside an assisted living facility.  All of these dogs blessed – and some are still blessing – so many lives.

After his knee surgery and our move to Florida, I let his certification lapse.  But Bear never stopped “working a crowd.”  Any room he entered and any group of people he encountered was fair game for Bear’s “leaning into them” or putting his head in their lap.  In his mind, he never stopped being a therapy dog.  Never.

Bear was never more excited than when he was on Mackinac Island for the summer!  He loved the cooler weather (like his mom).  And he loved the woods . . .

His happiest moments were racing full-speed through the trees and up and down the nature paths. I would lag behind while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked ahead. Then I'd hide. Ted would turn and not see me. Then he'd say to Bear, "Where's your mama?" And Bear would come tearing down the trail, screeching to a halt beside the tree I was hinding behind. He never once ran past me . . . he always zeroed in with that nose of his before he ever reached me. And he'd bark and jump around like he hadn't seen me in months.

His happiest moments were racing full-speed through the trees and up and down the nature paths. I would lag behind while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked ahead. Then I’d hide. Ted would turn, not see me, and say to Bear, “Where’s your mama?” And Bear would come tearing down the trail, screeching to a halt beside the tree I was hiding behind. He never once ran past me . . . he always zeroed in with that nose of his before he ever reached me. And he’d bark and jump around like he hadn’t seen me in months.

He turned more than a few heads on taxi rides. He assumed he was supposed to ride on a seat, not on the floor . . .

He turned more than a few heads on taxi rides. He assumed he was supposed to ride on a seat, not on the floor . . .

 

. . . and he usually got his way.

. . . and he usually got his way.

He also loved our new home in Beverly Beach . . .

He loved our new home in Florida too, especially the beach on cooler days.  He had a blast retrieving stuff Ted would throw into the waves – as long as he didn’t have to wade in past his knees!  He never quite conquered his distrust of the water.

The photo above is from his last day – a Saturday.  He ran around and chased stuff on the beach that morning and generally had a grand ole time.  After breakfast Ted and I settled down on the deck with our second cup of coffee, and Maddie and Bear settled into their usual spots.  A little while later Bear got up and came and put his head in my lap, something he had never done at that time of day or while we were on the deck.  I put my hand on his head, and asked him, “What’s up, sweet boy?”  He stayed there another moment, looking at me with those soulful eyes, and then went back and laid down.  I think he knew then what was happening.  A little over 12 hours later he was gone.

So many have asked about Maddie, and I think she misses Bear most at walk time.  Ted would always be putting on her halter and lead as I was putting on Bear’s collar and lead.  For the first few days she’d look around as we’d go out the door like, “Isn’t Bear coming with us?”

When I brought Bear’s ashes home this week, they included a little bag with locks of Bear’s hair.  Tears streaming down my face, I opened the bag and called Maddie over.  She took one sniff, and her little tail went into overdrive – wagging so fast. 

As the days have passed, Maddie is settling into the new normal, just as we are.  Ted is still her favorite cuddle buddy, but she’s begun to grace me with a few hours of her presence in my chair on some evenings.  As I type this, she’s curled up at my feet.

When my Chocolate Lab Bud died I had him cremated, and now his ashes and Bear’s are sharing a spot on our dresser.  Years ago, when Bud died, someone asked what I was going to do with his ashes, and some have asked the same about Bear’s. My answer is the same now as it was then:  I’ve tried to think of places Bud and Bear loved so much they would like to be there (in a physical way) forever.  But, with both Bud and Bear, the one place they loved being more than anywhere else . . . was with me.  So, family members know that my ashes and Bud’s and Bear’s are to be scattered together in the places we all loved being together the most – at the lake in Georgia and on Mackinac Island.  Some may find that very weird, but those are my wishes.

To each of you who wrote such loving words to me over the last couple of weeks – thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I have read and re-read them, and they have brought such comfort because they tell me how much one of God’s four-legged creatures can touch so many hearts.  I want to share two of those notes here:

From Sarah Sielbeck in Red Wing, MN:  I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I was to read that you lost Bear over the weekend.  The email with your blog post showed up on my phone just as I sat down for a pre-concert rehearsal and after reading it I decided to dedicate to Bear (in my heart) yesterday’s St. Croix Valley Symphony concert.  It was a lovely concert of Americana and bluegrass music, and as I played I pictured him running the wooded trails of Mackinac.” 

And from Jason (the other Jason) Bergeron in San Antonio, TX:I have no words to describe how sorry I am for your loss.  Though Bear was not the traditional working dog I was used to dealing with, he still selflessly served in the communities in which you lived.  Whether it was therapy or having children read to him – that in my book makes him a working dog, a true hero and champion in his community.  Bear answered the highest calling only special dogs like him can – which was to make a difference.  Though I never had the pleasure to meet him, I’ll never forget him.”

I know this has been long.  It’s taken me several days to get it done because I’ve been unable to see the keyboard through my tears.  I’ve stopped and started many, many times.  But . . . writing it all down is healing in its way.  My tears have gotten fewer and my crying spells further apart.  I know, with time, I will remember more than anything that Bear was a special, special dog – loved by everyone whose hands ever touched him.  He was the best.  He did make a difference.

He was my sweet boy.

 

NOTE FROM THE RAINBOW BRIDGE

Hey!  Bear here!

I guess you didn’t think you’d be hearing from me again, but I got special permission from the Rainbow Bridge Keeper to write this note (yes, I already have the Bridge Keeper wrapped around my paw).

First of all . . . . I am fine.  In fact, I am better than fine.  I am awesome!

My last memories of earth were of running on the beach Saturday morning and having a wonderful time.  Later on in the day I didn’t feel good, and as the day went on, I felt even worse.  I remember two trips to the vet – the last one in the middle of the night. At the vet’s I remember mom and dad being with me, rubbing me all over, and telling me how much they loved me.  I remember mom leaning into me with her whole body and holding me and whispering in my ear that I was the best dog that ever lived.  I remember Mom and Dad were both crying, and I wanted to lift my head and tell them it was all going to be ok, but I was so, so sleepy.

I remember taking a breath and letting it out.  And on my very next breath I was awake! Up, and running across this huge field of long grass.  The wind was blowing my hair, I felt wonderful (no more achy joints), and there were trees and flowers everywhere.  It was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen – even more beautiful than Mackinac Island!

Really, it is!

There are dogs everywhere here!  Not long after I arrived, dogs started coming toward me, stopping, and introducing themselves.  Because . . . . HERE dogs can TALK!

First I met Lucky, Tyler, Shotzie, Gretchen and Bud, who told me they’d been mom and dad’s dogs before me and Maddie.  Then here comes Beyla!  And oh my gosh, she had four legs again and was so darn beautiful!  And then – oh joy!  There was my friend Hershey, running toward me like she was young again.  Because – she was!

And then, all these other dogs came up to me and explained they were dogs that belonged to mom’s friends and readers and relatives before they came to the Rainbow Bridge!  I wish I could remember all their names for you, but a few of them are Boomer, Sally, Brinkley, Cassie, Fiona, Petey, Herbie, Ginger, Buster, Barnabas, Maggie, Bentley, Tasha, Morgaine, Tiffany, Brandy, Belle, Buster, and Charlie.

Oh my gosh, we are having so much fun here.  We’re all well and happy and well-fed.  There’s water to splash around in, and I’ve even ventured in UP TO MY CHEST!  All the other dogs tell me to just take it a little at a time, and soon I’ll be swimming with the rest of them! 

And there is so much love here that we never feel lonely.

But . . . the one thing that will make our lives the very best is when we see YOU coming across that big grassy field toward us.  That’s the day we’re all waiting for.  Because then . . . we’ll run to meet you and smother you with kisses and feel your hands on us again.  And everything will truly be . . . just perfect.

And then, we’ll cross the Rainbow Bridge together into Heaven.

Bear . . . out.

Till then . . . . . you’ll be my first thought when I wake each morning and my last thought when I go to sleep at night.  I love you Mom, Dad, and Maddie.  Bear 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

65 thoughts on “For Bear 5/15/16

  1. Beautiful writing, Brenda. Now I have tears through my eyes as I type this. It’s amazing how many lives Bear has touched. Love that dog!

  2. Bear’s note=perfect. I think we all need that comfort to take with us so we can grieve but always remember that they are waiting for us with their tails wagging. Thank you for sharing.

  3. The letter from Bear had the tears running. What a beautiful tribute to Bear and all the other dogs who have gone before us. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Well once again Brenda, you got me crying first thing in the morning. It wasn’t so bad until I got to the part about the last photo being on sweet Bear’s last day and the eyes started blurring up. BUT then Bear had to write and.. well…. I remember the first time I met Bear in the grass in front of your condo. He came running at me like he knew who I was and he WAS the softest dog I had ever touched. I’m glad I got to spend a little time with him last year. I sure will miss seeing him.

  5. Brenda, now that I’ve regained my composure after reading this, I want to tell you that it is the most touching tribute I could imagine for such a wonderful fellow and I believe your most beautiful blog post ever. I wasn’t fortunate enough to know Bear personally, but having a special love for goldens already, I always enjoyed your posts about him (and his posts 🙂) and always wished I could reach out and give him a big hug. I hope your pain is starting to ease and that the happy memories will soon outweigh the sadness. Bear was not only a beloved member of your family, he was truly a valued member of the communities he (and you) served. God bless you all.

  6. “Hey! Bear here!” Reading those 3 words, I was done. Tears!!! As always, your eloquent words, have soothed my soul. I can only hope that yours, is soothed as well. Sending you so much love.

  7. Thank you Brenda and Bear for sharing your story with us! It was difficult reading, through all my tears, but so happy your enjoying the Rainbow Bridge. If you run into 3 greyhounds, Bus, Ricky and Vinney, tell them we still love and miss them terribly, but know we’ll see them again one day!

  8. Beautiful
    We are camping this weekend with the dogs. Cupid and I were talking to the lady at the gatehouse. She said she lost her dog over the winter, and missed him to much to think about getting a new one. I love Cupid, but I still miss Blitzen. You’ll always love and miss Bear, but it gets better.

    • Even in my saddest moment, I can’t imagine life without a dog by my side. When the time is right, a new dog will join our family – could be tomorrow, or three months, or a year. This hole in my heart can only be filled by one thing – another fur baby.

      • We’ve always done it as soon as possible. I know some people don’t like that idea, but I think it does help. I lost Blitzen around 11/20. Cupid was born 12/1, and came home the first weekend in February.

  9. Beautifully written. Much more than a one hankie read and anyone who ever lost a dog knows exactly how you feel and can relate.

  10. Hi Brenda,

    First of all, I want to let you know how sorry I am for the loss of your beloved Bear. He was a legend is his own lifetime and touched so many lives, making them better.

    Next, I just feel that I would like to share my story with you and your readers. You had the identical vision when Bear was crossing the Rainbow Bridge as I did 13 months ago with our Jack Russel/Shih Tzu, Lady! My husband and I, along with our Lady and Bichon Frisee, Cosmo love to visit Mackinaw City, St. Ignace and Mackinac Island. We have seen you and Ted a few times in passing but never stopped to introduce ourselves, just shy I guess. We will be there sometime Labor Day week and will try to meet up with you.

    Well, back to Lady. Almost 2 years ago in September we were visiting Mackinac Island and Lady showed signs of another bladder infection. She had been having them often. We called our vet at home and she called in a prescription to Bay Pharmacy in St. Ignace, Shepler’s picked it up and put it on their 4:30 boat and we had it on the Island before 5:00 pm the same day. After we got home and visited the vet she had some bad news for us, Lady had bladder cancer. Only six months later we had to make that tough decision to let our 12 1/2 year old sweetheart go where she would have no more sickness, pills and pain. We had Lady in our lives since she was 8 weeks old. We lost two others, Muffin and Mo through the years but I was not able to bring myself to stay with them as they crossed over. This time with Lady, I told our vet that I would stay with her until I was moved to leave the room. That moment didn’t come. I stayed with Lady, petting her and telling her that we loved her and that she should wait for us to be with her again. She went to sleep with one ear still perked up in the air, listening to me. At that moment I saw Lady running through the same meadow, with the tall grass, flowers, trees and bright blue sky. It was just beautiful and she was running her fastest, wind blowing through her reddish blond hair, her ears pulled back, smiling and carefree.

    Through the following days, Cosmo was missing her. He had no one to chase through our yard when we let him off his leash and wasn’t sure what to do. After a couple of months, Cosmo figured out that Lady wasn’t coming back home and now he’s settled into being an almost 10-year old only pup.

    Just 3 months after Lady left us, my mother got sick and died. I was very grateful to her that she was only sick for 7 weeks. I told out vet afterwards that I then knew why I wanted to stay with Lady when she crossed over the bridge. It was because Lady knew she had to prepare me for my mother doing the same just 3 short moths later. My mother wanted to have her ashes buried by her parents’ graves and that is where she is resting now. After holding onto Muffin and Mo’s ashes for several years, we knew that the time was right to let them go along with Lady. Muffin, Mo and Lady’s ashes were spread on the lawn of our home.

    As I read this latest blog, tears streaming down my cheeks, I knew I had to send my prayers to you, Ted and Mattie for your loss and to share my story with with you and all of your wonderful blog followers.

    Pam Griffin
    Decatur, Michigan

    • Oh Pam, what a beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Dogs teach us such wonderful lessons, don’t they?

  11. Tearing up! I never met Bear but felt like I knew him through your blog. What a special relationship you had! Your pain will ease…….it just takes time as you know. Love the letter from Bear. Be kind to yourself!

  12. Oh my dear friend – you have to be the most gifted and generous story teller I have had the pleasure to know (even though we’ve never met). To share your sorrow, your memories and yet somehow manage to comfort US is just – well – I can’t even think of a word meaningful enough to describe your actions! I was so touched to see my dear Morgaine’s name as part of the greeting committee for Bear; I am sure it’s true! To you, Ted and Maddie – you know sweet Bear will be watching over you forever and in the blink of an eye (in heaven time), you’ll be reunited.

    • Won’t that be just the happiest day ever, Deborah? Seeing all our loved ones who have gone before us – both human and pets. That surely seems like Heaven to me!

  13. Bree, I haven’t left you a comment since you lost your sweet Bear. I have been praying for you each day. I have tears running down my face as I type this now. All of this brings back the memories of losing our sweet Isabella. It was all very sudden and unexpected. She had autoimmune disease. I can still see our sweet girl so sick she couldn’t raise her head but she thumped her sweet furry tail to let us know she loved us. I have been reading your blog for over 3 years after a trip to Mackinac Island.(I never comment just read until the day you told us Bear was sick) I have never had the chance to meet you or Bear but I feel so close to you after reading your blog all these years that I wanted you to know I’m thinking and praying for you and your sweet Bear.

    • Thank you so, so much for your sweet words and your prayers, Teresa. Prayers WERE answered throughout all this, and even though God chose to take Bear, He made sure he didn’t suffer a long, debilitating disease. For that I am forever thankful.

  14. Will forward to my husband who has that special relationship with our dog. I am so sorry for your loss. S Crane

  15. Oh my goodness Mrs. B…….very powerful writing my dear friend. I know it was hard for you to write this and I’m sure there were many pauses. I, as I’m sure the rest of the Bree’s gang would agree with me that; we are happy you wrote this. It’s a part of your healing and we are happy to be here for you and Ted as you weather through Bears’ passing. Thank you for sharing my words Mrs. B, I appreciate that.

    Bears words……..I could hardly get through that. You know my past career very well and I’ve said goodbye to too many four legged heroes. I was just overwhelmed with a range of emotions and feelings but left with a feeling of joy that we will be reunited with our four legged companions one day. Thank you for writing to us today.

    • No, thank you, Jason, for the words you gave me last week – a perfect tribute to my very own “working” dog.

  16. The thought that comes to me is that you receive love equal to the love you give away. Bear certainly showed that. So do you, sweet lady. Hugs and prayers for you and Ted and Maddie. Loved the message from Bear, by the ay. Absolutely perfect.

  17. OH Brenda, I was misty eyed reading this as my own sweet “girl” is dying of cancer but I really lost it when I got to the story from Bear. After many attempts to finish reading, I finally did. Thank you, somehow this has helped with my own feeling of impending loss. I will always remember Bear and will hope he meets my Gracie at the bridge to welcome her.

    • Gina, I am so sorry to hear this news about Gracie. I know, when the time comes, my Bear will be there waiting to meet her and introduce her around. He will take good care of her, Gina.

  18. I am at a loss for words. I can only echo all the beautiful, touching
    comments before mine. Tears and smiles. So beautifully written. Love….

  19. Bree–What a “heartfelt” tribute. Your words (and Bear’s) left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Bear and Maddie are very lucky dogs to have you and Ted in their lives. What an impact you have had on all your readers. Your words are a “treasure”. Thank you!!

  20. I’ve been thinking about you often and feeling so sad about your loss. I, too, have a beautiful golden girl, named Sweet Annie, who is eight and I dread the day I know is coming. I can only hope I handle my loss with the grace and love that you did with your loss of Bear.

    I totally understand your desire to have your ashes spread with your loving pets. I have asked my family to do the same with me. I have acquired quite a few little tins and cedar boxes of past furbabies and have asked my children to bring us all to the U.P. where I had spent so many wonderful summers in my childhood, and set us free together.

    Thank you so much for sharing Bear with me through the years. One of the things I thought when I read what happened to Bear was how much I would miss his posts. I loved them and looked forward to them. What a gift you gave us readers by sharing one final post from Bear. He was an amazing boy and I suspect he is continuing his therapy skills on the rainbow bridge by comforting and reassuring the other animals there as they wait for their mommies and daddies to come get them.

  21. Wow! Held it together until I read Bear’s words. All I can say is thank you for the time Bear shared and the words you shared – with all of us.

  22. What a beautiful post! I thought I could make it through without crying but the letter from Bear did me in! I know that he, and our dear Buddy, are no longer in pain & are happy once again …waiting for us to join them. Thank you for your wonderful words. Hugs, peace and love to you, Ted and Maddie.

  23. Can’t see the keyboard. The only way I can wrap my mind around this is that Bear touched more lives and brought more peace and joy to people in his short lifetime than most other beings could bring in several lifetimes. I see the evidence of a God blink that you and Bear chose each other. Neither you nor Bear could have accomplished singly what you accomplished as partners. He knew how fortunate he was that you took him home and he showed you his love, joy and gratitude every day. One of my favorite memories of him is that when I would get down on the floor and pet him he would gently take my wrist in his mouth so I wouldn’t stop. He lives on in the hearts of everyone he touched. Love and healing to all of you he left behind. He is blissfully happy and all of you will be together again.

    • LOL! Oh Cathie – and I loved how he’d greet everyone at the front door by grabbing their wrist – very, very gently with that soft mouth of his – and LEAD them into the house. Sometimes he’d just grab a sleeve, but usually it was the whole wrist. His way of saying, “Come on in and stay a while. And since you’re here, how about petting me for the next hour or so!”

  24. Bree, I’m glad I read this before putting on my make-up for church this morning, or I would’ve been a hot mess. Bear was an exceptional dog. Owned by one, loved by many. He led a wonderful life, and touched so many. Could we all take a lesson from a dog and just be happy? His Rainbow Bridge message gives us hope to be reunited not only with our loved ones, but our furbabies also.

  25. Oh my goodness. I saw your email this morning, but I waited to read this until well after church and into our afternoon, because I knew it would be touching. Sniff. We only knew Bear in person just a little, and more through your blogs, but we loved him. What a wonderful tribute you’ve written for him!

    Kem Sent from my iPad

  26. Beautiful! You might be the most gifted writer I have ever read. Of course, I don’t read much, lol. I can’t believe Bear was running on the beach the same day he passed! Hard to believe he went that fast.
    We have had 2 westies for the last 10 years or so. Our older one died at age 17 a few years back. We also had him cremated. We have his ashes and his collar. A while ago, I brought his collar out and let our other Westie sniff it. His tail started wagging and he started barking. I think he thought he was coming back. Life would definitely not be the same withour our dogs!
    Of course, 2 weeks after our Westie died, we got another puppy to keep the other one company.

    • We’re past the two week mark, Dave, but I’m not going to even try to make a prediction on when the next fur baby will take possession of the Horton clan. My heart is still mourning, but it remains open to God’s possibilities.

  27. What a beautiful tribute to Bear! Of course I had tears streaming as I read it. I also loved Bears note. How powerful. I know your grief must still feel raw. You lost a beloved family member. What gifts they are to us.

  28. God bless, Brenda and family. Bear was a celebrity, loving, giving, caring dog which was noticed by all. He is at peace now, was deeply loved , and gave so much of his spirit on earth
    . Thank you for sharing, I know it had to be difficult, but know thousands of people share this prayerful moment.

  29. Such a touching tribute and beatifully written. Hopefully your sadness will soon be filled with laughs and smiles as you remember all the happy days spent with Bear. I’m glad we were able to have one last blog post from Bear. It helps all of us with some closure. He was was a true gift from God. Thanks Bree!

  30. Thank you, Brenda, for sharing your sweet Bear with us for all these years. He will be missed by so many – my goodness, all the lives he touched! Your words, and Bear’s, were beautiful. Thoughts, prayers and love to you all.

  31. What a goodwill Ambassador, Bear was, to everyone.
    It was an honor to read his whole story,. You certainly are a great writer. We’re all lucky that way.. Your keeping your babies with you, even in the hereafter is a wonderful idea. Take good care of yourselves with plenty of time to grieve. Thank you Bear, for all the wonderful memories.

  32. Brenda, it’s not weird what you want to do with the ashes. My Mom has the ashes of 4 of our animals (3 dogs – Boomer, Pepper, and Millie and 2 cats – Tee and Jezzie) She has asked to have the ashes buried with her. She wants them to be with her when she passes. I know that all of our animals are there to play with Bear and to show him around Heaven.

    Thank you for the beautiful story. You to Bear.

  33. I loved the story about Bear! Such a great and pretty boy. My heart goes out to you.Thank you for sharing.

  34. What a beautiful story. I had to stop a few times-too many tears to see the words. I loved the message from over the bridge. I hope he’s met my Taz and Clio along with the rest of the gang up there.

  35. I made the mistake of reading this at my desk at work and now I’m a mess. Thank you for sharing this, and Bear, wth all of us these past years. He was a special dog and i want to do nothing more than go home, hug my boxer shepherd mix, Harley, and go for a long walk with her. Love, prayers, and peacr to you andf your

    Kristi in Kansas

  36. Dear Brenda and Ted,
    What a wonderful story of Bear’s life. My husband and I were a mess after reading it but those of us who have pets or have lost them know what its like–horrible!
    I never met Bear, but through his photos you can tell he was a easy going wonderful dog. The last photo of him with the sun radiating around him really did me in but its beautiful.
    May you both heal and the sorrow gets less, remember the good times. God Bless.

    Pat and Gayle Steele
    Vernon, MI

    • That photo is actually not Bear, although it certainly could be because it looks just like him. I lifted it from the front of a beautiful sympathy card given to us by our sweet neighbor Angelique. Cried buckets of tears over that photo. But I love it.

      >

  37. A beautiful memorial for a beautiful dog. It made me teary eyed. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with us.

  38. Stopped in this evening to see how you were doing. What a special entry about Bear…and the additional postscript from him. I was pleased to see Fiona was there to welcome Bear! I wasn’t sure I could consider another dog after having two Westies for a total of 19 years and losing them two years apart. Plus my girls have given up a lot in the last couple years due to failing health of our dogs…and my mom…so planned to take time off to have no doggie commitments. All of a sudden I find myself following adorable Westies on Instagram and looking for reliable breeders! I miss that presence in my house. I don’t know when but I now feel like you that my life is not the same without a dog in it!

    • I know what you mean, Ann. I’m already looking at golden breeders – including Bear’s breeder. Also looking at a few other breeds. I’m all over the place right now with all of it. But I know another dog is in my future.

  39. Thank you for what I think is the most beautiful tribute I have ever seen. I wish I could say the magic words that would make all the grief that you and Ted feel right now just go away, but I learned long ago that words don’t really help. What does help is to know that people care and as you can see, we do. I only met Bear once and didn’t know him very well, except through your blogs and “his” letters, but I’m going to miss him. I was really looking forward to spending some time with him this Fall, but that’s not to be. Farewell, Bear. I’m sure you knew you were loved, and that’s such a wonderful thing to know.

  40. Oh Brenda, that is the best tribute I have ever read. Bear’s writing was a perfect description of the rainbow bridge and could not have been said any better. Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. God bless you!!!

  41. Thank you Brenda, for sharing your beautiful tribute with us. It’s always difficult to lose such a good friend. Praying that great memories will bring a measure of comfort to you and Ted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s