Parts 1, 2 & 3!!!

by Jacqueline Valdez
(Topeka KS)

Levi about the first at home, 6 weeks and weighing 10 lbs.

Levi about the first at home, 6 weeks and weighing 10 lbs.

Part 1 starts with Ripley. (black lab mix) He FOUND US on Easter Sunday 1997. Just came right up to our front porch, sat down and he'd been with us ever since. He was approx. 2 months at that time. Part 2 is Shadow, who was a Red Doberman (approx. 6 yrs.) that I rescued while he was running down a busy street. I just stopped my vehicle and got out, (in the middle of heavy 5pm traffic) he backed away, I squatted asked him if he wanted a cookie and he came right to me and kissed me. I opened the tail end of my Jeep and he jumped right in. Our home became his home from that moment on, kinda like with Ripley.

Heartbreakingly, 5 months after saving Shadow, I found out he had progressive cancer and the treatments we were doing were and will not do him any good and of course, he was going to pass at some point, just nobody knew WHEN. I was forced to make the decision of trying to keep him alive with more treatment and make him comfortable as possible as I could but know his would still be in pain (or possibly be in pain) or I could go ahead and let him go to Rainbow Bridge so that could become whole and healthy once again until we would have the opportunity to meet again someday.

When I thought about it like that, of course, for me it was a no-brainer!! I had to not be selfish for his sake and let him go, and see if someday he would be there waiting for me when I pass on myself. When he came home with me we were instant companions, hence the name "Shadow", He went everywhere with me, he never left my side unless I had to leave the house and he wasn't able to go. (work, the store etc.) It was an instant love affair!! I cry now just telling this story about Shadow and it's been almost 8 years since had to let him go.

Going back to Part 1, Ripley also starts Part 3, which is Levi. (Great Dane) By this time Ripley is almost 18 years old....yes eighteen years old so he has had a full, wonderful and very spoiled life. He getting along, barely, and my husband and I came to the conclusion that we had to let him go one night because he was having very labored breathing, couldn't get up on his hind legs and a multitude of other things that happened.

We took him to a 24 hour veterinary clinic and the Dr. said we had 2 choices, 1. of course take him home and let him pass on his own or 2. euthanize him. We discussed it and decided for Ripleys sake to go ahead and let him go because we couldn't stand the thought of him struggling to breath and didn't want him to suffer anymore than he already was or had. He had been such a great companion to us over the last 18 years, how could we let him suffer?

With both of us sitting on the floor with him, talking to him, petting him, kissing him, telling him we loved him and telling him what a wonderful companion he had been to us over the years the Dr. administered the first of the two shots into his arm. Of course, Ripley gave no reaction, I don't think he even felt anything. (and I am crying again)

We stayed where we were, but my husband had to get up. He couldn't deal the loss of Ripley but I had to stay on the floor with him because I couldn't stand the thought of him passing on when the Dr. gave the second shot. (the one that would cease all function of his organs and he would be gone) I didn't want Ripley to lay on the cold, hard floor alone when he finally did go to the Rainbow Bridge. I wanted his last conscious vision to be of me, his mother, the woman who cared for him his entire life, the woman who fed him, bathed him, took him to the vet, walked him, played with him and most of all loved him until he left us. He was such a sweet, darling, great dog...I don't know what else to say about him,

I'm at a loss for words besides the fact he was greatly loved and still very much missed. (but it has only been a little under 7 months at this time) Now we enter Part 3, which is Levi the Great Dane. LESS then 24 hours after having to say goodby to Ripley, I see a red pick up truck stop in the middle of the street and litter what I thought at the time was a bag of trash and a few seconds later the bag of trash got up and walked!! I was astonished, I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was a live creature the somebody obviously didn't want to live...why else would they dump it in the middle of a busy intersection?

THANK GOD I was there because of course, me being me, I stopped in the middle of the intersection and rescued the poor creature what ever it was. This is the 21st of November so it was already pretty cold out plus it was raining the night this happened.

I realized that it was a dog but it was so young I couldn't tell what breed it was. I did know it was scared, cold, wet and hungry. I bundled up this little male puppy inside my coat and zipped him up so he could get warm from my body heat and took him home. I got him inside cleaned him up a little bit, gave him something to eat....gave some more to eat...this little gut was really hungry!!!! Gave him some water and held him a bit until he started to warm up and get a little energy.

At that point I let him down so he could explore his new surroundings and hopefully get used to his new home. By this time, my husband and I had already fallen in love with him and knew he wasn't going anywhere. He was in his forever home! After he explored a bit, I picked him up and took outside to do his business, then brought him back in and gave him a warm bath, toweled him off real good, then he got wrapped up in a big, dry warm towel were he fell asleep for a couple hours then it time to eat again. And that's where the cycle began. As before I stated this was almost 7 months ago. so now Levi is 6 months and 22 days and weighs 85 lbs.

At his first vet visit they estimated he was about 6 weeks and he weighed only 10 lbs. So he is absolutely thriving!! He is comical, dramatic, charming, intelligent and everything you hear about Great Danes...He is a Gentle Giant. But most of all he is in a forever home, well taken care of, spoiled rotten, loved and cared for and he returns the favor tenfold. He is an absolutely amazing companion and has helped my husband and I deal with the loss of Ripley and he has helped me even more with the loss of my "literal" Shadow.

I don't think I'll ever get over the loss of Shadow but Levi does help when I feel down and thinking about Levi gets my mind off Shadow and makes me smile again. :)

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Awwwwe, thank you so much for sharing. You simply warmed my heart.

~Andrea

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