Dear Ellie, January 6, 2012
Bear left us this morning to go to doggy Heaven. He was an old dog and got sick very suddenly, it was his time to go. We will miss him so much, but feel better knowing he is no longer suffering. He is buried in the yard and we plan to plant some flowers and the tree we're growing as a marker.
He was a good dog. Aunt Sharlene and Uncle Jason got him when they were in college when he was about a year old. He was a German Shepherd Husky mix, very beautiful. Grandma always said he looked regal. He most certainly held his head as if he was a king, and he would trot like he was big stuff when he went on a walk. He had beautiful markings. There were black streaks by his eyes, almost like a mask. He was black and brown on his back, but his chest was white, super soft and fluffy! He had one all white toenail on his front paw and a little white tuft of fur on his back just before his tail. He had all the markings of a German Shepherd, but his fur was fluffy like a Husky. He had a big head, shaped like a German Shepherd, with extra large ears, but a smaller, muscly body of a Husky. It was an odd porportion, but it worked. He was perfect.
When he was about 8 years old he came to live with me. He was starting to age, but you could never tell him that. His black fur was starting to turn grey, but he still loved to chase anything that moved, go on long walks, get into the trash, sit on my lap, lick my face and hog the bed at night. He was so loveable and cuddly, like a giant teddy bear. He would lay in my lap, all 75 pounds of him, and I would hug him and bury my face in his fur. He would wrap his neck around mine resting his chin on my shoulder, almost as if he was hugging me back.
By the time we had you, he was finally showing his age. He was 14, eating less and had dropped to 65 pounds. He would still have random (short) spurts of energy when he would want to play fetch or tug o' war, but mostly he just slept. The one thing that remained to the very end was his love of being outdoors, espeically in the snow.
You absolutely loved Bear, and he approved of you. It took you awhile to notice him, but recently he had become your favorite thing. You would see Bear and literally squeal with delight. You weren't exactly gentle with him, despite our best efforts, so Bear didn't usually stick around to play with you.
Bear was always a pack dog. True to his shepherd blood, he always wanted us to be in the same place. If daddy was in one room and mommy was in another, Bear would pace back and forth between us. Same with you. When we brough you home, he gave you a good sniff and a little lick and you were part of the pack. At night when I would put you to bed, Bear would wait outside your door, guarding it, while you slept. He loved you, he just didn't want to play with you.
As much as it drove me crazy, I will miss his fur everywhere. As bad as they smelled, I will miss his sloppy, sticky kisses. As huge and heavy as he was, I will miss him insisting on sitting in my lap. As cold and frozen as I got, I will miss playing in the snow with him. He was a good dog and even though he's gone, he'll be with us forever.
(An entry from Ellie's journal)