Goodbye to an old friend

When we first saw you at the Animal Rescue Center it was evident you had already lived a very hard life. The volunteer told us your name was Bradlee and you had been rescued from an abusive situation. It was hard to imagine how anyone could be so cruel to such a sweet, gentle dog and over the next hour you settled in by my side as if it was meant to be. Your eyes spoke of the horrors you had endured but at the same time reflected the hope there was something better. I knew immediately you had to come home with us.

That decision proved to be a good one as you gradually realized your place in our family and came to understand that you were loved. Over the following years you never once showed any aggression to anyone, leading my wife to call you our "gentle giant". Always glad to see us, never asking for anything in return, it was always clear you were grateful for the easy life you found in our home. You handled the addition of a rambunctious puppy to the family with silence and grace, even when he constantly invaded your space and disrupted your routine. You helped us show the little dog the ropes and were always watchful that he wouldn’t get in trouble. You insisted in sleeping just outside our bedroom at night, as if to offer your protection, even though the little dog would rest in our room. You were happy keeping us safe from the night. While you were very gentle with those you met you still would silently position yourself between myself and strangers who came to our home, until you were sure they were friends.

In the past few weeks we thought old age was catching up with you as we saw you slow down. As your health problems got worse very quickly we realized something else was likely the cause and when the vet showed us the X-rays of your lungs we knew we would not have you with us much longer. Yesterday the seizures started and you were in such pain we knew the time had come to do the hardest thing we could do. We could only rest with the knowledge that we were doing the right thing as you were suffering so much.

We miss you terribly gentle giant. The home seems emptier with you gone, but we know you are now at peace. Farewell old friend. Thank you for all the memories you have given us over the years. Rest in peace.

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