1/30/15|Submitted by Nanci Lemburg

MyShadow, Sierra, Humphrey, Kelsey's Story

MyShadow wasn't actually a pup that had yet made it to jail, but my daughter found her at the front door of a store in a box and brought her home at 5 weeks old. She became one of the best dogs in my life. At 10 yrs old, she woke me up when I had stopped breathing by flinging my arm in the air. When I came to she had her head under my arm and her head up to my face which I think was to feel my breath. I realized I had no oxygen. If she had not done that I would not be writing this now. I would therefore not have had her for another 6 years until she was 16 years old. A year later I had a feeling to go to the dog shelter although I was still waiting to recuperate from losing my best friend a year earlier. There in cell block 3 was the dog of my life, Sierra (a male with a girls name, but named after the mountain). He's a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever mix. When I asked the shelter how old he was I was told: "About a year old" which would have his birth about the same time MyShadow went onto Rainbow Bridge, therefore I designated his birth day the same day..one left, and the other came. To this day I believe it was MyShadow looking out for me and feeling the time had come for me to have another dog so it was she who gave me the thought to go to the shelter because she knew Sierra was there...waiting for me. Sierra has turned out to be the best dog I have ever had. He's 12 years old now and when I say he has looked out for me do not under estimate my words. He is the kindest dog and exactly like MyShadow. If there was a dog mascot of all dog's it would be Sierra. He doesn't know he has teeth and is the sweetest kindest dog in the world. So much so that when in January 2005, my granddaughter who was living with me needed a dog of her own so I went to the same animal shelter where there in cell block 1 was an older dog, Humphrey, about 11 years old. It was so cold that January. His tail was chewed on, but he sure loved people. He helped my granddaughter over the loss of her dad and severe family issues. Humphrey came with some problems though. He had liver cancer, but had a couple more years of mileage on him and lots of love, but his tail having been chewed on evidently was due to where he came from which I think other dogs knew he was sick and were chewing on him. So when he came home with me that night he was all lovey with my granddaughter, but Humphrey snapped at Sierra. Sierra backed up and kind of looked at him, analyzed him, and low and behold Sierra gave Humphrey all the room he needed - as if he knew by smelling him what he had been through. Then I took both Sierra and Humphrey to the dog park, but Humphrey would snap at all the dogs so I put him in the car and had him stay there while I took Sierra to run. One day a man at the park asked me, "Why do you leave your other dog in your car?" I explained to him about Humphrey, his tail, and had not had him very long and was afraid of him snapping at the other dogs. The gentleman said: "Take him off his leash. The dogs will iron it out. He's not a vicious dog, but just has some baggage. He will be okay. Try him out on my dog first." What a guy! Sure enough, it was the leash and Humphrey feeling trapped and sure enough he snapped but it didn't take too many more trips to the dog park before Humphrey learned with the help of that man, his dog, and Sierra giving him room, to recover. Humphrey lived with us for two years before the liver cancer reached a time where I had to make that dreaded decision. Hope you all have Kleenex -- I had Humphrey put down in the back of my car at the vets office so he would not be stressed out by going inside. Sierra and I were in the back of the car with Humphrey. Humphrey knew it was time as the vet said because he didn't need an injection to help calm him down. I said my good-byes to Humphrey and told the vet we could proceed. He injected Humphrey with the medication and as Humphrey took his last couple of breaths Sierra leaned down and placed his head on Humphrey's head as if he was saying good-bye, or that he would be okay and it was alright to go to Rainbow Bridge and we would all be together again, that he would NEVER be alone again. That was tough and the vet was shocked when he saw what Sierra did. All I could say was "That's my Sierra!" He's a very special dog. Humphrey went to Rainbow Bridge December 2007. On May 13 2008 I received a call from my oldest daughter that a friend called her about a friend of hers desperate to save her Golden Retriever, 7 months old and was on her way to the same animal shelter where I got Sierra and Humphrey. I told my daughter to call her friend and tell her friend to stop where she's at and call me. VERY long story short, she gave me her dog, Kelsey, who was her two young children's Christmas present that previous Christmas 2007 (yes the years are important as they link together for some reason). I stayed in contact with that 45 year old young mother. Her husband threatened to kill Kelsey Girl, 7 months old so the mother chose to give her away to save her life. This was horrible on these two young children, because over the course of the next 7 months I watched their mother lose 75 pounds and become a skeleton. Tragedy seems to come from all directions sometimes. Lost my Dad on his 88th birthday in April, and I held this young mother, Sharon, a week a half later until she died. Sierra and Kelsey were there with her as well. So, my point to my story is to reflect on the importance of love, patience, and how important a dogs life is in ours. They all deserve the very best life. They are each so special.