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I wrote this the day we had Bandit put to sleep. We had adopted him from the shelter in July 2012. He was a senior dog, estimated to be around 7-8 years old. I knew he had arthritis in his back legs (which turned out to be because of untreated torn cruciate ligaments) and was prepared to deal with that. What I wasn't prepared to deal with was the development of bone cancer. With two bad back legs, a front leg amputation just wasn't a very good idea. He would have had a hard time getting around. We did hospice care for months with him. My vet told me I would know when it was time. So in late May 2013 I knew the time was approaching. He couldn't walk more than about 100 ft without having to lay down and rest for about 15-20 minutes. He was such a brave boy but the pain was wearing on him and I just couldn't make him suffer anymore. The bad days started outweighing the good days where he could get around fairly well. This is my tribute to him....



In Memory of Bandit

I fell in love with your picture before I ever even met you. After much arguing with Daddy I took a field trip to the shelter to meet you with Savannah. I will never forget seeing you in that kennel. The spark was there from that first moment. You were such a good dog, we sat on the bench and loved on you. I walked you around and let you drag me through mud puddles while you sniffed every inch of ground you could find. When it was time to take you back in we walked past my Jeep and you stopped, waiting for me to open the door, because I think you knew then that you were going to be my baby. It was hard walking away from the shelter that night. I asked them to put a hold on you for a pending adoption. Everything pivoted on how you and Sarah got along the next day.


The next day when I came back for you I brought Sarah and you got to meet your Daddy for the first time. He thought you were too big to come live with us but he knew by the look in my eye that nothing short of you and Sarah trying to kill each other would deter me from taking you home. You and Sarah got along well so the papers were signed and away you went, to your new home. You were such a good boy even if you did drool all over my shoulder and Savannah's lap, not to mention the nuclear farts you were letting rip from the back seat. On the way home we took you on a shopping trip to PetSmart. I let you pick out your own toys, treats and got you a leash and collar of your own. You were so happy and it made my heart soar.


The first little bit was rough at home but you were a very fast learner. You learned that yes you could get on the furniture and sleep anywhere you wanted too. You learned that you were not allowed to try to help yourself to whatever Mommy was cooking on the stove. You learned that Mommy would get very stern if you got into the trash. You learned that Skitty (the cat) was part of our family too and you were not allowed to chase him even though he looked like he would be fun to chase. You also learned quickly that Tom the cat from across the street was off limits as well when it came to things to chase. I think the biggest thing you learned was how much we completely and totally loved you.


The first time we went to MaMaw's house we had to keep you on a tie out stake and leash because you still didn't know your name was now Bandit and wouldn't listen to me very well when I called you. You were such a good dog and tried to make friends with Maya, Angel, Frodo and Rusty. You tried very hard to mind your manners and not beg for food from the grill. I thought you were going to hang yourself when the deer came running through MaMaw's yard. You wanted to chase them so badly and they were only about 100 feet away. You watched them go all the way across the road and disappear. Whining wanting me to let you go the whole time.


You loved everyone. The football team would love on your after practice was done. You would happily stand at the gate waiting on them to come out of the field house so they could love on you and you could give them kisses. You wanting so very badly to go run with them when they were doing sprints. The archery team would love on you as they were leaving as well. Lots of ear scratches and pats on the head. Then on to the baseball field where you could lounge around in the sun watching your boy play ball and getting love from anyone who would stop long enough to pet you.


So many memories are flooding my head as I write this. You galloping down the path in the woods almost bowling me over then slamming on your brakes and prancing back to me with a look of sheer joy on your face. Countless car rides with drool coating the side of my Jeep. The nuclear farts that David swore he couldn't smell because you had destroyed his sense of smell but he could taste the smell lingering in the air. You being so gentle with the little kids in the neighborhood and wrestling with Jacob in the living room. You chasing the red dot around in the living room and front yard, pouncing on it like a cat. Your complete and total addiction to Pupperoni's. Countless hours spent on the couch with your head in my lap so I could pet you while I read a book. The happy kisses you always had for everyone when they got home. Your silly butt running around in the field with your head in the air as you chased the vultures hoping one would land so you could get it. You dragging home pieces of deer carcass to show to your Mommy. You chasing the rabbits into the briars and then coming back to me wanting me to go in and get them out for you so you could chase them again. The way you would try to sit on my lap at the sound of gunfire, fireworks or thunderstorms. How you would think it was play time if I tried to pull a bit of blanket out from under you so I would have something to sleep under. Countless nights sleeping half hanging off the bed because you would stretch out and hog it all and I didn't want to disturb you.


The last 10 months you have brought sheer joy to our life. You have brought so much love and happiness to our family. I don't know what your life was like before you came to the shelter or why such a sweet dog ended up there. I just hope that you have enjoyed these last months as much as the rest of us. You will always hold a very special place in my heart that no one can fill. You will never be forgotten. As you cross over the rainbow bridge look for Rusty and Frodo, they will take you to Mac, Ginger, Abby, Jake, Lady, Sadie and Kujo. You will like them very much. They were all very good doggies too and very much loved by our family. Jake and Mac are a bit like you, very loyal and protective of the ones they love. Ginger and Abby are both a bit ditzy but funny in their own ways. Sadie, Lady and Kujo are all gentle spirits. You know Rusty and Frodo from the time you got to spend with them before they crossed over the rainbow bridge. We've dug a special place for your body to rest here on earth, by the grape vineyards and by the apple trees. Right where the deer like to come linger in MaMaw's yard.


Now that you are gone please know my love for you will never die. You will always be my baby boy. You will always be in my heart and as much as it hurts to say goodbye to you, I know you will be happier across the rainbow bridge. Your pain will be gone and you will be able to run and play like you once did. No more medicine that makes you sleepy or upsets your stomach. No more trembling, aching legs. You will be whole again so please be at peace my darling Bandit, we all love you more than words can express.
 

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it is so hard to lose them, but the love that we keep in our hearts from and for them is
forever. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
 
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