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Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 12:52 AM

Penny was our Welsh Corgi baby. She was just 6 weeks old in 1991 when she joined our family. What a lively puppy she was!!! At that time, we lived in a trailer park and didn't have a fenced yard. So if she chose to run through the park, she could cover some serious real estate!

She loved balloons! She would toss them into the air with her nose and bark. Her eyes would just shine with joy and excitement. You needed to have several on hand because if one of them popped, she was looking around for a new one to play with.

Life was never dull with Penny. She had a special relationship with all four of us, But it was David who held a special place in her heart. In her younger days, if I was not at home, she would take my place on the bed. When he came home from work, she was ready to take up residence in his lap or present him with a toy to play with.

In 1994, we sold our trailer and purchased a home in Independence. Our fenced yard was like heaven to Penny. She spent many happy hours pushing a basketball along the fence-line.

Penny took her guard duties seriously too. If you were on the inside of the fence, you were a friend, but the minute you opened the gate to the other side, you were a foe.

She loved car rides and she was a very good rider too. Even if it was just around the block, she was happy.

Penny always placed herself in the middle of our family prayer circle. She wanted to be a part of everything and I always felt that she was saying a little prayer too.

The manner in which Penny lived her dog life was filled with enthusiasm, joy and fun.

Sadly, Penny began to have problems with her hips and spine. We tried many things, but eventually, her back legs refused to support her.

A veterinarian and his wife, who were friends of ours, graciously set up a time in their clinic to have a private goodbye. For several days prior to this, we all tried to make Penny's last days special. David took her on a long car ride; we had balloons and toys for her to play with. She was given all of her special treats including cooked bacon.

David had written a letter of thankfulness to Penny for all the joy and love that she had given our family. As you can guess, there was a lot of crying.

Our memories of Penny will never cease to make us smile. She was a wonderful dog and provided 12 years of love and devotion to our family.

She has been gone since 2002 and we still miss her playful ways. Each year, we try to take a moment to visit a park and release balloons to celebrate her life. And as we watch the balloons drift slowly into the air and out of sight, we talk about all the things that Penny did in her long life with us.

We are so thankful that we had Penny in our lives. After her death, we chose to honor her memory by adopting our next two dogs from shelters. They too, have brought great joy and laughter to our home.

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Great story Bonnie..... it brings back memories of so many great friends. I blogged on Rufus's passing a year ago.

Those that don't know the feeling of being loved by a loyal aniimal are missing such a special bond.

thanks for sharing your story of Penny.


-- Posted by jessiemiller on Mon, Apr 4, 2011, at 9:34 AM

Thank You Bonnie Life would not be the same without a dog......... I am owned by little dogs, they are my baby's since I don't have any little kids at home.

Joe I loved your Poem, very nice and so true

-- Posted by MsMarylin on Wed, Mar 30, 2011, at 9:14 AM

Yes, that is so true.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Mar 30, 2011, at 8:53 AM

Bonnie I had to put my Lab of 9 1/2 down Sept 09 and it sure wasn't easy for me watching him laying there on the floor watching me and he knew I couldn't do anymore to help him so I walked away while they give him the shot. He now sits in my living room in a sealed wooded box that my daughter got done for me so he will always be here with me. Anyway this looks like a good place to share an e-mail with you and your readers.

A Dog's Purpose?

(from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The six-year-old continued,

''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

-- Posted by Eagle_eye on Tue, Mar 29, 2011, at 3:21 PM

I have two little ones and a big one that are my children. They are my life, love unconditional and they love curling up at my feet at night. My heart breaks knowing that one day I will lose them one by one. But while are still with me I can love them with that same unconditional love.

-- Posted by gizmo3 on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 10:00 AM

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Walking the Fence Line
Bonnie Bird
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.
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