This is the story of the best dog I ever had, her name was Valentine and she came from C.A.R.E.

My daughter and I adopted her in April 2003 just two months after our last dog died at home. Val was my first shelter dog and she was already six years old. We took her home the same day we met her having been there before and looking at another dog that wasn’t right for us.  She was.

I was concerned when I first got her because she didn’t bark. After about a week she barked at the neighbors and I was so happy to hear her!

She became good at letting me know when the mailman came and once she broke a window, but she was okay and the mailman was just a little freaked.

She enjoyed chasing the squirrels in the backyard and rarely chased the birds I fed-only if the squirrels weren’t showing up, out of boredom I suspect.

We went for walks everyday, rain or shine and snow. Over the years we walked in the forest preserves and she even learned to go off leash there and chase the deer on occasion.

She was my constant companion in our car. She went everywhere with me. She made me smile when no one else could.

Last December I found what I thought was a broken nail and after going to the vet it was worse-a tumor on her toe and her toe was removed in January this year. We went through two months of recovery at home while her paw healed. Finally one day she started rolling in the grass again and I knew she was feeling better, more like her old silly self.

Her checkup in April was good. Everything was fine and I was hopeful we might get the one to two years possible after the surgery before anything would reoccur. In May I started to find lumps on her and I knew I would be lucky to have her through the summer.  

We tried the piroxicam the vet recommended but it didn’t do any good. In late June a nasty lump developed on her gumline and I knew it bothered her. It bled when she ate sometimes. In July she had a convulsion and the vet said it would be soon.  She wasn’t eating well so my daughter and I took her the next day after going to two of her favorite forest preserves before the vet. I didn’t want to take her so soon but I didn’t want her to suffer through another seizure my poor sweet girl.

I went to her cremation so I could be with her to the end. She was my canine daughter, best friend, companion, sleeping partner, the best part of my life for four years.

Her ashes rest in a Rottweiller figurine urn along with her collar, leash, some of her fur and toys in my room.

I thank everyone at C.A.R.E. who helped to bring us together with my funny Valentine.

I miss her so.           

Sincerely Fran H.

The photo was taken on a good day in May when the seventeen year cicadas were out. She rolled on them, played with them, messed them up and even ate some in the process.