• Dog ID: 02-161

Our house is empty. Our hearts are filled with sadness. Our beloved Golden Retriever is gone. We let Rosie go Thursday evening. We knew the day would come, but it in the end, it all seemed so sudden. After all, she was 15, well beyond the average life span for her breed. She had been failing gradually this past year. Still, at times she showed signs of the same old Rosie, a love sponge, eager to go for a walk, if only a short one. She got sick last Monday and wouldn’t eat. That and the unrelenting heat took their toll. We once thought our home was complete. Then Rosie crossed our threshold. We adopted her on August 15, 2002. She was at a foster home near Mishicot in Manitowoc County. Rosie-Posie, as she was known then, was a refugee of sorts. She and her buddy, Winston, found a safe haven with Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin (GRROW). We thought we were rescuing Rosie. She rescued us. We dont know much about Rosies early years. Her GRROW caretaker described her as timid, cautious, a dog that apparently never lived in a house or had a chance to bond with people. She was slowly learning to trust people. She just needed TLC. She and Winston apparently were the start of a puppy mill operation, but they didn’t live up to their owner’s expectations. GRROW intervened. We found her to be extremely anxious. During walks, she would bolt at the sight of kids riding skateboards, playing basketball; kids on bikes, kids being kids. She ran if we rolled up a newspaper to swat a fly. Something in her past made her fear rolled up newspapers, or someone wielding them. Unbeknown to her, she was now living in the house of someone whose livelihood involved newspapers. So the bonding, healing and learning process began. We taught her how to go up and down the stairs in our house. She taught us how to deal with life’s ups and downs. When it would thunder and lightening, she trembled and couldnt get close enough to us. Yet she gave us the courage to face whatever came our way. Good days or bad, we always knew Rosie was home waiting for us, happy to see us, ready for a walk, rain or shine. Unconditional love. Rosie was sweet and gentle. She didnt bark, didnt bite, although one had to be careful giving her treats (not by the finger tips, but the palm of ones hand). She didnt jump up on people, but she would nudge you with her wet nose. Who could resist her friendly gesture? She brought joy to many -- to neighbors up and down the street and around the block; to Jim, the crossing guard ever ready with treats (How can we break the news to him?); and the mailman, too. Strangers driving by would laugh to see Rosie pause on her walk to roll in the grass, or snow in winter. She did it with great enthusiasm, more dive head first than gentle sideways roll. Lucy, Addy, Miles and Amara loved to take Rosie for walks when they visited Grandma and Grandpa. Lucy would giggle as Rosie sashayed down the sidewalk. But this past year, Rosie was no longer so surefooted. She paused frequently, stumbled occasionally. She dragged her hind paws, ever so slightly. At home, she began to have trouble standing up and laying down. These were among the unwelcome, but sure signs that her time was approaching. With big hugs and gentle strokes, we bid Rosie goodbye at the Lakeview Veterinary Clinic on Monroe Street. We cant say enough about the wonderful treatment she received. They told us that Rosies long life was a sure sign of a good home and happy existence. We said Rosie gave us so much more in return. From the examining room next door, we could hear a tail thumping rapidly against the wall. Life remained a big adventure for another family and their pet. In our room, Rosie lay quietly. No tail thumping. She was tired, ready to go. Soon, she was asleep, at peace. In time, we’ll spread her ashes in the dog park where she ran circles around us, and at home in our rose garden. She was a rose, she is a rose, and she will forever be our Rosie. Others might ask, whats all the fuss? Were talking about a dog, right? If only they had a dog like Rosie, or knew someone who did. I am sorry to burden you with the sad news. But you knew Rosie, and we thought you would want to know what happened. As hard as it is for me, Joy is feeling the loss more deeply. Because of my work, she spent far more time with Rosie. She was always the last one to leave the house in the morning and the first one home. We both know this is really a time to celebrate our good fortune for the nearly 10 years we had Rosie. We now realize how lucky we were as we move about our empty house. No need to call, write or send a card. If you feel the urge to do something, you might consider a donation to GRROW in Rosies name, http://grrow.org/. No matter what the amount, your donation could help another Rosie find a home. If not GRROW, then consider a contribution to your local humane society. Or simply say a prayer of thanksgiving for the wonderful creatures who enter our world and change our lives forever.