She was an institution in the neighborhood, Mary was. For the past few decades people saw her and her labs taking long walks - first Raven, and then Jerry whom she got as a puppy, A yellow Labrador Retriever was Jerry, and Mary shared a bond with her even more special than with Raven; she was Mary's "soul mate", as she told me, "a special gift from God". The dog gave as much back to Mary as she got from her, and both their well-beings benefitted.
We all loved Jerry, and worried as she aged and it became harder and harder to walk; harder to even get up on her arthritic legs and hips. By then she was 14.
In January of 2004, on a cold Winter day, a forlorn and lost-looking Mary was seen walking alone on the street. She told me Jerry was euthanized a few days before, dying in her arms, and that this was Mary's gift to her - peace from the pain. We cried together.
For a few months I encouraged her to adopt or rescue a new lab; finally, she did, and Charly came into her life, rescued from a possible sentence to the pound; his elderly owners were no longer capable of caring for him. He was then a seven year old very calm black fellow who eventually adjusted nicely to living in a new place. The sight of Mary and Charlie became almost as familair to the neighborhood as that of her and Raven or Jerry.
In the early morning of October 11th in the rain tragedy struck - Mary was killed by a car, and an unhurt Charly stood by her until police led him away. Newspapers photos show him looking forlornly at his dying owner.
At the wake were many photos and other tributes to her dogs: a "thank you" letter from Raven, and a life-size floral "statue" of Charly. The funeral
mass featured a painting of Jerry resting on her casket, while Jerry's ashes rested inside with Mary, as she wanted. The priest felt quite sure they were all reunited, she, Raven, and Jerry.
Charly is in good hands now, rescued, and awaiting a home. He had a tough time, but a loving place awaits somewhere.
No better example could exists of the deep love, and symbiotic relationship, between a human caretaker and those four-legged wonders in her care. Mary had always dreamed of going with Charly to Best Friends' Animal Society in Utah, where they have a sanctuary and residence. There she could have tended to all the animals she loved, including horses. Too bad that never worked out in her abbreviated life. Maybe there is a similar place in Heaven for her, Jerry and Raven.
This is not a memorial and does not belong in the Pet Loss forum, especially as Charly is fine. It is a tribute to the mutual love beteen a dog and his owner.