Your Pet Tributes

'My Big Teddy Bear, Chester'

by Melissa

Chester showing his smile

Chester showing his smile

This may be a bit long, but I think it is a nice story, about the most wonderful dog.

It was summer of 2003. My mom, brother, and I were enjoying an evening swim in our back yard, when we heard the sound of our gate opening. We were relieved to see it was only our neighbour, and very happy to see that in her arms was a puppy. I mean, who doesn’t love a puppy? He was golden, with white paws, a white stripe between his eyes to his nose, and I noticed right away that the tip of his tail was white – like a paint brush dipped in white paint. I also noticed that he had very large paws for his small body... I knew he was going to be a big boy.

My neighbour told us that she had taken him just for the night from a shelter. He was unwanted, and the shelter was unable to find a home for him. If they could not find a home for him, he would not be at the shelter for much longer. She didn’t know how old he was, or even what breed he was. I basically begged my mom to just let us watch him for the night, and she agreed, but she said we couldn’t keep him because we already had 2 golden retrievers, and a teacup poodle.

I stayed up with him the entire night and fell in love with this little teddy bear. The next morning broke my heart when our neighbour came to get him. He was crying, and when he was in the car just looked out the back window watching me as the car drove away. After that I just remember crying, and calling my mom mean names for not keeping him. Who knew what his future would hold, if any. My mom is a dog lover, so I knew she was sad too. She later asked my dad when he came home from work, if we could get him back, and he said yes. That is how we got our Chester.

I kind of considered him my dog. I am the one who wanted him back the most and I named him, and spent a lot of time with him. All of the other dogs we had previously were unwanted from other family members. One of our golden retrievers that we had at the time was our first puppy we had gotten, and she was an absolute night mare – chewing on everything she could get her teeth on. Chester was different though. We expected the worst, but he turned out to be an excellent puppy. The only thing he chewed on were shoelaces, and those are easy to replace.

Time went on, and the little guy grew, and grew, and grew. He was massive! We first thought he was part golden retriever part Border collie because of his white markings, but once he got so big, we had no idea. We were thinking maybe St. Bernard, but we really didn’t know. He was just big. A tall, stocky, strong, 120lb cuddly teddy bear. People were intimidated by his size, but he was by far the most loving, sweet, affectionate, gentle dog.

All we had to do was ask him for a hug, and he would jump up and put his front paws on our shoulders. I would often lay on the floor with him, rest my head on him and just pet him for hours. If I stopped, he would put his paw on my hand to ask me to continue – and how can you say no to that? He was also very good with our other dogs. We ended up getting a put and a bichon/Papillion as one of our golden retrievers and the teacup poodle passed a few years ago. Chester would play tug of war with the little dogs, letting them win of course.

He was just everything anyone could ask for in a dog. My whole family is so glad we took him back, because he made our lives better. Dogs are amazing that way. They love you every day, no matter what. They are loyal, they listen, and they know when you are sad and comfort you. That is so much more than you could say for some humans.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago, he started getting very sore and unable to walk on his own. The nerves in his back end were deteriorating, he had bad arthritis in his back, and his shoulders were deteriorating as well from all the strain. The only humane thing to do was to stop his suffering. It is so hard to make that choice, but it is even harder to watch something you love in pain. It is the least we could do for this dog that has given us so much.

Chester is now gone, but his memory will be with me forever. It is just unfortunate that he was so young – only 6 years old. I don’t think I will ever have a dog like him again. He was just perfect in every way. I am just so heartbroken that I won’t be able to hug him again, but I am glad he is no longer suffering.

The part in the “Rainbow Bridge” poem, that talks about the old and frail made young again, makes me think of him as a younger, healthier boy again. Running in a field with his friends. I hope he is doing that now, because I know that’s what he loved doing more than anything.

Run free forever, boy. You made us all happier than you know.

Summer 2003 – December 12, 2009

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