May 31, 1987 - February 10, 2000

In 1987, Jim and I decided we wanted to move out of the apartment we shared with a roommate and into our own place. I called ads in the paper for apartments, my first question being, "Do you allow pets?" I wanted a puppy ...

A week before moving into our new place, we answered an ad for "precious puppies free with a bag of puppy chow." Black lab puppies squirmed all around this outdoor pen. There was this larger pup standing off from the rest; he had black fur, white chest/legs, and black and brown speckles on his front legs. We were surprised to hear he was from the same litter. Apparently a nine-month old Lab had a litter of 15; the two others that looked like the speckled pup died. We liked the pup's personality and asked if he could be held for a week until we moved in. Thus Chevy became ours, and we became his.

Chevy with Bobcat on couch

Through the months our little Lab puppy mutated into this long-haired Afghan-looking creature. We took him for long walks in the VT woods. He loved to chase the seagulls at the St. Michael's College fields. It took him a while to realize that running full-speed into Jim or me hurt *him* too ... He taught me the true meaning of mortification -- when as a six-month-old he went running up to a jogging foreign-exchange student and pulled his sweatpants down to his knees ...

Jim, Chevy, Laura visit Chevy's first family

Two and a half years later our first daughter was born ... Chevy was not impressed. When Shaina started tossing Cheerios and other snacks down from her high chair, he decided she wasn't so bad after all ...

Jim joined the Navy to support our family. Chevy and our two cats joined us in our travels from VT to NY, NY to FL, FL to IL, and IL to VA (all in a year and a half). He watched another daughter and a son join our family, and suffered the infant cries until they, too, could shower him with Cheerios. He joined us for long walks along Chesapeake Bay, wallowing in the water like a hippo. He accepted our first Dane without question, and the line of Dane-fosters that followed ...

When we moved up to PA in December of 1998, it was obvious how happy he was to be back in the northern climate. He would lay out in the snow and almost sigh with contentment. He walked a lot slower when we hooked the leash to his collar, but the hill is awfully steep ... He was on meds for arthritis and thyroid, and was content to sleep most of the day away.

Chevy stopped eating and drinking one weekend in February, and developed a wretching cough. I had noticed a slight cough now and then, but nothing like what he started doing. Xrays and bloodwork show the presence of tumors in his lungs; he was having a hard time breathing. He spent one night at the vet, and I brought him home so we could say goodbye to him. On a Thursday we said godspeed to our first son, our beloved Afghan-Lab who showed us so much about how to love, and how to practice being patient!

Chevy in all his beauty

I know it was the right thing to do for him; he was truly uncomfortable and not in peace. We took him for one last slow walk, then held him until he crossed the bridge ... Goodbye Chevy, we love you more than words can ever say ...

I will lend to you for a while, a pup, God said,
For you to love him while he lives
and mourn for him when hes dead.

Maybe for twelve or fourteen years, or maybe two or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me.

Hell bring his charms to gladden you
and should his stay be brief youll always have
his memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below, I want this pup to learn.

Ive looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
And from the folk that crowds lifes land
I have chosen you.

Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take my pup back again.

I fancied that I heard them say Dear Lord Thy Will be Done,
For all the joys this pup will bring, the risk of grief well run.

Well shelter him with tenderness well love him while we may,
And for the happiness weve known forever grateful stay.

But should you call him back much sooner than weve planned,
Well brave the bitter grief that comes,
and try to understand.

If, by our love, weve managed,
your wishes to achieve,
In memory of him we loved, to help us while we grieve.

When our faithful bundle departs this world of strife,
Well have yet another pup and love him all his life.