Here's Declan giving RJ one last snuggle before we had to say goodbye to him. It was a difficult decision but one we knew was really in RJ's best interest. He had myopathy and had lost control of his back end, resulting in a lot of embarrassment and pain for our sweet boy. RJ and Declan were already best friends and could not have been kinder and more loving with each other. Declan fed RJ treats, dinner and breakfast every single day. Both of them adored the other and made saying goodbye so much harder for all of us.
I got RJ as a gift from Scot and Kristine as a college graduation gift. We purcahsed RJ and his brother Loki from a breeder on Camano Island in July of 2003. We had played with all the puppies and looked them over. I hadn't decided which one I wanted to take home so I said "who wants to go home with me?" RJ stopped playing and ran to me, jumping into my arms. RJ and I chose each other.
RJ is the best gift that anyone ever gave to me. RJ has been my loyal, loving, sweet boy and has brought me so much happiness. I can't begin to describe what RJ's friendship has meant to me. He was with me every step of the way with Uncle Dave, bringing Dave so much joy with us many visits. After all, who doesn't love a big gangly puppy?
. He drove on countless journeys to Cheney. He accompanied me to graduate school and met my friends and advisor. My advisor told me "if you can make a dog play dead AND hold his breath, you can do anything!" He was with me when I became a teacher and he moved into my first house with me. RJ knew when Sandi was pregnant with Andria and would sit next to Sandi tilting his head back and forth studying her belly. He and Andria had a special bond right from the beginning.
He made me feel safe on every journey we took together. RJ walked next to me when we hiked to support my knee. He listened and never begged. He adored Brad from the start, even though he'd never tolerated any guy before. RJ chose Brad to be my partner in life and he and Brad became incredibly close right away.
He's been nothing but loving towards our little boy, letting Declan climb on him, pull his hair, play in his dog food and gently take treats from him.
RJ was also incredibly intelligent. He quickly learned how to care for his "babies" (stuffed animals) and would become upset if they were hurt in anyway. He knew the name of each one and could fetch the one I asked for. He loved to fetch the ball and if he listened would go left or right on command. As he slowly went blind, starting at age 6, this became very handy! RJ was very well trained and could heel on and off leash, he would wait when asked and could even go for bike rides on the dyke with me. He would run right next to me on my bike. He never ever begged at the table. I remember leaving steak sitting out thawing with in his reach and knowing he would never consider touching it.
Life with him has been a blessing and that's why I knew I needed to show him how much I love him by letting him go. He's now resting peacefully in the back yard where he grew up, right next to his best friend Vlad and his predecessor Riley. While we still miss him everyday, Declan calls for him less and less. We have fewer tears when we think we heard him and I remember now that I don't have to get up in the night to let him out. We are all so thankful to God that we got to have him in our lives!
Here are a few pictures from our lives with RJ starting from the first day I had him!