Through the years, Baby endured many things, such as running endless, homemade agility courses; being dressed up as a school mascot; being bitten by 2-year-olds; pulling me around the neighborhood on roller skates; enduring my first attempts at grooming; being surrogate mother to several cats (he would've nursed them had he been capable!); breaking through windows and screens. Once, while we were attending the 4th of July fireworks, Baby, who was blind from age at the time, broke through a screen and fell 2 stories onto our deck.He walked away from that fall with just a sprained paw and nothing more, we couldn't believe how resilient he was!

When not putting up with such torments, he was the ever faithful companion: playing hide and go seek every night, though never letting me win; being my pillow on any vacant hillside when playing got tiresome; or just my shoulder to cry on when the time was right.

He was the cutest dog and he always had a "baby-face," even when he got older.†† Even until he was 13 years old, when he'd get his hair cut, people would ask how old the puppy was and be shocked when I clarified it was 13 YEARS, not months!!† After coming in from the snow, he would look like an angel because the snowflakes would melt into tiny crystal beads and he would shimmer.

Despite onlookers suggestions that his time had come, and gone, those of us who knew him best realized that Baby still very much enjoyed life, which held great value to him and to those around him. His joys in later life included sleeping on his chaise lounge in the summer months, eating heartily -- and we heard about it if we were at all late with dinner -- and swimming for rehabilitation purposes.

And he was a smart dog, so much that he had us trained.† One night, we learned just how much Baby had us wrapped around his little paw.† Late night bathroom breaks were not out of the ordinary in his last few years, so when he did make it outside to go, we'd always reward him with a treat when he came back in.† On this particular night, Baby went to the bathroom, came inside and we gave him his treat. Then he turned back around and barked at the door. Not trusting his aged constitution, we let him outside again, just in case. Several turns at the door -- and several treats -- later, we watched in amazement as he went out only to stand on the deck, come back in, and await his treat! He'd outsmarted us!

†††††††††††† †Thankfully we were able to spend the last day of his life cuddling with Baby on the floor, reminiscing on all the fun and love we had shared. We were able to tell him how much we loved him, how sorely we would miss him, what a wonderful pet he had been, how lucky we felt to have offered him a home for all those years and how we would dream about our reunion one day. Even immobile, atop the hill of blankets we had arranged for him, Baby wouldn't refuse his favorite treat of all: cheese!† He ate slice after slice, loving the attention and goodies.† That night, we brought him back to the Hamden Animal Shelter the same place we'd adopted him from 15 years earlier. We thought it fitting that he should end his life right where the good part had begun. Through many, many tears, we wished him farewell.† Now we wait, brokenhearted till we can see him again some day.† For now, he's in Heaven causing mischief with his best friend of many years, Blackie.† I can't wait to see that forever young "baby-face" again.


††††† Till then,


This was Baby's life until the early morning hours on June 2, 2006.† We awoke to his hoarse bark and found him unable to stand or bear weight on any of his legs. We believe he had a stroke during the night, but, surprisingly, he was not in pain.

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Fifteen years ago, I walked into the Hamden Animal Shelter looking for the dog who was next scheduled to be euthanized.† There were two, a brother and sister, they think, who were abandoned only blocks from my home, in the confines of Lake Whitney.† I brought the 1 Ĺ-year-old male Golden/American Eskimo mix home. Later, we found out his sister had also been adopted before it was too late. My dog was timid and fearful of loud noises, so he earned his name, Baby. So began a lifelong friendship between me and Baby.