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I found another pup to add to the family- a Sheltie I named Alex. It always amazes me how fast one can fall in love with a little guy -I estimate about 2.7 seconds or less.

One afternoon, when Alex was young, we gardened together. He walked in and out of the flower beds as I tried to plant and fertilize. While focusing on the flowers, I lost track of Alex. When I discovered  he wasn’t with me, I frantically shouted his name and searched the yard. I checked everywhere- including the street in front of our home and the roads into the grounds where we lived, but did not find him. 

With my mind racing and my heart pounding, I started up the porch steps to phone for help. Suddenly, I stopped half way up the steps because there, sitting at the top of the steps, wagging his tail, sat my Alex. As I scooped him up in my arms and kissed his little face, I told him how worried I was and how happy I was that he was not lost after all. I told him how he scared his mommy. I should have known-  already having a Sheltie – that Shelties never leave you. Where you are, they are. 

When Alex was about 3 years old, he developed a stone in his bladder from minerals in his diet. I surgically removed it, however, the condition went unnoticed for a while. When he appeared to be passing urine, very little or none came out due to the stone obstructing the flow of urine. I believe the blockage injured his kidneys because when Alex was about 7 years old, his kidneys began to fail to do their job.

In human medicine, patients are offered dialysis to filter their blood when their kidneys are not doing so. This may be available now at specialty clinics, but was not well developed when Alex’s kidneys failed to do their job. Alex accompanied me everywhere so I could give him medications and fluids as needed as well as being near me comforted him. I was committed to racing and training horses at the racetrack 2-3 times a week and was aware that taking a dog into the racetrack could result in a $250.00 fine, but I couldn’t leave him at home.  

When we went into the race track, Alex rested on the passenger seat beside me out of view. But, when I took my race horse from the prep barn to the track, I saw Alex sitting in the driver’s seat looking out the window. As I passed I said, “Alex, you’re blowing our cover. Everyone can see you.” Luckily, no one seemed to notice and we were never fined. 

Even after several months of diligent care, and trying to figure a way to help Alex, the day came I could see that we were not on the winning side of Alex’s kidney disease. It was one of the saddest days of my life to say good- bye to that wonderful little dog. When these beautiful creatures come into our lives they bring happiness and love and time seems to fly by until that dreadful day. Saying good-bye is always heartbreaking. They say it’s part of the deal. The more you love something or someone, the more it hurts to say good- bye. The only other option is to not love- and that is not an option I wish to choose. I will always have memories of Alex to make me happy for the time we had together. 

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