Gambit was a beautiful pit bull and labrador mix, who I encountered on a bridge almost 10 years ago, in 1995. I felt an immediate connection with him, and even though I had 2 other dogs at the time, as well a smany cats, I took him home with me. It is a decision I never regretted, as he turned out to be the most special, unique dog I ever encountered.

I never knew his true age, the vet thought he was around 2 yeard old at the time, but later on I realized he may have been older. He had such energy, such intelligence, it was like he was the canine version of me, even though I'm female. Sometimes, it was like we knew each other's thought with just a look exchanged. Gambit loved going for long walks, he loved pig ears (his favorite snack), and laying out in the sun. The dog's personality is impossible to put into words, but everyone who met him thought he was such a cool, handsome boy. His big brown eyes were so expressive, he always looked loke he was smiling, and he had a sleek, muscular build. He was black with a white patch on his chest, with short fur that was longer around the neck. He was a real charmer.

He began to get sick in 2003, he had a testicle removed because there was a huge lump attached. At that time, the doctor noticed what he thought were swollen lymph nodes in his throat. Later, we found out it was the beginnings of a thyroid mass attached to his larnyx (quite common in cats, rarely seen in dogs). They also found out he has a heart murmur, which turned out to be the start of heart disease, which eventually was the reason for his death. I wish more than anything we had known then, and had atarted treatment, it may have added some valuable time to his life. It is a regret I will hold onto always, as he is truly an irreplacable friend.

Despite all this illness, Gambit was still the friendliest. most loyal dog you can imagine. He never seemed down or depressed, and refused to give up. He had the strongest will of any animal I have ever seen. As the cancer began ravaging his body, and the heart weakened, he still soldiered on, refusing to let his illness or discomfort change his personality. It makes me proud to think about what a brave, sweet boy he was.

In May 2005, the poor boy was hacking up fluids all the time, and getting weaker. He had lost so much weight, but still loved to eat and go for his walks. He had lost the ability to bark due to the mass on his larnyx, and we took him to several doctors to try to help him. We were told there was little that could be done, were given medicine, and told to make him as comfortable as possible. In early June, he began to swell from water, his heart was beginning to fail. He still refused to give in, he had such a strong will to live, it inspired me so much. I hope I will have that kind of strength of character and dignity when my end is near.

On June 20, 2005, it became a struggle I knew in my heart he could not win. We took him to the vet and asked her honest opinion, was there any way to save him? We had tried so many medicines in the past, and she said there was no way he would ever get better, just weaker and more frail. He would eventually die from this, very soon, and it would be an awful, painful death, that would take away his hard thought dignity by making him an invalid, incapable of the things he loved so much. The kindest thing to do for him was to let him go. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and a decision I keep second guessing. He was still eating, and even wanted to go for walks, though by this point he could only go around the block. It was such a hard decision to make. I had tried to prepare myself for it, but when it happens, there is just not enough prepping in the world to make it any better. My baby was strong till the end, it made me feel so bad to watch him succumb to the injection, but I told myself that he needed peace, that his suffering was too great to be tolerated any longer. He died so peacefully, and I'll never forget those last moments. I sincerely hope he is in a better place, wagging his tail and walking into eternity with his head held high.

To my boy, my dear friend, my special pet, I loved you more than I thought was possible to love an animal, and your loss is a wound I can't believe will ever heal. You added so much to my life, and 10 years was nowhere near enough time to be with you. Thank you for allowing me to be your owner, I hope I deserved and lived up to the privilege. You never disappointed me, especially at the end. I miss you more than I can put into words, I would give anything to pet your big head again, play with those velvety ears, and take you for the long walks you loved so much. All the other animals miss you too, especially the puppy. She loved you almost as much as I did. I hope somehow, someway, to see you once again someday. I know you are at peace, and you are missed beyond belief. Rest well, my sweetie, and know you were loved more than you will ever know. Til we meet again...

Debbie, Sue, Kurt Bren, Chuck, Puppy, and all the cats

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