My Golden retriever Bryn born November 1984 died March 2001.

I worked as a veterinary nurse and Bryn was brought in to be humanely detroyed when he was 6 weeks old. I took him home and nursed him back to health because he was a sick little puppy. When he was six years old he had a terrible road accident and the vet thought he wouldn't survive but we mended his broken bones and I nursed him back again. When he was about ten years old he ate a plastic bag full of sandwiches he'd found in our local park and he had to have 18 inches of his bowel removed because it ruptured into his abdomen. I spent an all night vigil at his side because the vet didn't think he would survie the night. He fooled them all. He lived to be 16 years old. 16 golden years when my sons grew up and he and I grew old together. Up until two days before he died he still made it for a walk through the woods with me and my other three dogs - even though our routes got shorter and shorter and he stumbled and fell from time to time.

Then suddenly he became very weak - I suspect that he'd had a stroke and I prayed all night for him to die in his sleep. I wasn't so lucky. That great gallant heart that carried him through so much in his lifetime just refused to stop beating. I had to call our vet to him and after we had our last day together, he was put to sleep quietly and gently in my arms.

My other dogs have been silent since the day he died. They all used to bark when I or anyone else came home, but the house is silent just now. The Leader is dead. We none of us know what to do - not me or my other dogs.

I sit at my desk and his photo is by my side. One when he was younger and his great laughnig face smiles out at me. I didn't want to let him go, but I loved him too much to make him stay. There will never be another goldie like my Bryn. My big golden dog with his laughing face.

He was the finest dog I could ever have had.

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