I adopted Bighead Kennedy Houdini in the fall of '99. A black lab who never never outgrew his puppyhood. I can't count the number of times I've laughed and cussed him for stealing beer...a beer can was his favorite toy - how he managed to crush them and never cut his mouth is beyond me. He spent days in the water, chasing ducks for hours, and he never failed to be suprised when the ducks would fly just as he reached him. He has protected me from dangerous fishermen who dared snag their lures on the dock, and heaven help the ones who thought they could step aboard and pick up their hooks.

Kennedy never understood that fishing bobbers were not retrieve toys. He terrorized the neighborhood, bringing home shoes, garden tools, and a bowling bag with ball inside. I couldn't keep him on the dock, no collar, choke chain, pinch chain or harness could hold him, thus the third name Houdini.

After I built my house, he went to live my friend Barry and his nine year old daughter Kayra, living out in the country with plenty of room to roam and his very own pond. And he absolutely loved that Barry planted LOTS of tomatoes that he thought were his very own green ball plants.

Yesterday morning, while waiting on the school bus with Kayra and her mom, he spied another favorite toy, a Mountain Dew bottle, on the other side of the road. He ran after it and was hit by a car. Vicki called me at 6:30 and asked what to do. I gave her my vets name. I went to the vet to check on Kennedy and found him lying on the floor. He managed to thump his tail and lick my fingers. The x-rays revealed no broken bones, but the abdominal cavity was clouded. The doc thought he had herniated and that his intestines were pushing on his lungs and heart. They started fluids to stabilize him, expecting to do surgery this morning.

I called after I got to the office and they couldn't wait to do the surgery so I went back to the vet and waited. When they got in they found an artery to his heart had ruptured and there was nothing to be done.

I sat on the dock yesterday afternoon, remembering this big old clumsy, always laughing dog. I cried lot and I'm crying now as I remember his antics, but my tears are rolling over a smile. Kennedy was a good boy, and tonight when I place his cremated remains in the lake he loved to play in, I will toss him one more beer can.

God bless you, big boy. You'll always be in my heart.

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