Pets are such wonderful things to have - they love you no matter what your mood; they want only to please you and receive your attention and love. My dog is my companion through the bad times and the good. We moan and groan together when the weather makes our arthritis pain worse. We relax together listening to beautiful, soothing music - she is a great music fan. The very sad thing to me is that as she gets older and more frail, many of the routines that had developed as much from her intuition as from me, she has forgotten. The routine to make it possible for me to let her outside without struggles and a great deal of manuevering on both our parts, seems to no longer be a part of her memory. Trying to remind and urge her to do those things now just confuse and frustrate her.

I got my wonderful dog after a worker in the vet's office that cared for my other dog, whom I had for 18 years, found her after she had been hit by a car. She had been someone's pet because she was housebroken and trained, but she had gotten her leg caught in a trap of some kind. Apparently she got her leg out of the trap herself and wandered around for more than a week with it mangled and broken. Then, she was hit by the car.

The assistant in the vets office found her and took her back to their office where they removed her mangled leg and repaired her injuries from the automobile with surgery. When she was well enough to leave the veterinarians office, unable to find her previous owner, they called me. Knowing my dog was old and ill, they urged me to adopt this one to help me through the inevitable loss of my older dog.

Cassie has been a wonderful pet and companion. We have gone through a tremendous amount together - loss of the other dog, loss of a dear friend, loss of my mother, loss of my mobility. She has remained a loving, sweet animal in spite of the horror and pain she has endured in her lifetime. When I had to go from using the crutches to the wheelchair, it never even phased her. She was never afraid of it and somehow just seemed to know what she needed to do to make it easier for me to care for her in this situation.

At the time I got her, I was using crutches to walk. My mother made the comment to the vet that she couldn't believe her "four-legged daughter was getting a three-legged dog." My mother was not much of a dog-lover, but Cassie was determined my mother was going to give her attention and that my mother was going to accept Cassie's love. She would sneak a quick "kiss" in now and then, much to my mother's dislike.

It hurts me to see her "failing." She still wants to do what she is supposed to and it upsets her so if she has an "accident in the house." I do love her and want her here as long as possible. People say how lucky she was to have been adopted by me, but I am the lucky one to have had her "adopt" me. We are a good match - - both move slower these days and must deal with increased pain. But she is still my protector - even if she does bark at a stranger and then hide behind me. She is a joy; she makes me laugh..........and the thought of not having her makes me cry.