I love sharing the love from other pet lovers, and colleagues. The following piece was written by my dear, dear friend and colleague, Bob Jenkins. Take all of this in… You’ll love his story!

 My wife, Annette, and I had been married for several years before deciding we wanted a dog. I never had a dog of my own, but Annette had several growing up. I have always loved dachshunds and we chose a dachshund puppy. She was the tiniest little thing, weighing less than one pound. We named her Silke. She immediately grabbed our heart strings, as well as the hearts strings of others. My mom never allowed dogs in her house but somehow Silke overcame that rule and became the first “grand-dog” and was even honored with a picture on the wall among the other 13 grandchildren.

Silke taught me the unconditional love of a faithful companion and I was amazed at how much love I had for her. Unfortunately, at 10-years-old and in perfect health, a coyote attacked her in our front yard and she succumbed to the injuries after many surgeries and therapy sessions. We had to say good-bye. Our hearts were truly broken.

It took us a year to be willing to open our hearts again, but we did and this time for two! We met a sweet little dachshund puppy and named her Gracie. While we were adopting Gracie, we met another little one that we thought would be the perfect companion for Gracie. We named her Annie. Oh, how much fun to have two dachshunds! They were a month apart in age and truly had the sister relationship going on! Very much a love-hate relationship. For fourteen years, they were true companions. If Gracie had been a person, she would have been a perfect little girl; wearing jewelry and tutus. We bought her a pearl necklace and she loved wearing it. She would prance around like a little princess with her jewelry. Annie on the other hand would have been perfectly happy wandering and hunting in the woods behind our house. She was an outdoor kind of girl. It was fun to watch both develop their own personalities.

Life was full of love, fun, and adventure. As all pet parents know, as our beloved companions age we are faced with some difficult challenges. Annie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and liver cancer. We were doing everything possible to keep her alive and well. Then one night, totally unexpected, Gracie had a seizure. We rushed her to an emergency clinic and the symptoms were indicative of a brain tumor. After consultation and much consideration, we chose not to pursue aggressive treatment due to her advanced age. We brought her home to care for her. That evening she suffered a debilitating seizure. We knew it was time to say goodbye and we held her as she crossed the rainbow bridge. Recognizing the bond that the girls shared, we knew it was important for Annie to say goodbye.  We brought Grace home and placed her in her bed. Annie laid by her for a moment and then backed away, letting us know she understood.  Annie grieved for her sister and her health declined rapidly. Her favorite treats were cherry tomatoes and we decided that when she refused those, that would be our sign. Within 70 days, we had to say goodbye to Annie. We were truly devastated and heartbroken to lose both so quickly. Even though we know we will outlive our fur babies, saying goodbye is never easy.

After Silke’s death, it was important for us to honor the special bond we had shared. We wanted to create something truly unique that would become a living symbol of her life. She was the inspiration for our company and product, Let Your Love Grow, www.letyourlovegrow.com. Silke loved to follow the sun around the house and nap in the warmth. Today she lives on as a beautiful White Fringetree in our front yard that has full sun exposure. Gracie and Annie are together as a beautiful Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ Sweetshrub in our back yard, where Gracie can keep watch on the house and Annie can oversee her beloved hunting grounds. We are so comforted to know that all three are still with us and living again as beautiful plants in our yard.

Our hearts will always have a special place for the girls. Now we have now opened our hearts again to a boy named Roscoe! He is a real charmer and quite the socialite!

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