I’ve been a Labrador breeder for quite a while now. Always on a small scale, I have produced dogs with the goal of health, temperament , trainability, and classic Labrador looks. Most of my puppies go to families as beloved pets. But, over the years, I have donated puppies to service dog programs to be trained to help people with disabilities.

I am always saddened when I hear of the passing of a dog that I held on the very first day of life. Heck, I planned the life. I planned the breeding of his mother. I was there as he learned the ropes of early puppyhood in his first few weeks. I worked hard to make his early days happy and successful. I introduced him to the world, helped him to develop his brain as well as his body. As a breeder, I take this very seriously.

Today, I got the news that one of my puppies went to the rainbow bridge at the ripe old age of 15. As always, it made me reflect on the the litter he came from. While all of the puppies are special, this puppy was extra special. You see, this puppy was a puppy that I donated to Susquehanna Service Dogs.

The puppy was named Dennis, called Denny. He became the companion and service dog of a woman named Cheri. I was very fortunate that Cheri kept in touch with me over the years. I met her once, early on in Denny’s career. It was obvious that they were a devoted team. I was very happy that Denny made a difference in Cheri’s life. I looked forward to messages with occasional pictures of Denny.

The messages recently have kept me informed of Denny’s decline in old age. He was loved and appreciated to the very end. The last message was to inform me that Denny’s life had peacefully come to an end.

Thank you, Cheri, for keeping in touch. For allowing one of my Canterbury Tails Labradors to do such valuable work. For loving Denny so much.

Denny, you were a wonderful dog. You made me very proud. RIP.