"I met Brandi briefly when she was a pup and I thought she was the homeliest purebred Chow I ever saw. She was certainly not my type of dog ...very different from my lovely cocker spaniels and different from the Chows I saw on TV and at dog shows. 

"She was not an abused dog but she had very little socialization. Her entire world consisted of her owner, her backyard and an occasional trip to the vet. 

"The day came when the elderly owner went into the hospital. I asked if anything happened what should I do with the dog. Sadly there was no one and no place to send an un socialized 9 year old Chow. I promised I would put Brandi down. 

"The day I went to get Brandi, I wondered how on earth I would manage to get the dog out of the house. She only knew me for the past 2 weeks I had been stopping by to let her outdoors and feed her. As I stood there, leash in my hands, and uncertainty in my mind ... she walked to me, stuck her head inside the collar and led me to the door.

"The next days were hectic...I did not have time to take her to be euthanized and by the 3rd day when she was sleeping at my feet and on my bed, I began to realize I could not keep my word .

"My concerns about how she would react to family and strangers led me to be ever cautious. Much later on I took her to the Vet for a dental exam wearing a muzzle. I was upset to see her being led back from the examining room by a young girl and the muzzle was gone. I fussed at my vet as to why he would remove her muzzle and he commented he had to look at her teeth (duh!) and that she was a good dog. On a new tactic I decided to let her choose her friends while I hovered but she chose everyone who came to our home.

"As Brandi grew older I could read the message in her eyes that said please go sit on the sofa so she could rest from mothering me. It seemed she felt she was the mother and I was the baby and she needed to be ever watchful. I remarked to my husband that she was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen. 

"One day in summer a large snake came slithering over my deck. I began to scream hysterically. She ran to the snake, grabbed it up and took it to the back yard away from me. She shook it and shook it until it was dead. Yes, she took her job seriously while baby sitting me. 

"Brandi never failed to greet me at the door with a special smile that set her body wiggling and her feet dancing. She had a heart as big as Texas and was a perfect companion, a gentle, sweet precious dog. 

"A shining light went out in our world on Sept 13 2004. She would have been 14 the following month. We miss her so very much and the spot she filled in our hearts will always be empty. I feel sorry there are so many who donít see the value and wisdom of adopting an older dog. I will always be grateful for the 5 years she shared our lives."

(Brandi's owner's name withheld on request)

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