Bandit came home to us in April of 1998. Some months prior when he was barely weaned he had been left on the front porch of a neighbor at Chigger Hill by an unknown woman who drove up, got the puppy out of her car, put him on the porch, and drove off despite our neighbor's protests that he didn't want a dog. The neighbor took care of him; but didn't really want a dog around because the deer he fed would leave their fawns close to his house in the spring; and so Bandit came home to live with us.

Bandit June 1998

Sadly, Bandit is no longer with us. On Wednesday, March 17, 2004 we set him free to wait at the rainbow bridge in a place where there is no pain and no confusion. For six wonderful years he was my best friend, my companion on many photographic trips, my protector, and the inspiration for and behind many of my stories. His pictures are on many of my pages here and in my Gallery. We should have had many more years together; but that was not to be.

We never knew his lineage; but there was every evidence in his markings and conformation that he was part St. Bernard. Like all members of the "giant" breeds, he began to suffer early with joint pain; and in his last few months became increasingly unpredictable around women and children, causing him great confusion. He who even as a gangly puppy never once bumped into a child and made them fall no matter how they ran and played, who loved them all so dearly, began to greet his favorite kids with low growls and finally with increasingly threatening postures.

His confusion over his behavior was evident and heartbreaking. Our vet could offer us no treatment, no hope except to let him go before he hurt someone. The changes in my friend could not be treated or reversed. They would only get worse as time went on; and so like all pet parents, we had to make the decision to do what was best for him and so painful for us. We had one last week with Bandit, one last glorious weekend down at Chigger Hill, trying to live in that one week all the years we would not have, trying to give in that one week love enough to last a lifetime.

They say that for every dog owner there is that one special one; and Bandit was that one for me. Fare thee well, my friend until we meet again.

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This page created on 22 Aug 2004.