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Gypsy's Story by Michele Cohen
On May 30, 1994 my world collapsed. After a short (6 weeks) but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, I lost my dearest friend, my mother Rose.
Exactly 3 months to the date later, on August 30, my Akita, Conan, died of complications due to prostate cancer. Conan was a wonderful companion and is still sorely missed.
I tried for some months to come to terms with both of these losses, though so different in their meaning, it seemed those closest to me were being called away. I was deeply depressed, missing both of my dearest playmates.
Some months passed, and, after much discussion David and I decided it was time to begin healing my broken heart. We found a book with Leonbergers and knew this was the cure. Now to find one . . .
The phone calls began and I was led to Mary Decher who unbeknownst to me, had a litter born on November 30, 1994 exactly 6 months after my mother died. I knew I had to have one of these pups. In the following weeks, I drove Mary crazy. She thought all the pups were spoken for and was sorry she was not able to help me. I threw myself back into work and gave up the idea of a Leonberger at that point. One evening, David picked me up at work and told me Mary had called, and a pup would be coming to us in January. We were thrilled. I had just about given up on the prospect of a pup and now we were getting one!
Time couldn't pass quickly enough for me. I shopped for my new baby and eagerly awaited her arrival. By the time the plane landed everyone at the airport knew me, after all a rare dog was coming and I didn't even have any idea what to expect. The moment finally arrived. She was here. Open the crate David, hurry! She looked at us from deep inside the crate, shook herself off, came forward and kissed David first. Then it was my turn. I took her from the crate and never felt anything quite as wonderful as she felt. Her face was incredibly beautiful, and as soft as velvet. She tilted her head put a paw on my nose and kissed me. The tears flowed openly, I felt a bond with this puppy that was so strong I could hardly explain it.
I knew we would call her Gypsy before she even arrived. My mother was a frustrated actress and my brother and I were raised on Broadway musicals. Gypsy was always a favorite and my mother's nickname, Rose, was for the mother in the show. I had no idea that Gypsy Rose would have so much of another one inside of her.
An attempt at finding one particular moment in Gypsy's life that is most memorable is difficult. Each day, the joy she brings to my heart creates a new memory. One that I can recall is when I was trying so hard to remember a recipe of my mother's. Gypsy, as usual was sitting at my side watching me as I peeled vegetables. My frustration was growing and I could not remember how much of what went where. In my mind I was screaming "How could you have left me Mom?" I stared out the window and suddenly Gypsy stood up, put her paws on my shoulders and bathed me in kisses. For that moment my mother was hugging me, and Gypsy just kept holding on, as if she had heard my silent cries. From that day on I was convinced that somewhere in time. Two spirits met, one may have left me in one being, and another returned. The wisdom in her eyes, her feistiness, her fun-loving disposition, all reminiscent of my Rose, have returned inside this incredible dog. How lucky I am, to have her in my life.
Gypsy is now 5 years old, she is good-natured enough to share our home with 2 other Leos and a Golden Retriever. She takes care of everyone, quietly grooming them when she thinks I'm not aware, rounding them up for bed and teaching them how to be good citizens. Although they have all tested her good heart at one time or another, she has never reprimanded anyone with more than a stern look or at most, a bat with her paw! She is the queen of the family and has their respect of all of her subjects.
A neighbor of ours was attacked by a dog when she was a teenager. To this day her fear of dogs is terrible. Now, a mother of 2 young girls, she called me recently with a strange request. Knowing her own fear would be obvious to her daughters, she asked if we could arrange a meeting for her girls with Gypsy so they might not grow with the same feelings towards dogs. Gypsy was, of course, happy to help. Not only did the girls have a great time petting her and enjoying Leolicks, but by the end of the afternoon, their mom inched her way toward us and allowed Gypsy to give her a paw. Now, b both mom and the girls are Gypsy's friends and visit quite often. Once again, her sweet disposition came shining through!
Gypsy is a special gift. The joy she has brought back into my life cannot be measured. This phenomenal animal has renewed my faith, taught me to trust again and allows me the privilege of sharing my life with her. I only hope that somehow I can repay her for all she has done for me.
And when, in years from now, she crosses the bridge once again, I will await her return, for I know deep in my heart, that we belong together, in one way, or another.
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