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My wife, Kristen, was a school teacher in Lake Weir, Florida, back in 2006. One morning in November, she arrived at work to discover a mid-sized Australian Shepherd happily romping about outside the school, coming up to the arriving students for hugs and attention. They happily obliged. He was underweight, older, covered in mange and yeast infections, missing half his coat, and had a horrible cough. Kristen contacted the local authorities to have him caught until we could come and get him. A few days later, she brought Puppy into our home and for the next two and a half years, Puppy brought a pure, perfect joy into our lives.

Puppy was always patient and friendly with our six cats, including our rescued city-street cat, Buddy, who put a scratch all the way down Puppy's nose when they first met. But nothing got Puppy down. He was always happy, kind, empathetic, eager to please, gentle, patient, sociable, amenable - just the nicest fella you'd ever hope to meet.

When we found him, however, he'd been abandoned and terribly neglected, and had suffered the ravages of heartworm, leaving him with congestive heart failure. We found a wonderful vet, Dr. Mounger, in the nearby little town of Bushnell, who carefully treated Puppy. Thanks to his humane and professional attention, Puppy lived longer than anyone, back when we first found him, had expected. On March 18, 2009, his CHF finally caught up with him and our beloved Puppy left us. But he left with the same enthusiam for life he always had, passing peacefully after playing with some neighborhood children and their little dog and getting just a little over-excited with happiness, as was his nature.

We will always love and cherish our Puppy, our beautiful, fuzzy, wonderful, happy, snuggly, loving rescued dog.

Preston Bilotti
Inverness, FL

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