She came into our lives as one of a litter of six, born June 10, 1989. She grew rapidly and was a very "leggy" little girl and it was obvious she would be one who was slow to mature. She always exhibited such a sweet personality and at the same time had such a zest for life! She was very curious by nature and I believe if she could talk, she would have been asking, "why" and "how come?" - a lot like an inquiring child.
   From the beginning, it was those deep dark eyes that spoke to me from a level that was hard to fathom - even more so, after being gone from us for seven years.
   About three years ago,I received a phone call from a friend who advised me he had spotted a female elkhound in the humane society in a town about 50 miles from us. I had just come back from a series of shows, was exhausted, and in no mood to go after a "rescue". I finally told myself that I needed to check out this dog.
   Upon my arrival at this so-called "Humane Society" (it was anything but!) I entered the building where the animals were housed and started walking up and down the isles. It was dark, hot and smelly in there. When I arrived at her pen, I found her curled up in a little ball at the far end of the pen, by herself and not wanting to come out. I got down and called to her and she immediately lifted her head and looked at me with a puzzled, sorrowful look. The moment she raised her head, I knew she was one of mine. I grabbed the paperwork, read her "name" and knew immediately who she was. I called to her and she crawled forward on her belly, scared, but knowing somehow that she knew me. I held her through the chain link fencing and told her I was her "mom", that I loved her and would get her out of this place.
   As I stood to go, she started to cry and yelp. I had to go back and try to reassure her I would be back.
   The adoption process took three days. Rosie was skin and bones, with fleas and ticks all over her little body. I came to see her every day. She was not spayed and I argued with personnel at the shelter, trying to get them to release her to me so I could fatten her up before that operation. I offered to give them whatever assurances they wanted that I would have her spayed, but they refused. When it looked like they might not allow me to take her, I had to give in. They later told me they could not believe the turnaround in that dog. She had been brought in and surrendered by a man and two or three incorrigible kids, who were hanging on her and when not doing that, were climbing the furniture. The man claimed she was a "biter", was always getting into the garbage (gee, I wonder why??),escaping, fighting with their other dog and they could no longer keep her. Sheltler personnel told me she was acting so despondent that they felt there was nothing they could do and had planned to schedule her for euthanization.
   After my initial visit with her, she came to life and barked incessantly, always checking each person who came by, wanting to get out. I know in my heart that she understood I was coming back for her.
   They went ahead with her spay. She developed a huge hematoma at the point of incision- most likely her blood had been thinned from all the ticks secreting enzymes which are meant to thin the blood. When I picked her up, she could hardly walk, was shaking all over. I put her in my van and took her immediately to my vet, where she was given a complete physical and medications.
   The turnaround in Rosie was amazing! Within three weeks, she had gained weight and started growing coat (she'd had none!). She went to live with my daughter Jennifer and son in-law Tim, who promptly fell in love with her. It took her awhile to stop foraging for food in the trash can, but once she realized she was going to get fed on a regular basis, she eventually stopped that habit. She was also initially terrified of any sudden movements by my son in-law Tim, and would fall to the floor if he raised his voice or made sudden movements. She overcame her fears in time and grew to really trust and love Tim and the feeling was mutual.
   Everytime I went to see her, she could hardly restrain herself. She was so happy and her beautiful eyes shown with pure adoration every time she looked at me. It was such a wonderful time for her. She knew beyond all doubt she was loved very much and she returned that love tenfold.
   We were concerned when Jennifer had a baby, but there was no need for that concern. When people came to visit, Rosie would quietly position herself between the baby and any visitors and just sit or lay there. As baby grew, Rosi exhibited nothing but love for her.
   Whenever I would come to visit, Jennifer would open the front door and Rosi would come bounding out with a huge grin on her face. Yes, a genuine smile with lips pulled back, grinning from ear to ear!
   Rosie became ill last August and we did not know what was wrong. We ran a series of tests that were inconclusive. She was anemic. I would cook special food for her and bring it over every day, trying to build up her system. She was always so happy to see me, even on her bad days. Not knowing for sure what was wrong made us crazy! Upon the advice of our vet, who was equally puzzled, we took her to an ultrasound specialist. Rosi was diagnosed with liver tumors, most likely cancer.
   We took her home and continued to love her and spoil her. I came by to see her and give her special treats every morning on my way to work. She lived another six weeks and while I was at work one day, amid all the hussle and bustle, she came to me like a wave. My mind was flooded with her and I just had to leave.
   I rushed home to Jennifer's house and found her gone. She was still warm and I am thoroughly convinced that she came to me to say goodby.
   No finer creature I have ever known on this earth and as the song goes, "If dogs have a heaven, there's one thing for sure, Rosie has a wonderful home."
Written by Margaret Williamson

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