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May 9,2003
Although it may seem trivial to some to me it is not. One might say that he was only a dog but to me he was far more than just a dog.  Yes, he was a dog but also and more importantly he was one of my Kids, best friend, loyal companion, and kindred spirit. One might say that I placed him in a home not my own therefore he couldn't possibly have meant that much to me. Well those that feel that way could not be more wrong. After all you raise your children they grow up and leave home and make lives for themselves. Hopefully, either or both, you stay in touch with them and they stay in touch with you. Just because they do not physically live with you Do you love them any less. My guess, the answer would be no. If you can possibly understand this concept, than possibly, you can understand how I felt or should I say feel about Polka. 
He was a very special boy. I remember when he was born. The date was October 4, 1996. He was white and black with a small black circle around his white but hole. For a long time the joke was going to be to call him target. I could not do that to him though. As the days turned into weeks he started getting black spots or ticking as it is often referred to. We came up with a theme for the litter. We decided to go with a dance theme. There were four total pups in the litter. The names were in order of birth: Polka - Dot, Twist and Shout, Tango to the top, and Maccarana Dancer. Who would have ever dreamed that the first to be born would also be the one who would be first to depart. Before leaving us though, he did some wonderful great tremendous things that I will never be able to thank him enough for. He had a major impact in so many lives. Even though he is gone he will continue to make an impact in peoples lives for a very long time to come.
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of his first show. It was the Mid Atlantic Supported entry. He was in 6-9 month old class. He was such an awkward gangly puppy. Yet he still placed in his class. His legs were all over the place. He was just happy to be alive. He enjoyed life so much.
He later finished his championship very quickly. He achieved several best of breeds from the classes. He even made final cut in a group once Not bad for a white dog in a lion trim.
Most importantly He was always so happy. I loved living with him. Although I had two males at the time. I had considered placing him in the right home. But the right one had not come along. In fact I even placed him with a friend of mine at the time. But this turned out to be a disaster as he went into such a state of depression at being separated from me that he quit eating all together and lost fearful amount of weight. We took him to several different vets for a possible diagnosis to no avail. In the mean time he was of course returned to me and I changed his food and he started eating again It did not take him long to gain back all the weight he had lost. I than decided that he was never going to leave me. I was going to keep him forever.  I still  feared that as he matured he and my older male would have problems with each other. As it turned out they did. Polka turned 4 years of age he decided to challenge Leo. The problems began. Than I had to do something I never wanted to have to do. I had to keep one of the boys crated and away from the other at all times unless I was right there to be on top of them. I did not feel that this was fair to either of them.  Once again I toyed with the Idea of placing him. I knew I could never do it unless it was absolutely the right and best of all possible homes. It took a while for me to come to grips with this decision but I did. I guess it was easier because for the first time in his lifetime I did not have people making offers or asking if he was for sale or if I would consider parting with him. 
Than 2 years ago in April 2001 Again at the faithful Mid Atlantic Supported entry a woman approached me.   I knew her from being in the breed. Although we were not friends at the time she knew of me and I knew of her. Kinda Ironic this was the supported entry for the club that she helped start. Any way she approached  me and stated that she had just lost her male dog Brio. One that I was very familiar as I had fallen in love with him so many years ago as a puppy and I followed his career. I had never known what had happened to him when he was done showing as I was not close at that time with his owner. Anyway Helen told me of her loss and said she came to me because she had heard that,  I, at times, had older dogs and that I might be able to help her find another male and older one as she did not want a puppy at the time. My first reaction was kinda defensive at first I told her no I had nothing. Then I said to let me think about it I might be able to help her find something. I was showing dogs that day. I had to go into the ring I did not have time to talk right that minute but I would think on her situation and let her know what I could come up with. Well While I was in the ring the thought kept slamming in my head. Polka, Polka, What about Polka!!  She would be perfect, Experienced, and Knowledgeable about the breed also She would let me still use him for stud and Still Show him!! What about Polka!!??  My heart was in my throat and my head was spinning I knew I had to make the decision now wether or not to offer him or I never would. I only wanted him to have what was best in life. For him not for me I had to do this. With a tear in my eye and my heart in my throat and my stomach wrenching I told her to give me a call that I might have a white male that was exactly what she was looking for. That day I went home and apologized to him for even thinking of giving him up but I only had his best interest at heart I only wanted him to be happy and have the best, I sat with him and hugged him and cried at the possibility that she might actually call. In the next 24 hours I changed my mind a thousand times about placing him. Then I realized it had been a full day she did not call. May be I did not have to make that decision. My heart was happy inside because I would not have to part with my little white boy. Then the next day the phone rang once again my heart sank as I heard the voice on the other end. It was Helen. She had thought about it and she wanted to see my white boy that is if I would still consider placing him. With a lump in my throat I made arrangements with her for her to come and meet him. She came that weekend. When she came into my house waiting to be interrogated to the nth degree, she took a seat.  Polka than did something that he had never done before, He came over and literally climbed up into a strangers lap. Prior to this he would always politely ask before he climbed up into anyone's  lap. I knew immediately that this was meant to be.  Some force more powerful than I would ever understand was at work here. He just looked over at me and said Its Okay mom She needs me more than you do right now I'll go with her now. As much as it pained me I had to let him go. But only physically never in my heart. I called her continuously so much so that at the end of the first week she said Jen, this is ripping you apart I can bring him back. For just a second my heart jumped. Than I pictured his face as he climbed into her lap and him joyously following her on the lead to her car. Or should I say leading the way. I than told her no as much as it hurts me I had to do what was best for him and after all I would never take him from her she needed him far more than I did at that time. After 2 weeks she said Jen, I know last week I said that if you ever wanted him back I could return him to you, but now You will have to hunt me down if you every think you might want him back because I could never part with him. I told her that she did not have to worry about me hunting her down because It did my heart great pleasure to know how much joy and happiness he had already brung into her life. She needed that and in a lot of ways I think he really saved her.
We developed a very strong and long lasting friendship through that dog. A friendship that means more than she will ever understand. I knew when she first offered to bring him back that she had a heart of gold. As the days turned to weeks which turned into months we kept constant contact with each other our common bond was Polka. We talked about how when she came to look at him she was told that he was perfect he never did anything wrong and unlike most white dogs he did not hardly ever bark. It was not long after he went to live with her That through talking on the phone I realized why my bird had learned his name the first day I had her. It had been so natural I never realized how much I had to correct his mischievous ways. Nor did I ever realize how much he barked. I was constantly telling Helen to shut that white dog up. As soon as the phone rang he would start because he was not the center of attention.
I remember the time Helen called me shortly before shows and asked if I could get blueberry stains out of a coat as he had gotten into the blueberries she had on her counter. Or the time she called because he stole the tomatoes out of her garden. The time he stole all of her peppers and ate them in her bed. She was picking pepper seeds out of her bed for weeks. When I think of these times I have to thank Polka for making me laugh.
I remember how he was with puppies. How we used to say all along that he should have been born a girl because at lease that way he could have had puppies of his very own. He always loved baby sitting newborn to older pups for their mom's. He would climb in the whelping box with little pups and snuggle around them to keep them warm and lick them clean. Or how he would play tag with the older pups when they were old enough to be up and running around. He was always so gentle and loving with them Babies of all types. He knew when I was pregnant and never jumped up on me the entire time. He loved my son as if he was just another pup. He would let my son pull tug and snuggle up with him. For that I thank him for his kind, gentle, loving and caring spirit.
Without him I probably never would have attained the close bond I share with Helen. She never would have moved down here to be closer. A lot of things would have been much different in a lot of peoples lives. For that I will never be grateful enough.
I will never forget the end. He was fine one day at the vets the next. It was so sudden. There were no symptoms of signs. Tuesday afternoon I went to be with him and Helen at the vet while test after test was run. He looked at me got up and wagged his tail as he came over to me licked my face and said to me its O.K. stop crying I'm right here. I know you never abandoned me. I know you were always there "my other Mom so to say" or "my first Mom". I wanted so bad to never leave but I knew Helen needed time with him and he needed time to rest if he was going to get well. I ripped myself away and went home. I prayed all night for his recovery as we had no idea what was wrong other than his kidneys were shutting down. We did not know why. We also knew if we did not get an answer soon it would be to late.
The next morning I met Helen and we went together to be with him. He leaned into me He looked into my eyes and licked my face. I knew at that moment that he had just said good bye. My heart ached so much. I hugged him told him that I understood but I had to give it a little more time to find out what was wrong not to give up we were trying so hard. I had to leave. Helen needed time to be with him. It was only fair. She loved him every bit as much as I.  And it was so unfair that this was happing to our boy.
Helen called me later that day to come right away. I knew that this was going to be the end. I got there in time. I hugged him told him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. It was time I had to let go and to end his suffering. Together Helen and I held him as the vet gave him the injection to end his pain. He fell silently to sleep in our arms. We said goodbye. It was later we found that he had incurable kidney failure due to a rare form of Lymes.  I get through day to day, only because I truly believe All things happen for a reason. His journey in this lifetime was complete. Because of him lives have been touched and maneuvered in ways that they otherwise would not have been. I know that there is far more to come out of this. Destiny will be fulfilled one day, and he will have been a part of it.
I write this not for anyone in particular but to put my thoughts onto paper so that I myself might be able to cope a little better. Might be able to understand. I don't know may by I never will know the answer, But I do know one thing I owe that white boy more than anyone will ever understand. I thank him for so much that he has given me. And when anyone ever asks me why I breed and how can I part with an older dog My answer to them is going to be to have them read this and then may be they will have some understanding of who I am and what my dogs are to me.
Polka, again I thank you for being in my life, bringing so much into my life and giving so much of yourself to everyone who knew you.