Welcome to Lord Byron Keats's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Lord Byron Keats
My human baby girl, at age 18, wanted to grant me a wish---and she got my boy for me.

He was born in a barn in Winlock, Washington. We had pick of the litter. When the stall door was opened and the sea of little black and white furry balls rolled out I started crying tears of joy. The almost 25 years of wanting an Old English Sheepdog were over!!

I had a post op shoe on at the time and there was one pesky little puppy that kept undoing the velcro fasteners on the shoe so I could not move. I think I held every little one---except the one unfastening my shoe---he was too busy!! When I finally got him in my arms we clicked---this was my puppy!!! A boy!!

He was smart--potty trained overnight! Figured out exactly how to be too cute to get into much trouble and grew and grew and grew. He loved balls--basketballs especially. At about 8 months old he got ahold of one of my son's basketballs---he never gave it back. If it was round, it was a ball and HIS!!! Cherries, blueberries, anything round went into his special hiding places all around the house. The only ball he had trouble with, was the cloth ball shaped like a lion's head. It growled! It took him almost an hour to play with that one!

God gave him a tail---so we never had it docked. Boy was that a mistake! When he got a case of Happy Tail everything on the coffee table went flying, legs were bruised and eyes were blackened if you were sitting on the floor!

He never howled---he had the most pityful moo. Well, he was black and white like a cow--everyone would laugh when they would hear him.

His favorite time of the year was winter. He chased snowflakes and got pretty frustrated when they melted on his hot tongue. He chased snowballs that fell apart when they hit the ground. And, of course, it was easier to find his basketball in the snowy yard!

He loved toys. Every time we left the house--he would greet us with a toy when we returned. He had 3 toy boxes because he never tore them up---and I couldn't stop buying him new toys. He would get so excited with each one--but he never forgot his other toys and frequently would scoop all the toys out of the boxes with his front paws. He never did learn to pick them up after he found the one he was looking for!

He was the most amazing boy. When my husband had a heart attack, I was gone for over 15 hours. As I was putting my key in the door, I started telling him it was OK if he had an accident--it was my fault. I got in, was given a toy and ran with him to the door to go outside. There was not a spot in the house---he had held it in for over 15 hours!

As we all do, he aged over the years---still chased his beloved basketball and the oversized tennis ball that even he had trouble standing over. He grew and was a big boy---too big by breed standards at 120 pounds, but he was beautiful.

When he was 11 years old he started showing signs of arthritis. We thought we'd get him a "sister" to keep him young, so we got a little female Old English Sheepdog. He thought she was great---if she'd only let him take a nap every now and then!!!

They became best of friends.

He allowed her to think she was dominant but he knew he was King of the House. She was the only one in the house that could take a cookie away from him and not bleed!!! She "stole" many of his cookies--and hid them all over the house. Even moving furniture and deep cleaning did not unearth all of her stolen cookies!

The night before we took him on his final trip to the vet, our little girl brought every cookie she had secreted away and laid it on his side. No one in our house slept that night. We knew he was not going to be coming home with us the next day.

The next day, with his head in my lap, his babies (our grandchildren and their mom) and my husband at his side, we said goodby to our friend. It was the hardest, saddest day of my 58 years. I said goodby to my friend, companion and protector. There will never be a bond so strong as the bond I shared with that boy. When he left, he took a big piece of my heart.

I was amazed that even the staff at the vet's office, and our Dr. Chris cried when Keats left us.
Dr. Chris said "he leaves mighty big paws to fill".

His staff sent a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem with a condolence card. My family cried when reading it.

There will never be a day I don't think of him. I don't cry too much anymore, but my heart cries everytime I see a ball, a snowflake, or a big yard to chase his basketball in.

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