BertieLittle Bertie pretty much told you how things were going to go. When he first came in the program as a found stray back in late 2008, he was 8+ years old with chronic airway disease, perhaps from allergies, or living with a smoker. He lived with a chronic cough, which sometimes was worse than others. We were able to medicate, but never able to get him really better. No matter, Bert was in charge of his existence.

Bertie's family members were his devoted servants, first as foster parents, then adopting him when he finally agreed to allow them to do so last Christmas.

They loved him in spite of, or (I suspect) because of his idiosyncracies, which included always needing to be first - to be fed, to go out the door - and his Napoleon complex - such a little dog, to be so bossy! They managed his COPD, they managed his arthritis, and they gave him what I have no doubt was the best 2 1/2 years of his life.

He rebounded from medical crises time after time, as doctors would try new combinations of drugs and they would improve things for a time. Earlier this year, though, that changed - he would come through the crisis, but a steady decline was evident. In the last month or so, there were times when either his arthritis or breathing difficulties would make the simple act of getting up a challenge. Still, his family accepted treatment for Bert as long as those treatments truly helped.

Last week, for the first time, the treatments weren't able to help, and they knew it was time to let go. It was a tearful gathering of people who loved Bert dearly who helped him gently cross over, as he simply laid his head down to rest on his paws one last time.

With your little legs sturdy once more, Bert, I have no doubt you're herding the youngsters and settling wrestling matches all over the meadow. Until you're reunited with your beloved family, who loved you so much, once more ...

A tribute from Bertie's Dad: He was such a wonderful little guy and always had that bounce back. From that big crisis at VERGI in August of last year, I remember visiting him over those days and Jenny getting ready to leave for a trip. I remember her calling me as she was leaving in tears asking me to be sure I would be with him when the time would come. I walked in that evening to visit him and Dr. M called me into a room to say he was ready to go home. I walked back, and he was in his oxygen kennel sticking his head out of a hole that you could pet through. He was barking at me saying, "Let's go home; I am way better!" Jenny could not believe the news when I called her. From then on we would have a little crisis, and we always managed through those. The last few months he would have a crisis but the bounce backs got tougher and tougher for him. His arthritis worsened and with his breathing issues, it just seemed harder and harder for him.

His last moments were very quiet, and he passed very peacefully with those that loved him surrounding him. He was a very special little guy and the house is much quieter without the boss. We miss him dearly but know he is without pain and no longer struggling to breathe.

We are certain that Bertie was met at the Rainbow Bridge by his Sheltie love, Brittany. She showed him kindess and tolerance, accepting him just the way he was. They used to lay next to each other on the floor, and for Bert, those were the sweetest days of his life. He had allowed someone to get close to him

Thanks for being with us, Connie. It meant so much to us.

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