Sugar Bear
red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)"Love of My Life" red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)
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 To My Dearest Sugar Bear:
red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)It was Valentine's Day, 1980.  I had worked red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)
a long shift at the hospital and trudged home exhausted.
Inside the house, a strange barrier was at the kitchen door...
I peeked over it, and little puddles were scattered on the floor.
What on earth?...  I moved the barrier and a tiny little ball of
fur waddled out from under the table... a precious 
puppy with a pink ribbon around her neck
that had a heart tied to it...

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"Please love me - I'm your valentine" it said.  
That was our beginning, my precious Sugar Bear.  You loved sweets 
and looked like a little bear... that's where your name came from.  
We "grew up together."  I was so young, and didn't know how
to raise a puppy.  You were the victim of all my ignorance,
and I did everything wrong with you, but you loved me anyway
and never considered holding those mistakes against me.
We bonded as soon as I first picked you up and held you close
with tears in my eyes. We were always together... slept together,
took long walks together, and ran at the lake together.
We were inseparable.  You could read me like a book.
I could sniffle my nose  and you'd know whether it was
because I was crying  or whether it was my aggravating
allergy, and  you'd come running to hug me and lick my face
to tell me that everything would be all right.
You were my faithful companion through the best of times...
and the worst of times.  On happy occasions, 
you'd wear a big pink ribbon around your neck.
My mother's death was one of the worst of times, and you've
 gone with me often to her grave to leave pretty flowers
and tell her I still love her. You rode on the front of the sled
with me after the big snow, and how  everyone laughed!
When I'd float on a raft in the water at the lake, you'd swim
out to me and jump on...  we both would barely fit...
and people in boats would ride by  say 
"Look at that funny, cute dog!" Wherever I was,
there you'd be; you were part of my days and nights.
I never realized how much a part of me you had become.  
You never needed a leash... you stayed by my heel 
every step of the way, anywhere we were.  When you would
see me coming, you'd run and jump into my arms,
sitting on my hip with your paws  around my neck,
just as a child would.  That was your classic look,
with a big smile on your face. During the one short year
that my dearest mother new you, even she fell in love with
you (...and she "didn't like dogs!"). You'd go out together 
gathering kindling and  "heart of a pine" for the wood-burning
stove at the lake house, and she'd talk to you and brush
your pretty hair. Then she'd show you the secrets of building
a blazing fire... a skill that the rest of us have always
struggled with. I could write a book about  our life together, 
my precious Sugar Bear.  You gave me strength when no
human being could.  You gave me years of matchless 
joy and happiness.  Your faithfulness and 
unconditional love was unsurpassed.
You were blessed with a good healthy life...
you were a "pound puppy"... we never knew just what 
was in your genes.  We called you the "Disney Dog."
You made it through one serious illness when you were
about ten years old,  and it seemed as though the experience
convinced you that you should discover life all over again.
I guess it almost made me think you'd live forever, too...
for when  you were thirteen years old and became
really ill, I refused to believe that I could lose you.
The doctors at Riverview Animal Clinic could do anything... 
"Make her well,"  I told them, and they tried.
I visited you every day, taking you out into the grass
 where you hobbled around with your IV and a splint on your leg.
We would cuddle and  "talk" and then on your own initiative,
you'd walk back inside and go to your cage,
as if to say "I'm still sick, Mom.   I have to try to get well now."
You stayed in  the hospital for several days & seemed better.
They gave me permission to start bringing you home at night
and only come in as a day patient.  I was so excited!
I left work early and rushed to get you!
The vet met me at the desk... "I'm so sorry... 
she's not going to make it.  She needs to be put down.
I need your  permission..." he said.  
I can't describe the terror and despair that overwhelmed me.
My best friend...  I looked at you and knew that
your precious spirit had already left us; your body 
was wrenched with seizures. I held you in my arms 
as they injected you, bringing final peace to
the shell of your body that was left with me... 
We wrapped you in a blanket and I drove home,
scarcely able to see through the endless flow of tears.
We chose a beautiful spot to bury you.
It was one of your favorite places right outside the
kitchen window where you'd lie in the sun
and be able to hear my voice as
I talked to you while I worked.  You'd cock your
pretty head to one side, one ear straight up 
and the other flopped over, seeming to understand
every word I said, and then a smile would creep across
your face as that pretty pink tongue would hang out one
side of your mouth. I'll never forget that "picture."
A beautiful pink marble tombstone marks your
special spot.  The other part of that stone had been
made into a baby's marker.  
red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)"Sugar Bear - Love of My Life"red-rose.gif (2017 bytes)
seemed to be the right words.  I keep pretty flowers
growing around you all the time, and I still talk to you
while I'm working in my garden right beside you. I didn't
know of the  "Rainbow Bridge" story when you died,
but now that I do, it gives me renewed faith that I'll see you
again someday, and I'm ready to catch you in my arms
and let you sit on my hip with your arms around my neck 
while you wash away my tears with those sweet
kisses... that only you can give.

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Your "Mom", Eunice

In Loving Memory Of My Sugar Bear

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January '80  -  April '93

Dear Mom
I knew you were nervous as you paced up & down.
      Although I couldn't see, I still sensed a frown.
          You were sad that day and yes, I know why;
The decision you reached had made you cry.
Weep not for me nor for what you had to do.
What a wonderful life I had there with you!
Where could a pound pup with no place to go
Be accepted so easily by those she didn't know?
 I had 13 years to run and good food to eat...
You to play with and a warm place to sleep.
 I know your love was undying, but I just couldn't stay...
'Cause  I'd gotten old & could no longer play.
          I couldn't see so well nor hear very much.
I Slept much of the time but always responded to your touch.
Yes, my dear mom, you gave me your all...
When I jumped on your hip, you never let me fall.
But  I was ready to go and then was the time...
You stayed at the Vet & didn't change your mind.
You  stayed with me til I went to sleep,
And then bowing your head, I saw you weep.
Mourn not for me though I am gone;
Grieve if you will, but not for long.
For I have gone  into the gentle night,
 as my wings carry me upon my soul's sweet flight.
I am at peace now... my soul is at rest;
For with your love, I was truly blessed.
There is no pain now, and I suffer not;
Because of your care, I lived & loved a lot.
So now & forever, in your memory I live on;
Since you believe in the bridge,  I'm not really gone.
Remember not my fight for breath;
Remember not the strife.
Please do not dwell upon my death;
But celebrate my life.

With Love,
angel3.gif (6012 bytes)Your Precious Sugar Bear

#1 Rainbow Bridge

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"If you could see me now... I am walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now... I am standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now... You'd know I'd seen His face.
If you could see me now... You'd know the pain's erased.
You wouldn't want me to ever leave this perfect place.
If you could only see me now."

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Waiting for us at Rainbow Bridge webring
site is owned by
Eunice Cleeland.

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