Family Photo 2004 - Photos by Jana
It was February 2003 that my daughter announced that her friend's yellow lab had a litter of puppies and she wanted one. She had already picked out the one she wanted from the litter of six, three chocolate labs (like their dad) and three yellow labs. The one she chose was a beautiful golden male with a pink nose. After much debate, the kids decided to call him AJ.
AJ quickly warmed our hearts with his sweetness. He was our constant companion. It was so much fun to watch him try to chase the kids running down the hill in our backyard. He would go tumbling every time. He loved to play fetch with a stick, especially when we would throw it into the pond. He would swim after it and bring it back so that we could throw it back in the pond for him to chase again and again.
When we moved to San Antonio, AJ would ride with me every morning to take the kids to school and he would cry when they got out of the car. I've always worked outside the home; however one summer I worked from home. AJ was my constant companion - at the computer, fixing dinner, picking up the kids, whatever I was doing. He loved to go on hikes with us, and he loved going with us to the beach. Actually, he didn't care what we did as long as he could come along, and we would take him as often as we could.
Needless to say, AJ is a very important family member and we love him so much! In June of this year I took him to the vet because he was sneezing a lot and sometimes he would have nose bleeds. The vet found a tumor in his nose and suggested surgery. He explained the risks to us with a dog of AJ's advanced age, so we postponed the surgery until our son could get home from the Army. At the end of July AJ had surgery to remove the tumor.
We had hoped the surgery was a success, and AJ did have a little over a month of easy breathing. Unfortunately, the tumor is back with a vengeance and now it is cancerous. He still wants to play fetch in the backyard, though not for very long. He still eats like he should, but I can tell that he just doesn't feel real well. He is always happy to see us - his tail still wags though not as high. He is such a gentle sweetheart! I know that AJ is not much longer for this world and it breaks my heart, but my family and I will always have such special memories of him.