Story Submitted by Ann Lehman

Twenty-three years ago, this holiday weekend, I fell in love. Her name was Heidi and she had been part of the foster care program at the local shelter. Friends had adopted her in February, but by May, the teenage boy had grown tired of this precious puppy. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to begin what was to be a 16-year love story. Heidi became my baby girl. She was a dachshund mix with the most loveable personality. She traveled with me from Colorado to Missouri and finally to Florida, never complaining. As she grew older, she developed a heart murmur, glaucoma, and though undiagnosed, doggie dementia. But she never wavered in her devotion to me. Nor I, her. When the time came to let her go, June 30, 2013, my heart was broken. A part will always be with her and forever grateful for the unconditional love she showed. She always knew when I was sad-be it a true sadness or just a Hallmark commercial. She knew I did not like thunderstorms and she would come to sit at my feet, look up at me with those soulful eyes of hers as if to say: It’s ok Mom, I’m here. She still is-her paw print is tattooed to my right wrist so that I may place it on my heart whenever I am missing her.