Story Submitted by Julie Ravelo

She came into our lives during a difficult time in the life of a parent. Glenn and I have 3 children; Nikki, Chris, and Ryan. In 2012, Ryan went off to college. We were officially empty nesters. What else is a parent to do during such times full of mixed emotions? We picked Abby out of a litter of Cavachons from a breeder in Zephyrhills. Her mother was a Bichon and her father was a Cavalier King Charles. She was an adorable, ball of fluff; weighing in at 3 pounds. We brought her home and were immediately in love! Lucky, our 8-year-old lab mix was not quite as enamored with her. Abby wanted to play ALL the time and Lucky was tired and just wanted to lay around. I can imagine Lucky saying, “I’ve been your loyal companion all these years, and now in my retirement years this is what you do to me?” Lucky immediately established her alpha status and Abby seemed happy with that. It took a while, but eventually they coexisted in peace. However, it was not a mutual love affair. Lucky never did forgive us for bringing Abby home. We thought we had re-established peace in our home once Lucky accepted Abby. Well, we were in for a big surprise. Ryan came home for Thanksgiving break. Of course, we had told him about Abby and even sent him pictures, but when he actually met her, he was affected by the big green monster called jealousy! It was funny to witness this big, 19-year-old man say things like, “I thought I was the baby of the house?” and “Why did you just call her your baby?” Ryan went back to school after his break still feeling skeptical of his loss of baby status. By the time he came back for Christmas, he couldn’t help but fall in love with this adorable, playful pup. Lucky, on the other hand, just tolerated her. One day, we were sitting in the den watching TV, and, suddenly Abby starts barking incessantly and running up and down the dock. She continued in this manner until we went out to investigate. It turns out that Lucky, now 13 years old and with bad hips, had fallen off the dock and into the canal. It was 10 pm and dark. We could not see her. We called and called for her and when she heard Glenn’s voice, she turned around and swam back to our dock. We had to put a ladder into the canal and I pulled while Glenn pushed her out. Abby had saved her life! Animals bring such joy into our lives and I can’t imagine my life without them!