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Tessa was not my dog; she was my brother's dog. He decided one year when he was 18 that he wanted his own dog, and he wanted a Rottweiler/Lab mix female. He found a litter in a shelter in Washington State, a good 8 hours away from where they live. He saw her picture and decided she was the one.


April 12, 2004: Cory’s application has been accepted and he recieved an email today saying they’d be “happy to adopt her out to you.” The pup’s name on their website is “Abigail,” but Cory has decided on the name Tessa (Tess for short) for his new pup.


April 13, 2004: Cory went down to Petsmart (again) to pick up a puppy collar, since, though I looked and looked, I couldn’t find the one we used for Oreo (which isn’t surprizing, seeing how she’s almost 9). He came back with a little red collar - everything he bought for the pup is black or red - and a black nametag with “Tessa” and our phone number engraved on it.


My dad was initially very nervous about having a Rottweiler in his house. They were a big dog, and he didn't like them much at all. He figured, being half-Lab, that Tessa might be okay.


I figure it took about 2 seconds for him to fall completely in love with her.


May 20, 2004: Tessa loves to crawl on your lap while playing. It’s a safe place to be. She’ll grab a toy and shake it around, then scooch back until she can sit her bum on you, then continues happily munching on the toy.


As she grew up she never lost that sweet disposition. She charmed everyone. My dad, once very disapproving of Rottweilers, became their biggest champion. He told everyone at how gentle and sweet they are. For a big dog, Tessa had the sweetest, gentlest personality you could possibly imagine.


May 3, 2005: Did I mention that Tessa’s now 1? Yep. The little girl just celebrated her first birthday. Though she still looks like a big pup, with those big brown doe-eyes and big floppy ears. She is THE most huggable dog ever. When she gives you a look with those eyes, everyone has to get down and give her hugs and baby-talk. Can’t help it. It’s something about her.


There are many things we will never forget about Tess. The way she always had to have a toy in her mouth to greet you when you came home - she'd run all over looking for something. Or how, when she was really excited, she'd put her mouth over your arm and moan with excitement (and slobber all over you). How she would drool as you were dishing out her food, then eat everything you put down in half a second.


Even Tess's version of swimming was unique. Tess wouldn't actually swim - she panicked if her feet couldn't touch the bottom - but her favorite thing to do was to splash up and down the shore, biting the splashes as she went. It was a hysterical sight.


She was only 3 years old when she started limping. Just a limp. I suggested it get checked out, but it was probably just a pulled muscle, Dad said. But the limp didn't go away. A trip to the vet ruled out a tendon issue. An x-ray was done to check her hips and joints.


Her hips and joints were fine. But the x-ray revealed what looked to be a tumor on her leg. A biopsy in early November later confirmed it - it was cancer. They gave her 6 months to live.


I don't even know how to describe that period. One day we were trying to figure out what kind of surgery she might need for a bad leg and, worst-case scenario, worrying about hip displasia. The next the vet was saying she had months to live.


Tess wasn't just my brother's dog, she was a family dog. My mom, who never wanted any dogs in her house, babied that dog. She cried when we were told it was cancer. Even my aunt, who was absolutely terrified of the big rottweiler puppy when they got her, said to me one day, "Why Tess? She's the sweetest dog."


We tried our best to make her last months comfortable and to let her know she was loved beyond all doubt. When the tumor got so big she couldn't navigate stairs my dad and brother would carry her up and down. When she didn't want to eat my dad would spoon-feed her canned food. At night when she whimpered my dad would sleep on the floor next to her to give her comfort. We brought her big bones and treats. My dad would buy her her own iced cappucino from Tim Hortons when he went, just because she seemed to like them. We moved her bed all over the house wherever she went, so she would be comfortable, making sure she had lots of blankets to prop her leg up. We spent her last Christmas with her in the middle of everyone, opening gifts around her and letting her play with the wrapping paper. She seemed to enjoy the excitement of the day.


On January 25, 2008, we let her go. My brother took her to the vet's to be euthanized peacefully, rather than forcing her to live in daily pain, unable to do any of the things she loved to do. She would have kept on living for us, I know she would have. she would have done anything for us. But we couldn't let her suffer anymore. I know it was the hardest thing my brother has ever had to do.


She was not quite 4 years old.


We love you, Tessa. I hope, wherever you are, you are no longer in pain and are able to run and play like you used to. There will forever be a hole in our lives. The time you had with us was far too short.



February, 2004 - January 25, 2008



The original photo from the shelter, posted on Petfinder.

















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It is never easy to say good-bye. Please tell your brother and family that they don't grieve alone. I am glad you got to go home for Christmas to spend some time with her. That last pic about did me in. What a great dog she was.


RIP Tess, run and be whole. You're in good company till you are called to walk with your master again!

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My sympathies to you and your family. Although Tessa's time with your family was far too short, she was well-loved and your brother gave her the kindest gift possible. I'm sure she's healthy, pain-free, and enjoying her time waiting for her family to join her at the Bridge.

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I am sorry to hear she is gone. I am sure she is at the Bridge making lots of new friends.


It's hard to let them go, even when they have cancer, but in the end the right decision was made. You guys took away her pain.

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