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Opinion - Happy sweet 16 to our beautiful Rosie
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“Every dog should have a boy.”

If any of you remember the “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” cartoon, that was the tagline the scientist dog Mr. Peabody would say about his adopted boy Sherman.

My wife and I thought that made a lot of sense when we adopted “Rosie” in 2005 from the Bulloch County Animal Shelter, just in reverse – every boy should have a dog. And our three boys have loved her from the moment she came into our lives almost 16 years ago.

Rosie turned “sweet 16” on Wednesday. We adopted her in mid-July of 2005 when she was about four weeks old, so we decided that June 16 would be her birthday moving forward. We cut up some steak and mixed it with her kibble for a little treat and gave her lots of hugs, which we do anyway. 

All of us have read different formulas for trying to figure how a dog’s age translates into human years. It doesn’t matter. Rosie is an old dog. 

She is a medium to large dog who weighs 70 pounds and our vet has told us most dogs her size rarely live as long as she has.

She is completely deaf and can’t get up off our wood floors without an assist from one of us, but her quality of life, from my human perspective, seems pretty good. She sees well, still has an excellent appetite and can walk OK by herself once helped to her feet. 

She doesn’t wag her tail much anymore, but I can tell she’s happy to see me after I’ve been away most of the day because she gets up immediately to come see me when I come in the door. And I am very happy to see her.

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Rosie has been a member of our family for 16 of the 27 years my wife and I have been married. Our youngest son had just turned 5 when we got her and he barely has any memories pre-Rosie. She has seen all the boys grow up, graduate high school and start their lives. When the oldest came home for a visit last month after moving to San Diego last year, he headed straight to Rosie when he came in the door.

If you have allowed a dog or dogs to become a part of your life, you know they are not just a pet. While they are not your children, your responsibilities for their health and well-being are the same. And they return your care and affection with a joy that always has made any dog owner’s life much happier.

Along with Rosie, I’ve been fortunate to have 10 other dogs (and six cats!) be a part of my life. Each with a different and wonderful personality and all offering a devotion that made me feel unworthy of such. 

Rosie has been with me four years longer than any of my other dogs. As well as just being a loving companion, she will always have a special place for me because she has been part of my sons’ growing up. All three have a love for dogs that my wife and I believe has helped make them kinder souls.

I know Rosie won’t be with us much longer and that makes my wife, my sons and me sad. But today I am grateful and so happy she became a part of our lives 16 years ago. 

Happy birthday, Rosie. My wonderful, sweet girl.

Jim Healy may be reached at (912) 489-9402.

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