For our final installment of our “If It Weren’t For Fido” Essay Contest winners, we give you Beth Hucke’s story of Bernie, a sweet, paternal whippet with a big heart. Read Beth’s story about the short but wonderful lives of our four-legged companions and the impact they make on so many lives besides our own.

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Six years ago I brought home this scared little 6 month old black and white whippet who we named Bernie. He was sick with pneumonia, had a heart murmur and had been locked in an outdoor kennel his entire short life. The first year was rough between socializing him and cleaning up messes multiple times a day, it was like there was never going to be an end to this. But he would lay on the couch and just stare at me with those big black eyes unsure of not only himself but of his new home. His anxiety was so bad that he would hurt himself if he was put in a crate. The day finally came when he jumped on the bed, got under the covers and decided it was OK to trust people. He melted my heart.

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We quickly became the best of friends and anyone that knows me, will tell you, he was the love of my life from that point on. We would go for walks, hang out in the sun and just lounge watching TV. Two years later, we decided to adopt a pit bull puppy from a rescue. Bernie quickly became the “Father Hen” and took Penelope under his wing. I knew he was a special dog and swear because of where he came from, he was happy to help get Penny settled in her new home. After some serious consideration, we decided to begin fostering dogs. We knew Bernie was that dog that could help other dogs feel safe coming from a shelter. He was great with them and I couldn’t of been prouder to see first hand the loving nature of our whippet boy.

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He would do anything I told him. Sit, paw, stay, speak – he was my velcro dog! Every night we slept together under the covers and boy the heat he would put off and keep me warm at night. It got to the point if he wasnt in bed with me, I couldn’t sleep and was sad he wasn’t there. If I would go out and leave him, I couldn’t wait to get home because his reaction to seeing me was just the best, even if I was only gone a few minutes he would cry and wag his tail like a crazy man! It always put a smile on my face.

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A few months ago, my best friend got sick with Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia. It came on so quick. Back and forth to the vet, tons of bloodwork. He was very sick and I knew it. Never in my life had my heart felt so torn. This dog changed my life and the pain I felt when the vet told me the blood transfusions didn’t take is a pain no mother should ever have to feel. I wanted to be selfish and hold on to him but when he looked up at me with those big trusting eyes, I knew it was time to say goodbye to the best friend a girl could ask for. I laid on the floor with him in our usual spooning position as the vet did what was right for Bernie. My heart broke and Im even crying writing this because he truly was the love of my life and my best friend.

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Bernie taught me to love the pups and have patience. We have since become more heavily involved in rescue and taking in fosters because Bernie loved having the babies here. We do this for not only ourselves and the puppies that need help but because Bernie taught us that no matter where you were before, here and now is going to be OK. Run Free Over The Rainbow Bridge My Friend, We Love And Miss You Dearly!

Thank you to Beth for sharing Bernie’s inspiring story! We hope you’ve enjoyed all of our “If It Weren’t for Fido” essays!