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King is a special dog. He is the first dog that came into my life when I was an adult. It happened in 1976. My best friend, Danny, worked at Stuart Hall, a stationary company in Kansas City. A friend of his knew of a litter of puppies that needed a home and she wanted Danny to have one. One thing I liked about Danny was his love for animals.

Danny was living in my house and when he said he wanted a dog, I was not too much in favor of it. When I had last had a dog, the second Lady, there were some times that I did not take proper care of her and I resolved then that I would never have an animal unless I was able to care for it properly.

I insisted that the dog would be his and he would be responsible for him. And, since it was almost Christmas, I told him he could have the dog as his Christmas present. At that time, I thought I was really being cheap, but it turned out to be the most expensive gift of which I could have ever conceived.

Shortly before Christmas and at the time the dog would be weaned, Danny told me he was going to bringing home the puppy. It was on a Friday, and he offered to pick me up from work, but he warned me that he would have the puppy with him.

When I got off work, Danny was there to pick me up. I got into his car and we said a few things to each other. Then I realized that I was expecting a puppy, but there was no puppy. I said something like: “But, I thought you were going to have a puppy with you?” He assured me that he had a puppy and lifted up his winter coat and out jumped the cutest puppy in the world. It was love at first sight, love at first lick and love at first kiss.

I will never forget those ensuing moments, although they are but a blur to me. Needless to say, I was hooked and still am.

As with most of the dogs, his life is but a blur. I remember coming home with Danny after having gone out and playing with King on our living room floor. I remember fights that he had with a neighbor’s German Shepard and some of the other dogs that came along later. And, I still have some of the scars from those fights.

I think what I remember most is the endless hours he would spent watching the squirrels in the trees. I do not think he ever caught one, but he would spend hours looking up into the trees watching the squirrels run around.

I remember that a couple of days before he died, I took him for a walk up and down McGee Street. When we got home, I sat down on the porch with him next to me. A rabbit came out across the street. He looked up and he lifted his head alertly and looked at that rabbit. He was too sick to chase it, but he still liked to look at the other animals.

King lived at our house until the fall of 1980. Danny had moved two doors down two or three months earlier. Then on September 10th or shortly thereafter, I took in 5 of Brownie’s puppies. I asked him to take King and Rocky to his house as I had too many dogs even without King and Rocky.

After Danny died, I continued to care for them and let them live in his house. In the fall of 1988, I noticed some strange stools in his basement, but did not think too much of them. Then on Christmas Eve of 1988, I realized that there was something wrong with King. I brought him down to my house and took him to the doctor on the next available business day. The doctor was not able to tell me exactly what his problem was, but told me that it was terminal. I tried to feed him with a syringe and did other things to save him, but nothing worked and he died on January 7, 1989.

I was told that twelve years of life is about normal for a dog of his size and so I was satisfied that I had done as much for him as possible. Since then, I have had dogs the same size as he live a lot longer. Of course, now there are foods especially for older dogs and I know a lot more about caring for dogs when they are older and when they are sick.