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By Ruth Breinig

If you have ever been blessed by the love of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, you’re familiar with the kind of heart that beats inside that impressive chest. Sy’s heart had been attacked by heartworms and crushed by abuse and neglect by the time he was rescued in early 2010 but somehow that heart held onto its capacity to love.

Sy was 3 and 1/2 when he came to live with us that summer, fearful and filled with skepticism but totally committed to loving us just as we were to loving him. Over the years Sy found safety and love in our home and while his fears slowly waned, he always held onto the cautious skepticism that we found endearing and which made us love him even more.

One example that will forever make us smile was our 2017 trip from Nebraska to the gulf coast of Texas. We were so excited that Sy would get to see and play in the ocean but when he found that the water came to him and not the other way around, he turned his back on the waves and refused to look at them again.

Because he was a heartworm survivor, we barely dared to hope that he would live past the age of ten, so we were overjoyed to celebrate his fourteenth birthday in February of 2021. We found special joy in Sy’s golden years and were so very thankful for every “bonus day” when we gave him a stroke on the ears, a kiss on the nose and a whispered I love you each night before bed.

The crushing pain of loss is slowly giving way to the comfort of happy memories and while we hope there will be another Chessie in our home someday, we will carry this special love for Sy in our hearts forever.

PS The studio pictures were taken on 3/23/21 and we unexpectedly lost Sy on 4/20/21. We had been thinking about having some take since Sy turned 10. We are so thankful we didn’t delay any longer.