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I spent that night into the early morning watching a tiny plane fly across my screen. It was your plane, flying you from Russia to America, where I would soon meet you and bring you home. Your story was special and unique. Starting with the rescue that found you in the woods, to your tattoo that brought your story to life. Udard was your first name after your rescue, Porazhay, or Striker, was the name you had been born with. Zhivago was the name I gave you, the name you knew meant I loved you and the name you heard when I said "Goodbye".
You were a hunter although your pedigree was filled with show champions. But your spirit and strength were your true attributes. Injured during hunting, you survived on your own for those two months after you escaped the kennel where you were sent. Thankfully for me, because you had been neutered no one wanted you and you were able to board that plane.
Your tattoo was our connection. Before it was discovered they thought you were a young adult. Not surprising the way you acted. But when I saw your photo I had a feeling. Something. So when they posted the error and said you were almost 9 I wasn't surprised. That's when I knew my decision was made. You were the senior I was looking for.
You were strong as a bull but you were afraid as well. Too nervous to go in a car or be away from the comforts of our home and the hill we lived on. I really believe you were worried you'd be taken away each time you got in a car. So even your vet came to the house like the visitors you loved. And your walks on the hill and through the woods filled each day with joy. Everyone was shocked how well you did, walking with your handicapped leg after the three surgeries you had. Strong as a bull.
But when those legs finally gave in and even your spirit and strength wasn't enough to carry your weight, I made that final decision. That hardest decision. You would've fought forever I know, but when I heard your soft snoring that last time, I knew you were at peace and your pain was over. That's what you deserved. That youthful body you wanted once more.
I miss your sudden singing out of the blue. Your barking at any dog that we came across on our walks. Your strength as you pulled me down the street, trying to check out everything on the way. But most of all, I miss your beautiful, soulful eyes looking deep inside me while you lay on the couch. Your head on my arm as I stand near the stove. And your body laying next to mine when you decided to jump onto the bed every morning. I miss you Zhivago. My Teddy Bear. Eileen Pavia

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