Cisco by Carole / Mom

Our beta male of the pack, Cisco came into our lives in the winter of 1994. He was a resident at the shelter where I worked, a fostered dog that had been returned to the shelter for behavioral problems. That usually meant certain death for shelter animals. I remember seeing him for the first time, walking passed the doorway and taking a double take at his large and very furry body. I remember thinking “Wow, he’s huge! The person who takes him home has their work cut out”.

My husband and kids came to see me at work periodically and would take the shelter dogs for walks. One day they walked into my office area with none other then that large furry dog and began pleading with me to let us take him home. I was looking for more of a small lap dog. I wasn’t going to give in but they convinced me this dog was special and to give it a try. Cisco’s foster mom was thrilled to hear we were taking him and explained how special he was.

The first months were challenging due to Cisco’s separation anxiety issues. But something told us that it was going to be well worth it. Sure enough, a few destroyed windows, steps and doors later he finally realized we weren’t going to give up on him nomatter what and the behavior subsided. We saw emerge an exceptional soul.

Before long he was following me everywhere I went. He was the most obedient dog I had ever seen in my life. This was real life “Lassy” we had.
He and I began to communicate in the way owners do with their beloved pets. He had become “my dog”. He helped me foster other animals. My first look at his exceptional qualities came when at one point he saved some of his canned food for the three weaning kittens we had as house guests. I’ll never forget how he he walked away from his dish leaving a little in it, circled around and layed down next to the dish of food with a sigh as he watched the tiny kittens finish it off. For a dog who loved his food and was quite protective of it around the other pets this was an act of great sacrifice on his part.

He had a heart and soul not only for us but for other animals. He trained our cat how to react to other dogs, getting after him if he didn’t act in a safe manner around them. He loved to protect and herd the other pets but I attributed his going above the call of duty to his having seeing one our cats fataly attacked by another dog because she panicked and ran. This time he wasn’t taking any chances. It was comical and amazing to watch this dog train the cat like a mother training a child. He would look at our cat in certain way and if the cat ran or failed to lie down still in the grass he would chase him into the house and proceed to bark at him in a rage. He was yelling at him, teaching him a lesson. The cat eventually got the idea and learned not to take off running if another dog came around.

He was intelligent,loving and loyal beyond words, always there for me, always protecting us, always doing his job.

He and I were closer then I ever imagined a human could be to a dog. He wasn’t just special to me he was just plain amazing overall. Everybody loved Cisco and he was greeted daily by dog walkers on our block who knew him from the many times he played with their dogs. People loved him.

This last year Cisco’s closest canine friend “Jazz” (our neighbor’s dog) passed away. They were around the same age. I saw a change begin in Cisco after that. At age 13 his back right leg became lame he was unable to walk or to move around anymore. He was in pain though he didn’t let on about it but for the look of frustration he had for not being able to do what he used to do. His mind was all there but his body was giving out. Then he began to cry frequently which broke my heart.

His condition had worsened even after treatment. We couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. So, we did what every pet owner dreads having to do and reluctantly made the decision to lay him to rest.

A dog I had not wanted at first had become a soul mate, sharing a relationship with me that I can’t even put into words still. He was a part of me and the void is immense.


Cisco, I know you are with me because I can't imagine us being apart. You are my dearest forever fr