This time of year is a bittersweet one at Jimmydog. Thirteen years ago-on March 25, 2003-we lost our sweet boy Jimmy, the adorable white terrier mix for whom we named our business and with whom we shared many happy years as a family pack of three. Last year-on April 2, 2015-we said goodbye to Joey, an equally adorable white terrier mix who served admirably as Jimmydog's chief canine officer and as an invaluable member of our family pack. We miss them both every single day and were overjoyed (and, we admit, a bit teary-eyed) when we received this letter from our dear boys. (We suspect Freddie, our current chief canine officer, Joey's sister-in-spirit and Jimmydog's resident blogger, helped them get their thoughts to us. Thank you, Freddie!) - Todd and Stephanie Belcher

     Dear Stephanie & Todd,

     Hi! We are really sorry for not being in touch sooner. We really should have written when Joey arrived last spring, but we have been very, very busy. There is always something to do here-fun, wonderful stuff!

     There's so much to tell you, I barely know where to start. As you knew we would, Joey and I are getting along great. He is such a fun, loyal companion, always up for an adventure. (I need to let you in on a little secret: Freddie likes to think she picked Joey to join the pack when you were looking to make a foursome and that's partially true, but I had a little something to do with bringing Joey to your attention in the first place. I knew he'd be a perfect fit and that, someday, he'd be a great pal for me, too. Dogs get really cool new powers after we cross the Rainbow Bridge!)

     From the instant he arrived, Joey has been like a pup again. No more pain and discomfort. His eyes are bright and clear; his is fur soft and lush. (I'm pretty pup-like myself.) Feeling so good, we spend hours every day roaming around the prettiest parks you've ever seen. We have our favorites, of course, but there's always somewhere new to explore if we're in the mood for somewhere different. Just like when we lived with you, we have plenty of squirrels, chipmunks and other critters to chase. The only weird thing: As soon as you catch one, it turns into a plushie toy. Very confusing, but still fun to chew on!

     You know Joey and I aren't big swimmers-at least not like the labs and retrievers who spend their days in the water-but we like to hang out by the lakes and ponds, watching the diving and dog paddling contests. (Everyone is a winner!) If you're in the mood to play fetch or tug of war, there are toy chests everywhere you turn-all filled with balls, ropes and plushies. And the bones! Don't get me started on the bones. One of the first things Joey did when he arrived was to introduce me to the bone game he perfected with Freddie. Now, every night after dinner, we grab several treat-stuffed bones, chewing and tossing them around for hours.

     I've introduced Joey to all my pals: Arlo, Bixby, Zoey, Jake, Tango, Max, Panama, Georgia, Handsome, Harry, Sally, Molly, Katie, Hugo, and Sydney. (Although I had heard Sydney can be a little hard to get along with, he's been nothing but nice since he got here.)

     Oh, I almost forgot the big amusement park-all the attractions take you for rides in a car! We try to go there as often as we can. I usually take the driver's seat; Joey calls shotgun and we pile a few buddies in the back! There's downtime, too-with lots of comfy beds and sofas when it's time for a nap. Every once in a while there will be a little rain or a chill in the air-I think it's just to make sure we get enough rest. Everyone curls up next to a cozy fire for a long sleep. So relaxing!

     So, yeah, it's pretty great here, but don't think for a minute we don't miss you and the good times we had together. You gave us the best lives two dogs could ever want-so much love and so many adventures: the cuddles and kisses; the long walks and car rides.

Hugo & Sydney
When we got older and sick, you did everything you possibly could to make us well and, when nothing more could be done, you kept us comfortable and let us know how much we were loved. Finally, you let us cross the Rainbow Bridge, even though it was so hard for you to do. You did what was best for us-always. When we get together now with our pals, we talk about how lucky we were to know such love during our time with you. We are blessed to have such memories. Some dogs here weren't so fortunate before, but now they are living the lives they were always meant to enjoy. They remember nothing about those harder days before. For them, life started here and they will never know pain or suffering.

     Though we're separated from you by the Rainbow Bridge, as you've suspected, we aren't all that far away. From our side, we keep watch on you every day. (By the way, we've noticed Freddie's been a little lax in her own watch-dogging department, with all those naps she's taking, but we know she'd never let anything bad happen to you.) We'd love to have you join us here, but it's not time. You've got too many important things to do where you are, like taking good care of Freddie, painting all those beautiful portraits of people's cherished pets and volunteering to help all those less fortunate dogs at home. Plus, there will other dogs who need a good home and, as we can attest, your home is the very best! We'll always keep an eye out for good candidates to join your pack when you are ready to love someone new.

     Whew! This has been a lot of writing for a dog who doesn't write much. We will try to stay in better touch in the future, but Joey is reminding me it's way past time for bones.

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