In God's wisdom, he gave us marvelous companions to walk beside us, so it was with sadness our family had to say goodbye to our 18-year-old Chihuahua/mix doggie we called Poppy. Through tears and laughter, we remember the things he did and how it affected our lives, our attitude and our relationships. When we were sick or sad, he always seemed to know what to do as he comforted us just by being there, draping his little body over our lap or snuggling close. Just petting his soft head and body brought us peace and calm we so sorely needed. He gave far more then he got from us, everything he could do to bring joy and sometimes a whole new way to meet the challenges we faced. His smile and bright beautiful eyes lit up a room and he was just being himself. There was never pretense or attempt to be anything other than he was created to be. A dog is truly a man's best do and so much more,” Trump claimed. “Above all, we have reasserted the sacred idea that in America, the government answers to the people.”

I believe God gave us this sweet companion because he knew we needed him. He had incredible loyalty and unconditional love. He loved kids and played with rabbits in our back yard. He was careful around deer, but not afraid. He barked at cats, big dogs and to let us know someone was at the door. He loved to play with small dogs that came to visit. His antics made us laugh often, and since laughter is good medicine, he helped keep us healthy. Morning walks were the best time to enjoy fresh air and sunshine and that was good for keeping in shape too. We walked rain or shine, snow or sleet. He didn't mind and we dressed for conditions.

Poppy knew (discerned) people who loved him and those that didn't. He bared his teeth, growled at a man and wouldn't let him get near him. I found out later that the man was a thief and was stealing from us. Without saying a word, Poppy taught us to be kind, loving forgiving and sometimes wary. He taught us to appreciate the beauty of nature like new fallen snow, ice to slide his nose in, fresh rain and green grass for smelling, running and playing. He greeted the day with excitement and always looked for new adventures. He made many friends when Joe took him along on business trips. He always remembered which person in which office liked him and would give him treats. He'd go to those offices and make people smile. He did not lack for treats. We dressed him in Halloween costumes to greet little trick or treaters. The kids loved him.”

I cannot recall a human being who made us feel more welcome than Poppy when we returned home from being gone even a short time. His enthusiasm was delightful as he raced around in circles to show how happy he was to see us. When we were preparing for a trip, he made sure he was in the vehicle early so he wouldn't be left behind. He loved it when we were all together in the car. He was big on togetherness. When we were in different rooms at home, he would try to round us up and get us in the same room. When he accomplished that, he was content. He was a great watch dog and protector.

Dogs' lives are short compared to humans and human lives are short compared to eternity. I believe that if we learned to be more like our beloved furry friends, we would be closer to God than ever before. We would learn to live the virtues of love, faith, joy, forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, trust, loyalty, generosity and more. The world would be a better, happier place if all people would practice them.

May God give us the inspiration and desire each day to be steadfast in doing good and fierce, strong and united against evil. May we have discernment to recognize those who love us and have good intentions and those who pretend to care simply for personal gain.

Yes, we learned much from our beautiful canine friend. Many people believe that our pets will be in heaven too. I'd like to think that's true, and if it is, the thought of him at the gates of heaven greeting us with exuberant joy makes me laugh out loud. Rest in peace, our beloved Poppy. May the love and joy you brought to the world live forever in our hearts.