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When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.   There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.  All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.

Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.   The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent.  His eager body quivers.

Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.   You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.......

- Author unknown

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Velma/Virginia/NTBHR Shuffle Queen, 2014
RIP 02/28/15

•    In 2012 NTBHR posted a foster request for a female basset from a Collin County shelter--we had fostered (our first) Marvin in 2010 and failed!  Her picture looked just like our Mabel and so we decided to try again.  We named her Velma.
•    Just like Marvin, we quickly decided Velma was the PERFECT basset hound and thought we’d be “foster failures” again.  After 4 months, how could we give her up?  She was laid back, well behaved, loved her walks, and got along immediately with our 3 resident bassets.
•    We took Velma to adoption events, meet & greets, and she was a hit. It made us laugh that people called her “Grandma.”  And yet, she was a leader (maybe she was a “wise old girl”) and so energetic.  One of our happiest memories was of her at a basset meet & greet, leading the pack, baying, and chasing a small dog like a rabbit!
•    An NTBHR old-timer, Mittie, helped to find Velma’s home with a previous adopter/ NTBHR supporter, Rick Gaydosik.  Velma became “Virginia” and was adopted on January 9, 2013.  
•    We missed Velma/Virginia and could have so easily kept her.  However, being “successful” fosters gave us the ability to foster several other bassets. 
•    And well, Virginia turned out to be a “big deal.”  She has the fame of being the 1st Queen of the NTBHR Shuffle!  A fitting legacy.
•    Life often does come full circle and two years after fostering, we had the blessing of caring for Virginia at the end of her life.  We were asked by Virginia’s owner (via Mittie again) to keep her while he went on vacation this past Christmas.  It was supposed to be for 10 days.  
•    Virginia had been steadily losing weight; her owner, Rick sent her with her preferred diet of chicken thighs and macaroni/cheese (Rick had been trying anything and everything).  His vet was in the process of medical workup; we also wondered if she was depressed because Rick’s other basset had died a few months earlier.
•    Sharing pictures/videos of Virginia with our dogs (she had more stimulation, contact, was eating better)-Rick asked us to consider more frequent visits and then asked if we would consider keeping her.  It didn’t take much thought – our answer was “Yes!”
•    Medical workup sadly revealed oral squamous cell cancer.  Virginia didn’t appear to suffer; she ate and went on her walks right up to the end.  Her quality of life was good; the morning she died, she couldn’t settle and we knew it was time.  It was one of our North Texas ice days.  Virginia died on the way to our vet – her time, her way.  We are beyond thankful for having the honor to foster her and to have her return to us, if only for a little while. 

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