Name: Bear

Date of Passing: 12/04/2023

Message to Bear: Yesterday, with many tears and aches in our hearts, my son and I had to let go of the best dog we have ever loved - my buddy and friend, Bear. I could not have asked for a more loving companion for almost 14 years. You made us smile and laugh so much with your antics when you were a puppy; you listened and comforted me at times when I was sad or upset; you were so patient and accepting with new dogs - and even cats - that we brought into your life. It is so hard to say goodbye to you, but I know that as you cross that Rainbow Bridge, you will be overjoyed to see those you have loved who have gone before you, and they will be overjoyed to welcome you home, and you will once again be able to run and play and love.

Tell us about Bear: Bear was a birthday gift to me after we lost Shadow, another wonderful golden retriever. Our other dog, Chance, seemed to need another companion and I knew I wanted another golden in my life. My sons named him Bear, I think because he was just as fuzzy and cuddly as a teddy bear. Bear and Chance were best buddies for many years and loved rousting around in the house and yard and sharing toys and space on the couch. I thought that because of Bear's gentle nature he would make a good Comfort Dog but unfortunately he "flunked" puppy kindergarten, mostly because he was far to interested in playing with the other dogs than paying attention to commands - but that was OK with me. When Chance crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I felt Bear needed another friend so we contacted Chicagoland Lab Rescue and had a meet and greet with a lab that was up for adoption. After the initial sniffing, Bear ran around the yard to introduce this dog the "amenities" and within a half hour they found a rawhide chewy and sat down next to each other, chewing on opposite ends of the same bone. There was no question that this dog would become part of our household, and Bear would have a new friend. We had not chosen a name for the new guy yet but I had some treats and told both dogs to sit. Bear just stood there looking at me but the other dog sat right down. This happened multiple times so the new dog became Yogi .. because he was acting "smarter than the average Bear!" Bear and Yogi were inseparable, often sleeping together in the crate. They loved going swimming, playing tug-of-war in the yard, and just being with each other. As with all good pets, Yogi crossed the Rainbow Bridge far too soon. Bear welcomed yet another lab, River, into our household and not long ago he also happily accepted Ty as part of his canine family with the same friendliness. Over his too short lifetime, Bear, by his gentle nature, has mentored many dogs in our life and has helped make every one of them a wonderful pet. So maybe Bear never made the ranks of Comfort Dog for people, but he certainly was a Comfort Dog for other animals that came into this house. Bear leaves behind two dog buddies that will sorely miss him. He will always have a place in my heart.