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Constant Companion
The first hello in the morning and the last goodnight each night.

Almost all the memories I have of my childhood include one large, brown, lovable ingredient: our family dog, Kodi. A chocolate Labrador, Kodi was the four-legged love of our lives, and when he passed away this past Thanksgiving at 13-years-old we were devastated.

I can still remember the day my father came home and told us we were going to get a puppy. I had never had a dog before and was so excited. One day after school my dad drove us to meet the litter. When we arrived there were all of these adorable little chocolate balls of fur running around, but one little puppy stood out. He had blue eyes; he was the runt; and he was just kind of sitting there while all of his brothers and sisters were running around. As soon as I looked into his little eyes, it was love. He slept on my lap the entire ride home; he was my new best friend.  

Well, let me tell you, his calm demeanor that first day was just a clever cover, because once we took him home, he turned into a wild man! So many memories of Kodi involve us chasing after him in the yard and playing tug of war with his rope. When the little runt grew into a very strong dog, he would pull my brother and I (and our couch) halfway across the living room.

Kodi was the one constant in a sometimes-crazy childhood. So happy to see me each and every time I entered the room, Kodi taught me unconditional love. When my dad was away for work, he kept me company and kept me safe. When the social part of high school overtook my life and I wasn’t home as much, he always forgave me. When I left for college, he became my dad’s constant companion. Kodi was my first hello every morning and the last goodnight of each night. He was my sweet boy and I will forever miss him.

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Originally from Pittsburgh, Shana Young lives in Worcester, Mass., where she's a pension specialist at Fidelity Investments. She lives with a three-year-old Puggle named Jager. She hopes to adopt a rescue dog in the near future and help better the lives of animals by volunteering at our local shelter and Whisker Walks.
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Submitted by Bonnie | November 6 2009 |

Shana,

Thank you for writing this!! I remember the first day I met Kodi, I was intimidated by his size but it only lasted 5 seconds because he immediately attacked us with kisses and climbed up on your lap and rested his head on your shoulder like a baby.

And then there's my favorite memory: In high school we spent an entire evening putting up the Christmas tree in your leaving room and he came charging in the room with excitement and cracked every bulb on the bottom row with baseball-bat of a tail. You were pissed but it was so hilarious we couldn't be mad at him...

Oh, Kodi, we love you and miss you dearly...say Hi to Sadie for me.

Submitted by Shana | November 6 2009 |

Thanks so much Bonnie!!

Submitted by Labrador Retriever | November 7 2009 |

I am a breeder of Labrador Retrievers . I have not had to go through the passing of one of my Lab's yet. Eventhough I am a breeder each and everyone is a part of my family. They get better care than I do. I cannot even think how I am going to handle the situation when it happens.

Submitted by Julie | November 10 2009 |

Dear Shana

My heart skipped a beat when I saw Kodi's photograph because three and a half years ago we were blessed with being able to adopt a stunning American Chocolate Labrador when we lived in Westchester County, New York and we named him Hudson in honour of his heritage. When we transferred back to our homeland of New Zealand of course all our fur kids came with us including Huddy who had grown into a magnificent Lab. His premature passing at the ridiculously young age of three, through acute pancreatitis, was a cruel blow to our family, after all went through to get him back here ... all the love and money in the world couldn't save him and we have been truly devastated. At least he had 15 months of living down under and thrived in our beachside community. Those who knew him were greatly distressed at his death, such was his incredible nature and spirit, he was adored by many. Obviously your Kodi was cut from the same cloth. We have now adopted a little Chocolate Lab lad to help heal our hearts and we've given him a New York name - Chase Manhattan - yep after our bank, solid and dependable. We like to think that Hudson sent Chase our way. Bless him and Kodi. Best wishes Julie

Submitted by Shana | November 12 2009 |

Julie- thank you for sharing your story. We were both so lucky to have had such special dogs touch our lives in the most amazing way (even if sadly yours was so much shorter than it should have been. I truly believe we will see Kodi and Huddy again someday and right now they are running around together playing and having the best time, waiting for us!! Best Wishes!!

Submitted by Julie Clayton-West | November 12 2009 |

You are a darling for replying with that message - thank you so much - a typically American thing to do (I like to think of myself as a Kiwi who is an honorary Yankee). I've got tears in my eyes but am also smiling at the thought of Kodi and Hudson thundering through the heavens with their tennis balls. Cheers Julie

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