Cameo was the love of my life, my soul mate. I wasn't sure I believed in such a thing until I met her walking into our veterinary hospital one day in November of 1994. I was recently divorced and not looking for a dog, even though I had worked at this clinic for 14 years at that time. When I set her on the table for an exam, she covered my face in kisses. She was diagnosed with heartworms. We called the owners, but they picked her up and took her to the pound.
I had a dream about her that night—something I never had done with any other patient. I put a hold on her and picked her up four days later. She never left my side for 10 1/2 years. We went tandem through both the pain and joy of raising two teenagers on my own. She was always next to me, sleeping under my desk at work and by my side on the floor at home. She loved to swim and would take to water on her own accord. Like bookends, she would lean against me at the river and watch everyone and smile. She was always smiling.
She loved children and let the troubled ones at my own children's school (where I volunteered) read to her and let them snuggle into her warm, soft neck. She was a therapy dog until I hurt my back so bad at work I couldn't take her anymore. She would play dead for the patients at the care homes and smile at them all. Even though she had a hard first five years, she lived beyond all expectations of her life span, healthy and happy. She was 15 1/2 when we had to part.