"Silly girl, I'm begging you, don't stop being my silly girl.  Brady-Lu,
I'm in love with you."
-Chorus to one of the songs I sang to Brady (it was her favorite).

Brady-Lu Rafiki Skywalker Thorn
January 5th, 1995 - July 23rd, 2001

My dog, Brady-Lu, died at approximately 11:40 PM on July 23rd, 2001, after enduring 10 months of being sick, and a tortuous last 5 and a half hours of life.  Brady was sick with a chronic disease called Amyloidosis, which is common in Shar-Pei's. Because she had been sick with it numerous times before, and went into remission, I believed that she would get better.  She continued eating, but she began losing weight at an incredibly fast rate.  That's when I started giving her nightly IV's. Sticking your own dog with a needle and filling her with fluids is never a pleasant experience, but I had done it before, when she was sick, and she quickly went into remission.  This time, she didn't. 

On Friday she became lethargic, and started acting like she looked:  skinny, sick and exhausted.  Up to that point, she was still a pretty happy dog, eating treats, going for rides in the car (her favorite thing in the world), and taking long walks.  On Friday, the long walks were shortened to the end of the driveway.  Friday was the last time Brady went outside for a walk.  On Saturday, she began having trouble even walking to her food dish.  On Sunday, she couldn't even manage that; the food had to be brought to her.  On Sunday she also got very wobbly, and had trouble holding up her head. On Monday at 6:00 PM, Brady took her last step. 

Brady wanted to go outside to pee, she was extremely unsteady, so I went out with her, following her to the middle of the yard, where she took her last step, unable to move herself another inch.  After having her lie down on a carpet, and dragging her indoors on it (she actually had fun on this little ride, because instead of, "Brady-Lu, wanna go for a ride in the car?" as I usually asked her, I simply asked, "Brady-Lu, wanna go for a ride on the carpet?"  It was her last ride.), she got far worse.  I began saying my goodbyes.  I spent the next five and a half hours saying them.

I told her that she was the best friend that I ever had.  I told her that she took the worst half-decade of my life and made it the best, and what an accomplishment that was.  I told her how much I would miss her, and asked her how I would ever go on a ride in the car again, when she wouldn't be hanging her head out of the window behind me, "sniffing the air" with a big, dorky grin on her face.  I sang her all of her favorite songs, and asked her if she had any more miracles left.  I then told her something that I promised her I'd put on the Internet for everyone to read:  I told her that I wondered why God couldn't send me a miracle, and make her get better, but then I remembered . . . he already sent me a miracle when he gave me her.

This dog meant the world to me, and never, NEVER have I felt this lost, hurt, lonely and destroyed.  I have a bunch of pictures of Brady on a dresser above my computer.  Whenever things would get bad, I'd look at them, remember that she's only a big hug away, and could smile again.  Now she's not there, happily wagging her tail when she sees me.  She's not there to put her head in the palm of my hand to comfort me when I am crying over her, as she did Sunday night.  She'll never be there again.  She was my best friend.  She was my angel.  She was my hero.  How will I find a smile ever again?

As she died, I told her something she loved to hear, "after making you, Brady, God broke the mold, because you're so perfect, no dog could ever be so perfect."  In the middle of my telling her that, she took one final breath and died.  I knew that she was gone before I even finished, and instead of ending it the way I usually do, by saying, "I love you, Brady-Lu, night night." I ended it by saying, "and now you can ask him yourself."

-Alex Sandell

As a tribute to Brady, and to give you some idea of how magic she was, I'm posting 8 additional photos of her online.  Above each photo, there is a line from a song that I had been singing her when she was sick.  The last line that is posted always made her wag her tail.  She absolutely loved it.  Click now to get a glimpse of the best thing that ever happened to me.