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Happy Tail: A little dog comforts a big friend


Anna Rempfer hated watching her black Labrador Retriever getting old. Deja was the first dog she’d had as an adult, and there’d been a special bond between them because Deja had chosen her.

“When I first met her at the humane society,” Anna recalls, “I sat with her in her kennel run, and she stopped chewing on her toy, got up and sat in my lap as if she’d known me all of her life.” Anna, who lives in Princeton, MN, thought maybe a new best friend would pep Deja up, so she began looking on Petfinder and came across a rescue group called Secondhand Hounds in Edina, MN.

Poco, Deja's companion

Read Anna’s story in her own words.

The volunteers there introduced her to Poco, whom they thought would be a good companion for Deja and a good match for Anna, too.

“I learned that he wasn’t treated kindly previously and needed extra time and patience around new people,” Anna says. “However, I learned that he absolutely adored children.” That decided it.

Adopting Poco was a good decision: The two dogs bonded. They played and ran around together. Then things changed. Had it not been for Poco, Anna might not have noticed that Deja was going downhill fast. Like many big dogs, she had hip problems and arthritis. The little dog noticed it first.

“He would no longer instigate any play or running with Deja,” she says. “He’d only go snuggle up to her, and they would sleep together. Even if they were in front of the fireplace, Deja would never get up and move if Poco was lying with her, even though that had to have been a very warm place to lie.”

In January, Anna had to make the tough decision to euthanize her beloved Deja. “Even though I miss her so much, Poco has helped me through the days when sadness overcast happiness and the pain of losing a friend rained on my heart,” she says.

Poco’s charming personality is helping Anna deal with her grief. He often taps her had with his front paws to get her to pet him. And he cheers her up by his cute howl. “When he is around people with whom he has bonded, he throws his head back and howls,” she says, “and then it fades into silence the longer his head is back.” It’s as if he is saying hello.

But a goodbye was what they had to say to Deja in her last days. It was tough, but now he ‘s Anna’s heart healer. A lot of love emanates from the little Greyhound/Beagle mix dog who was once homeless.

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