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 A Tribute to Harko ..... and other words of comfort 
Harko in his later years
A Tribute to Harko 

Harko, the proud old retired Police/Narcotics Detection K-9, that I adopted December 1, 2003,  died on July 15, 2005.  He was born in the Netherlands June 12, 1992, Harko of the Happy House, later imported to the USA and began a brilliant career as a police dog on Feb. 23, 1995.  After many years of faithful service as one of the best narcotic detection dogs in West Virginia, he was retired.  Sadly, he was unwanted and abandoned by the K-9 officer he served.  He was taken in by the kennel who originally trained him, to keep him from being put down.  When I adopted him later that year, he was still in terrible physical condition, but his spirit was strong.  My veterinarian, Dr. David Rolfe of Roanoke Animal Hospital, examined him and discovered masses in his abdomen.  Surgery resulted in removal of his spleen.  He had malignant splenic hemangiosarcoma, a fast growing terminal cancer, with an average survival time of 19 - 65 days after surgery.   Amazingly, he beat the odds, and completely recovered from this cancer, and regained his strength.  But by December 2004, he was showing signs of weakness in his hind legs.  His luck had taken a turn for the worse; he had CDRM, or DM (degenerative myleopathy),  a disease for which there is no cure to date.  The last six months were difficult.  This disease often progresses then stops for a short time, giving hope, only to progress again - a constant "see-saw" of emotions, of good times and bad.   Regular acupuncture treatments and herbs helped significantly until the last few months.  He fought it to the end, happy and loving, with his amazing drive to play, the same unquenchable drive that made him such an exceptional working dog.
(more links to health issues)

Harko resting
Before I grow too frail and weak,
And all that's left is peace in sleep,
I know you'll do what must be done,
To end this fight that can't be won.

I don't fear death as humans do,
So let me try to comfort you.
Come, let us take a quiet stroll,
And share some moments, soul to soul.

No need for words 'twixt you and I,
No need to say a last good-bye,
We've grown so close in mind and heart,
It seems so cruel that we must part.

Be sure I sense the pain you'll feel,
Without me walking at your heel,
The days will feel full of despair,
Your sunshine simply won't be there.

In time the pain will slowly wane,
You'll think of me and smile again,
You'll speak with love and pride of me,
Your extra special G.S.D.

You will be sad - I understand,
But then don't grief let stay your hand,
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love and friendship stands the test.
Don't grieve so that it must be you,
Who must decide this thing to do.
We've had so many happy years,
And what's to come, it holds no fears.

Now take me where my needs they'll tend,
And stay with me until the end,
Hold me close and speak to me,
until my eyes no longer see.

The final sound I need to hear,
Is your soft voice upon my ear.
Your loving face will fade and dim,
As the rush of heaven closes in.
author unknown to me
My Wish 

God saw you getting tired
When a cure was not
 to be,
So He closed His arms around you
And whispered "Come to Me".

You didn't deserve what you went through
And so he gave you rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He only takes the best.

And when I saw you sleeping
So peaceful and free from pain,
I could not wish you back 
To suffer that again.

-author unknown to me-

Harko @ 13 yrs.
This Old Dog 
I'm getting on in years,
My coat is turning gray.
My eyes have lost their luster,
My hearing is just okay.

I spend my days dreaming
Of earlier times with you,
When I could run and jump and play,
And fetch the ball you threw.

I remember our first visit,
I was coming to you free,
Hoping you would take me in,
And keep me company.

I wasn't young or handsome,
For years I'd roamed the street.
There were scars upon my face,
I hobbled on my feet.

I could sense your disappointment
As I left my prison cage.
Oh, I hoped you would accept me,
And look beyond my age.

You took me out of pity,
I accepted without shame.
Then you grew to love me,
And I admit the same.

I have shared with you your laughter,
You have wet my fur with tears.
We've come to know each other
Throughout these many years.

Just one more hug this morning
And as you drive away,
Know I will think about you
Throughout your busy day.

I'll faithfully wait here for you,
And though my head's a fog
My heart is yours forever.
I promise-
This old dog. 
-Author Unknown to me
Harko at 13
Take My Companion 

Dear Lord, please open your gates and call St. Francis to come escort this beloved companion across the Rainbow Bridge.
Assign him to a place of honor, for he has been a faithful servant and has always done his best to please me.
Bless the hands that send him to you, for they are doing so in love and compassion, freeing him from pain and suffering.
Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of his life with the love he has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor him by sharing those memories with others.
Let him remember me as well and let him know that I will always love him.
And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise, please allow him to accompany those who will bring me home.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of his companionship and for the time we have had together.And thank you Lord, for granting me the strength to give him to you now.


-author unknown to me-

young Harko
From a Friend to a Friend 
Harko's new dog house
You're giving me a special gift, so sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days, your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing when your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes, beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess, is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done, for it's the only  way.
That strength is why I've followed you, and chose you as my friend,
And why I've loved you all these partner 'til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift, you're  giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I've lost, and all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf, for that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right, for I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent, and through  your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you, to now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here, dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog, my pain and struggle done.
And don't despair my passing, for I won't be far away,
Forever here, within your heart, and memory I'll stay.
I'll be there watching over you, your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run...a young dog once again.
In Memory of Asta, Feb. 1997
(c) Karen Clouston

The Greatest Gift
I always knew this time would come, 
From the very instant our eyes first met. 
How I loved you then! How I love you now! 
I made a promise then and I keep that promise now . . . 
You will not suffer from a pain that will not heal; 
You will not know the loss of a life remembered, now gone. 

It is for me alone to make this decision, 
The price for the bright joy and pure laughter 
You brought me during the time we shared. 
I am the only one who can decide when it is time. 
When my hope dies, and my fears ride high, 
Just when I need you most, I must let you go. 

It is for you alone to tell me when you are ready. 
For without your guidance, I will not know 
When to lay my grief, my guilt, my anger, 
My sorrow and my selfish heart aside 
And give you this last gift, this greatest gift. 
Your eyes will speak to mine, and I will know. 

The pain of this moment is excruciating. 
Tears stream down my face in a river of sorrow, 
And my heart drowns in a pool of grief. 
For you have spoken, and I have listened, 
And unlike other decisions I have made. 
This one brings no relief . . . no comfort . . . no peace. 

For if there's one thing you've taught me, 
If there's only one thing I've learned. . . . 
Unconditional love has a condition after all, 
I must be willing to let you go, when you speak to me 
I must be willing to help you go, if you cannot go alone. 
And I must accept my pain so you can be free of yours. 

Go easily now, go quickly now, 
Do not linger here, it is time for you to leave. 
Go find your strength, go find your youth. 
Go find the ones who've gone before you. 
You are free to leave me now, free to let your spirit soar 
Rest easy now, your pain will soon be gone. 

I pray I will find comfort in my memories . . . 
In the dark and lonely days ahead. 
I cannot say I will not miss you, I cannot say I will not cry. 
For only my tears can heal my broken heart. 
But, I promise you this: as long as I live, 
You will live, alive in my mind, forever in my heart. 

So I give you this last gift, all I have left to give, 
And this will be my greatest gift . . . sending you away. 
It is the measure of my unconditional love . . . 
For only the greatest love can say, 
"Good-bye, go find the bridge, we'll meet again, 
Loving you has been the greatest gift of all." 

By Karla M. Bertram, 11/23/96 
Light a Candle the last Monday of each month to remember those lost to us.

The Animal Rescue Site
Harko's Pedigree
Harko had Splenic Hemangiosarcoma and Degenerative Myleopathy. Both diseases thought to be hereditary.

"They are your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.

You are their life, their love, their leader.

They will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of their heart.

You owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion." author unknown



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