Rosie's story is a heartwarming tale that makes you realize dogs have interior lives we sometimes know very little about, if anything at all. Her owners sent it to me recently. She knows about showing up when you're needed and helping when others are too weak to help themselves. Her owner Valli writes from Rockland, Maine:Janice Lloyd in USA Today
I have a 130 pound Newfoundland named Rosie. When I brought her home as a puppy she became good friends with my next door neighbor, Mary. Mary had grown up in Newfoundland and instantly fell in love with this black fluffy puppy.
She took her for walks and would let her out of the back yard fence for a tussle many afternoons.
About a year after we got Rosie, Mary fell ill with lung cancer. For awhile she seemed to be doing well after chemo and radiation. When the cancer returned, Mary retreated to her house. It seems that in the town she had grown up in, cancer was a shameful thing, one you kept a secret for as long as you could. It was Maine, it was winter, we left for work in the dark and got home in the dark and didn't notice that it had been some months since we had seen Mary.
That spring, my husband Greg, saw Mary briefly and told me she was clearly dying. A week later she was dead. My husband and son went to the funeral, I was away on a business trip. Once they got home, they had an astonishing story to relate.
Mary's two brothers from Newfoundland, on discovering that Greg and my son Dash, lived next door and were the owners of Rosie revealed that every day for the last few months of Mary's life, Rosie had hopped the fence between our yards, went to Mary's deck and barked to be let in. Mary's husband Keryn, or one of her brothers would open the door and Rosie would bound in, lick Mary's face, lay down next to her for awhile and then be walked back to our yard and let back in through the gate.
Mary's husband Keryn, said they never told us because they were afraid we'd lock Rosie inside if we knew she could jump the fence. That Mary loved seeing her and it brought Mary comfort.
At that moment, I realized that Rosie had a separate life from ours, with her own business, loves and obligations and she did what she had to do to meet them. The fence she leap over was 4 feet tall. Rosie continues to have a relationship with Keryn, Mary's husband. He always keeps a cookie in his pocket for her and she listens for sounds of him doing yard work. I don't know if there is anyone else in the neighborhood she visits.