It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Rufus-he died here at home last night. For any of you who have visited us since 2002, you probably met Rufus, and Rich probably told you that Rufus was the only dog Rich had ever been afraid of. Rufus came to us from Las Vegas in December of 2001. He had been given as a birthday gift to a 17 year old boy who's interests quickly changed to other things-what a surprise! Rufus had to live in the backyard with very little attention and was not neutered. He became very territorial, and the owners realized their mistake but really didn't want to correct it which would mean taking some time and working with Rufus. By then he was 18 months old, and we agreed to take him.

When Rufus arrived in Redding, he was a very angry young man and wanted nothing to do with either one of us. He would stand in the back corner of his kennel and hang his head and growl. It wasn't his fault-life had not been kind to him nor had his humans who were supposed to take good care of him. It took months before he would come to the front of the kennel and even longer before Rich could put a collar and leash on Rufus. However, once Rufus turned that corner, he blossomed into the dog we knew he could be. He became part of our "posse" and was allowed to roam the property when we were outside working with our other "kids". He was fine with other dogs and even good with strangers now. Rich so enjoyed working with Rufus and bringing him around that Rufus became part of our Pei family.

For the last couple of weeks Rufus's appetite had been diminishing, and he was dropping some weight. Earlier this week he refused to take his favorite treat so we took him into Dr. Larry to determine the reason. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and given a very short time to live. He was not in any pain so we brought him back to the only place he knew as home and where he would be most comfortable. Last night he went for one more walk around the property, but Rich noticed he was laying down on one of our small bridges. Rich went to see if he was ok, and Rufus and Rich walked back towards the kennel together. Again, Rufus got tired so Rich picked him up to carry him the rest of the way. At the door to the kennel Rufus wanted to get down. It was as though he knew it would be his last walk back to his "house", and he was going to do it on his own. Even at the end Rufus lived life on his terms.

Rufus started out as such a challenge, but became such a good friend to us and brought us so much happiness. We will surely miss him. It's a sad day in Redding today...

Anna and Rich