Suzie Story
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Dearly Departed

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Suzie's Story

Suzie
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With a shoelace around her neck and ribs protruding from her side, Suzie entered my life in the summer of ’96. Like so many others, Suzie came from the streets. A German Shepherd-Mix whose intelligence and strength was exceeded only by the loyalty and love she gave me throughout her life.

Suzie was rescued by a teenage girl in Hoboken, New Jersey. The girl, who named her “Precious,” was forced by her mother to remove the pup after a brief stay in their overcrowded apartment. Not trusting the boys in her neighborhood who had offered to take the dog, and refusing to leave her on the street, the girl took Suzie to an animal clinic half way across town. There Suzie met Theresa Cummings (my mother), a former animal rescuer who, while on her way home from work, remembers feeling something push her across the street. As fate would have it, Suzie was waiting for her on the other side.

My first image of Suzie was that of a frail, little pup being carried down our street in my mother’s arms. She had stick-like legs, an emaciated body and ears too big for her head. Although it was apparent the young girl loved Suzie, she lacked the means by which to properly care for her and as a result, Suzie’s early diet consisted mostly of table scraps and fast food.

Although Suzie was one of many animals that joined our family after having been abandoned, there was something special about her. She exhibited an almost human-like understanding when she looked at you, communicating on a level of which I had never seen in any other dog. Suzie could comprehend not only a few words or a statement, which she associated with an action, but dozens. In fact it reached a point where to avoid her anticipating our actions we would have to either whisper or spell out certain words when in her presence.

Beyond Suzie’s brilliance, she provided a level of comfort that could not be matched. If more people had a dog like Suzie, therapists would have to find another line of work.

In January of 2006, after a long and at times extremely difficult two year bout with Lymphosarcoma Cancer, Suzie, having undergone extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment, succumbed to her illness in our home surrounded by her loved ones. Not realizing it was her last moments, I stepped out to get clean sheets for her. When I returned, Suzie had stopped breathing only moments before. I will never forget or be able to explain what followed. I remember dropping to the floor and grabbing her lifeless body when somehow her mouth opened one last time and let out a final sigh. It was as if she was saying good-bye.

Suzie’s passing left a void in my heart that can never be filled. It is in her honor that I launch The New York Companion Newspaper. My hope is that by helping abused and abandoned animals in Suzie’s memory, I will be keeping her a part of my life forever.

- Michael D. Mullins