This is my little dog Lakoda. I was looking for a dog and answered an ad in the local newspaper in December 2003. I drove more than 60 miles on a cold December day that turned into night before we arrived home.

I drove into the mountains of East Tennessee. By the time I arrived and drove down the road listed in the newspaper, it was dark. Not a city dark, but a country dark. No clouds and in the sky were thousands of stars scattered across from left to right, top to bottom. I was close to the house but I couldn’t locate the road listed in the paper. I found a phone booth and called the phone number listed in the ad. The voice on the other end of the line told me I was about a mile away, gave me the address on the mailbox which would be on the right side of the road.

I easily found the mailbox with the address given me, turned right and drove down the dirt road looking for the house. Five hundred yards or so down the road I saw a dim light that led me into a space where several vehicles were parked.

I parked my Jeep, got out and was greeted by a small dog barking excitedly. A door opened and a man came out to greet me.

“I called you about ten minutes ago to get directions, I’m here to look at your puppies,” I said.

The man exiting the house had a flashlight and told me to follow him. We walked about 50 feet to a fenced area. In a small dog house there were several puppies sleeping peacefully. The man shined the light onto the clump of puppies and I saw one little red and white puppy. I picked the puppy up and told the man I would take this puppy home with me.I paid the man, placed the squirming puppy in a box I brought and placed the box in the back of my Jeep.

I thanked the man and told him I would take good care of her.

I got into my Jeep and drove into the darkness, admiring the December sky with more stars than I had seen in the past ten years.

Lakoda and I had many wonderful years together. I could relate many wonderful adventures we had, but I won’t bore you further.

The photo was taken about 10 months before I had to euthanize her. You can see the age in her face.

I retired in April 2016 and in September, Dingo my youngest dog had a seizure resulting in a diagnosis of a brain tumor. I took Dingo to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville and began treatment. Surgery to remove the tumor and radiation treatment.Dingo had a great 7 months after the surgery and radiation treatment eventually passing in March of 2017.

Lakoda passed in May of 2018.

I brought my current dog PI home a few weeks after Lakoda passed.

Six months later the third member of the Three Musketeers, Blue a Siberian Husky passed.

Lakoda was on the other side of 15. Dingo was 12 and Blue was 14 plus years. Their entire lives spent in my care. Lakoda, Blue and Dingo are gone, but I’m still driving the old red Jeep.

I brought each of the dogs home in the red Jeep, as well as my new dog PI 15 years after I brought Lakoda home. Sometimes when I read the stories related in this group, tears well up in my eyes. The stories are similar to the stories of my dogs.