I can't thank you all enough for the love and joy your organization has brought to my life. My husband and I adopted Rafa from your organization 10 years ago. We introduced our best friend to our family and he had been by our side in almost everything we do ever since. He grew up in Orange County, CA, moved with us to San Francisco and then out to Denver, CO. He loved the beaches of California and the rivers of Colorado. But I think he loved taking naps on the couch between the two of us the most. He wanted nothing more than to be by our side and we took him everywhere we could. Road-trips, apres ski, Home Depot, Sunday brunch, yard work, taco night, camping, hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, long walks through parks. He chased raccoons, squirrels, bunnies, fox, and deer. He wasn't very fast but he had a great nose!

With a very heavy heart, I wanted to let you all know that Rafa passed away last week. He was fit and active to the end but suffered from a tumor on his heart that ultimately caused his body to shut down. We had been fishing wish him just 3 days prior and the symptoms came on very suddenly. It was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do to watch as he deteriorated before our eyes, but I am grateful we were by his side the entire time. That's all he ever wanted, was to be where we were. He was our family and my whole world. My heart is completely shattered.

It has been a very hard week, harder than I ever imagined. I am trying to focus on the good times we had rather than the empty hole he has left behind. My husband and I plan to travel a bit over the next couple months (the house is so quiet without Rafa), but we do want to eventually honor Rafa's legacy and bring a new family member into our home. Rafa made our house a home and we will forever be a safe and loving environment for dogs in his memory. Rafa was the perfect dog in so many ways. We put a lot of energy into training him and earning his love and respect. He often received compliments for how well behaved he was. Needless to say, the next pup will have some large shoes to fill.

Rafa wasn't a big fan of girl dogs, so I can only imagine bringing in a "brother." I'll plan to keep my eye on your website in the near future, but please think of us as you have little boy puppies available for adoption, especially after October timeframe. We are in Denver now, but eager to help coordinate with other regions for the right pup. Rafa wasn't an alpha, much closer to a beta. He was perfect for our lifestyle and he made us coonhound lovers for life.

I miss Rafa dearly. There are still lots of tears, but I know it will grow to laughter and smiles as we think about the memories more and more. Thank you again. The past 10 years are more than I could have ever asked for.

Jessica Denman

1 August 2023