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I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep

I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,

"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here"

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you as you pour the tea,

You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today, your arms were getting sore.

I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.

I want to reassure you, that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you toward the house, as you fumbled for your key.

I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me."

You looked so very tired, as you sank into a chair.

I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.

It's possible for me, to be so near you every day.

To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew.

In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over...I smile and watch you yawning

And say "goodnight, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,

I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand side by side,

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see

Be patient, live your journey out...then come home to be with me.

- Author unknown

Belmont Shores Canine Icon Rosie Passes Away

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 1:56 PM PST

Twelve years, three months, 17 days.

For a typical English Bulldog, that life span is longer than average.

But for Belmont Shore residents and the many people who knew Rosie outside the borders of Long Beach, there are several reasons why the red brindle bulldogs life will stretch beyond the limits of her time on earth as a four-legged member of our community.

Rosie died of cardiac arrest at approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, at a 24-hour emergency animal clinic in Norwalk.

At the end of December, Rosies owner, Justin Rudd, said he noticed Rosie gasping for breath at night due to excessive panting. Rosie began taking four medications, which included three antibiotics and one pain reliever for her arthritis. On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Rudd said Rosie was getting better and lying on her favorite armchair with her head propped so she could breathe easier.

Shes eating well, doing well with the breathing, and we think shes back to her old self, Rudd said on Jan. 20. Literally, her old self.

From the day that a former partner of Rudd purchased the football-sized 4-month-old pup from a breeder in Ontario and brought her home, Rudd said that he was a changed man.

It was a total surprise, said Rudd of Rosies appearance at his home in January 1998. I grew up with dogs that were outdoor dogs … I always liked animals, but I began to care for them more deeply than ever when I got her.

Rosie was the inspiration for Rudd, the founder of the nonprofit organizations Haute Dogs and the Community Action Team (C.A.T.), to organize a special off-leash event for dogs to play in the sand at the end of Granada Avenue on June 24, 2001. The Long Beach City Council unanimously approved the area as the permanent Dog Beach Zone on Oct. 31, 2004. To this day, it remains the only off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County.

Belmont Shore residents embraced what only could be called the neighborhoods mascot. On Rosies Facebook fan page (which has more than 500 fans as of Tuesday), people have shared their memories of Rudd pulling her down Second Street in her red wagon, watching her joy at stepping out on the sand of the dog beach on those four stubby legs, cheering on the winners Rosie once judged at the Bulldog Beauty Contest, and the endearing (although slobbery) kisses she happily doled out at events like the Howloween Dog Parade.

Some people say that Ive lived my life with my dog, Rudd said. I work from home, so I would say that 80% to 90% of her life we were in the same room. We were together all the time. She lived a very good life. She took care of me and accomplished a lot for the community as my inspiration.

Rudd and Rosie were Grand Marshals one year in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade and the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade in Long Beach; Rosie might have been the first dog to ever participate in the Long Beach Marathons Bike Tour as she rode in the back of Rudds bicycle; Rudd and Rosie appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno around seven years ago because of the popularity and national attention garnered by the Howloween Dog Parade; Rosie visited classrooms while Rudd delivered presentations on pet ownership; and Rudd and Rosie even were contestants in a game show together on Animal Planet.

Rosies liking of Rudds current partner, Ralph Millero, was akin to passing the test with a love interests friends or parents. Millero and Rudd moved in together and adopted another English Bulldog, Riley, who recently celebrated his fourth birthday. Rudd said Riley was Rosies playmate and walked beside her as she rode in the wagon. Now that his sister is gone, Rudd and Millero are trying to keep him entertained.

Rudd described the bulldog breed as loveable, family-friendly, and great with children. Although a bulldog only is expected to live between eight and 10 years, Rudd said the solace in his grief surrounding Rosies death is all the photos, videos and memorabilia he acquired of his dog.

I really want to tell people who have dogs, especially those who are in their senior years, to take photos and videos of your dogs regularly, Rudd said. The day that they do pass on, you can look back on the memories. I danced with Rosie, I ate with Rosie, we took so many trips down Second Street in her wagon where she had a queens view of the street. Im so glad I did.

Rosie was cremated Monday in Huntington Beach. A free public memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at the dog beach. Parking is available at 1 Granada Ave. Rudd requests that any donations be made to Haute Dogs to contribute to spaying and neutering programs and shelter pets.

Although there is no concrete proof that there is a dog heaven, for Rudd and Rosies friends in Belmont Shore, that heaven does exist, in their hearts and in the collective memory of the community.

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