After 13 years in our pack, our beloved Audrey has passed away. Help us honor her memory while helping other dogs find loving homes.

At just 9-months of age, Audrey was already a two-time loser on her third stint in the Pinole animal shelter, having been abandoned first for being "too energetic," and a second time for requiring minor surgery to correct her entropion (a common and easily corrected eye condition). Just days before she was scheduled to be put down, Ben and I received an email from a volunteer at the shelter asking whether we might be interested in her. You see, only a week prior, we had made plans to adopt a different dog from the shelter, who, unfortunately, had passed away due to undiagnosed parvo before we even had a chance to bring him home.

We didn't know whether we were ready to move on, but she looked so sweet with her giant head and her purple tongue and her bright pink nose. Besides, we already had all that doggie paraphernalia...

We picked her up the next day. We called her "Audrey," like in the Monty Python sketch: "This is my wife, Audrey. She smells a bit, but she has a heart of gold." We hit the nail on the head. Audrey was as sweet, friendly and good-natured a dog as could be. She was our constant companion; a trusted friend; a hairy, unemployed roommate; and the doggie love of our lives. She filled our lives with hijinks and happiness. And, yes, she smelled a bit.

Though it seems like only yesterday we were bringing her home for the first time, we were lucky enough to share 13 wonderful years with our girl. Until the last two weeks of her life, she had never had so much as a cold –- only spending major time at the vet for a bee sting and for surgery following an attack by another dog. Into her 13th year, passersby mistook her for a puppy. Vets marveled at the health of her teeth. But, out of the blue, she began to grow weak and we couldn't understand why. In a matter of days she could no longer walk. Finally, we found a specialist who gave us the unbearable news: It was cancer and it was terminal.

We spent our last day with Audrey at the beach. We watched the sun set. We came home and she got to eat half a cheese pizza and a meatball -- two foods she had always wanted but was never allowed. Ben and I did not sleep, but spent the night taking turns holding her and telling her how much she has meant (and still means) to us.

We are devastated by her loss. We will never stop loving or missing her. She was the best of us, by far.

Ben and I wish to honor Audrey's memory, and help ensure other people and dogs will experience the kind of relationship we were lucky enough to have. Please join us in donating to the San Francisco SPCA.

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