Extraordinary Golden Fund recipient?: 

The following is meant to serve as a memorial to the gentlest soul I've ever known....

Clifford came to Tina and I with debilitating epilepsy and frequent cluster seizures. His symptoms were severe and our first doctor visit with him resulted in a recommendation for euthanasia. We both adamantly disagreed and pledged that Cliffy could have a quality of life and that we would do our best to help him realize it to his full potential. It's because of the loving people at Gold Ribbon Rescue and Tamara, his foster mom, that Cliff got his chance and we were able to thankfully see him through and witness Clifford not only survive, but thrive in his life.

Big Red reminded me early on when the seizures were severe and he fell down time after time that it's important to always get back up. He always did. Every time. Without any apparent frustration in his eyes, but rather with determination and what I swear almost looked like a smile. He inspired me and others with his gentleness and perseverance.

As time went on and he realized he was home for good, his stress levels dropped. We got the assistance of another veterinarian and added an additional med to his cabinet and the seizures stopped. For the last seven years of his life his seizures would never appear again and he began to play in the water hose. On a fall afternoon in 2011 his tail began to wag. It would wag the rest of his life.

Cliff was different. In addition to the happiness in all of these lovely dogs he had an added innocence to him. A real vulnerability and passivity that couldn't even yield to a protective instinct around a more aggressive canine passer by. He would simply stand still and smile. He couldn't even fake anger or aggression. Neither were of any interest to him.

The neighborhood kids rushed from their yards to come see and sometimes climb on The Big Red Dog. He loved it. Aside from Tina's chicken and vegetables I don't think there was anything life offered that Clifford liked more than the attention from small children. He stood still, dutifully, until all hands had multiple chances to graze his coat.... and when they finished he took a step closer for a final farewell pat on the head.

As time went on Cliff changed coats from dark to lighter red with a grey mask. His almond eyes remained as sweet as the day we met him, but his body developed some complications from mega esophagus and he would battle pneumonia time and time again. On June 7 he was called over the bridge with some help from some very compassionate doctors. He was peaceful and gentle in his departure. The pain and anguish in his passing remains, but the spirit of Clifford stays strong. This story isn't a tragedy, but rather a testimony to the success of those involved in saving the likes of Clifford and all the tails that wag when others may not have given them the chance to do so. 

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