I first met Sheffield when he was about a year old. My friend Gary told me about his yellow lab retriever and how much personality he had. With in minutes of meeting Sheffield I knew exactly what Gary was talking about.
Sheffield was a medium size lab with a whitish, yellow coat, small floppy ears and a brown line running down the front of his face. His dark brown eyes seemed to talk to you when he wanted something.
Sheffield's facial expression were with so much meaning that one could actually understand what this dog wanted by just looking at him.
He had attitude unlike any dog I've ever seen. He would love to play but when he was done, everyone was done.
He would turn his nose up at you in a second if he didn't like the way things were going.
He would watch over his younger brother George and would immediately alert us when George was misbehaving.
This is how he earned the nickname "Sheriff Sheff".
He would patrol the entire outer boundaries of his fenced in back yard. He loved to play catch, tug-o-war and go for rides in a car. But what Sheffield loved the most was a good swim. He loved the water.
Gary once told me how, when a puppy, Sheffie jumped into a lake and swam out until he was nearly gone from sight.
From a plastic pool in the yard to a filled bath tub, he loved the water.
Gary and Sheffield were made for each other. Both had very similar personalities. Both were loyal, trusting friends. Both loved each other unconditionally.
Sheffield was Gary's child, friend and companion.
I was struck by the way Gary cared for Sheffield. Sheffie was his main focus and love. His true best friend.
Gary's eyes would light up when talking about his four legged buddy and Sheffield would spring to life when Gary walked through the door.
When Gary brought home a brother for Sheffield, in the form of a over stuffed, hyper lab puppy named George, Sheff at first seemed unforgiving.
He wanted nothing to do with George, except to cover him with saliva and rough house him.
After a good few hours of this, suddenly Sheffield ran to a long stick, picked it up and brought it to the puppy George. Right away we realized that this was a "welcome to the family" gift.
From here on in Sheffield was the older brother. He would lead George, even though Geroge would out size Sheffield by a good 30 pounds.
Sheffield guided him, kept him in line and was a huge part in training along with Gary.
Sheffield was the watcher of the house. He was always alert and ready to pounce at any movement from outside, especially his arch enemy... the groundhog.
Sheff made this fat groundhog's life pure misery. Sheffield would run as fast as he could to the groundhog's hiding space every time he was let out into the backyard.
Every once in a blue moon Sheffie would actually see, and chase this huge rat like creature and even once caught him. Sheffield had no idea what to do once his nemesis was caught. He kind of studied him and then let him go.
Sheffield was a people's dog. he loved them and people loved him. He had manners and was distinguished. I always thought that if Sheffie could talk, he would have an English accent. Rarely would he beg for food. Instead he would find a way of slowly cuddling up to you and then would flash his big brown loving eyes your way in hope of going through your heart for his stomach.
In the last week, Gary noticed Sheffield was breathing funny and he wouldn't eat. It was obvious that something was terribly wrong with his faithful friend.
Gary had to wait five days before the vet could actually do an ultra sound test to Sheffield to see what was wrong.
In the true fashion of a devoted friend and father, Gary made Sheffield's world his world.
We were both afraid of the results. Gary would never let Sheffield see him cry. He reassured Sheffie that he loved him but there was no need for that because Sheffield always knew how much Gary loved him.
Gary was Sheffield's world.
Today they found a soft ball sized tumor near Sheffield's heart. There wasn't much that could be done except for a very brave and humane decision Gary had to painfully make.
Sheffield, Gary's lovable 6 1/2 year old puppy passed away while Gary stood by his side. With a kiss from Sheffield to Gary, he gently closed his eyes and said good bye.
Sheffield was so lucky to have Gary in his life and Gary was so lucky to have Sheffield. They both complimented each other unlike any human could do.
Gary did an incredible job in raising Sheffie and Sheffie did an incredible job in making Gary into who he is today, which is a man with an wonderfully big heart which now and forever will have a beautiful yellow lab in it named Sheffield.
Our hearts are broken without you and we'll never forget you my handsome puppy. I'll miss you more than I could ever say.