It was September 13, 2008. Charlie would be turning 10 in a few weeks. For months my daughters had been saying that I should get a puppy. They said that when Charlie was gone, I'd have the puppy he had trained. He would teach him to be gentle, sweet, and loving. Charlie would train him to be just like him! The puppy would be no trouble at all. Really? Oh yes, Charlie would take care of him and he'd have a playmate, too. Ok, they convinced me.

I called Charlie's breeder who said she had several puppies. Sammi and I went to pick one out. Just like Charlie, the puppy chose us. He wasn't a young puppy. He was 4 months old, born on May 26th. Perfect. Less potty training! We named him Boomer.

He had huge paws. Well, 3 1/2 of them were huge. One was missing a few toes. But he didn't know that. Boomer taught me a valuable lesson - the size of a puppy's paws was an indication of how big he would be. Boy did he grow! (At 10 months he weighed 65 pounds!)

Boomer was so funny. A big, silly puppy. He had a long tongue and a "happy personality." He would follow Charlie with a look that said, "let's play, let's play!" When I gave them both a bone, Charlie would take Boomer's and lay on it. Boomer just sat there, watching Charlie chew on one bone. His big eyes seemed to say, "please may I have my bone. Pretty please." I finally would go over, reach under Charlie, and get Boomer's bone.

In March Boomer started having seizures. The vet said epilepsy. What? He's not even a year! I read everything I could about it. The University of Minnesota had been awarded a grant to study canine epilepsy. Their goal was to develop a screening test. I contacted them in hopes of getting some information that might help Boomer - and to see if we could provide information that could help them with their research.

On May 21, 2009, Boomer's last act was to donate blood to the University of Minnesota's Canine Epilepsy Research Project. We wanted Boomer's short life to have meaning. And it did -- helping in their research so that one day dogs won't suffer from epilepsy.

Updated Februrary 2, 2011