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Paws For Love Bandit and Amy Marie Elder

This is the love story as told to me by Amy Marie Elder, mama of Bandit the Teddy Bear; Bichon/Shitzu mix dog breed from Madison, Wisconsin.

Tell me about the first time you met Bandit, when and where was it? How did you feel and what made you feel that way?

I met Bandit when he was one month old at the dog breeder’s home, The Thurston House on March 22, 2008. He was absolutely adorable and I fell in love with him instantly. He snuggled up with me right away. Since I never had children, he was my child. Bandit arrived at his forever home on April 23, 2008.

Thinking back, how would you describe Bandit’s personality as a puppy? And as an adult?

Bandit was playful, very easy to potty train, and the sweetest dog. Bandit was such an awesome dog as an adult. Such a sweetheart. Very friendly with everyone, dogs included. He enjoyed playing fetch with his favorite toy, The Wubba. Very smart, before bed, I would say to him “last call” and he knew that meant I was taking him out to go potty before bed. He was always by my side.

And now how would Bandit describe your personality, Amy?

Very caring and loving. He would say, “My mom put me first in her life always”. Never boarded me, took me places, and lots of walks. In the Winter, she would shovel a large area in the grass for me to go to the bathroom. She made sure she was always home with me when she wasn’t working. I think he would say, “You’re just the best mom ever!” I didn’t take a vacation for over thirteen years because I refused to board Bandit. He was my life and he brought out the best in me. If I ever had a bad day, he just changed it. He had a great personality, he would be on the couch, or on the back of the love seat staring at me when I was in the kitchen. My friends and I would joke about calling him my stalker, Bandit’s eyes would follow me everywhere I went. We loved to snuggle together on the couch. Bandit loved to hang out on the deck. Not a car dog, he didn’t like to go to the groomer, but the vet, he didn’t mind.

What did you learn from Bandit?

I learned to love unconditionally. The best companion for twelve years. You don’t ever think about them not being by your side. Never knew my heart could ache this bad.

What are the top three things you always want to remember about your love?

1. I will always remember Bandit greeting me at the door when I would get home, he’d be scratching at the door, tail wagging, and lots of kisses.

2. I will always remember snuggling with Bandit, especially at night in bed with me.

3. Absolutely the sweetest, everyone would say that. So loving and smart.

When did Bandit earn their wings?

March 16, 2020

When did you join Paws? Do you remember how you found Paws?

July 16, 2020. My friend Cindy Gardner.

What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?

I am still really having a hard time dealing with losing Bandit. I don’t think my grieving for Bandit will ever go away. I loved him so much.

Where are you now in your grief?

I am still grieving the loss of Bandit.

Using your spiritual and intuitive mind,

if I could get a message to Bandit from you, what would you want to say? What would you want to let Bandit know?

I hope you are happy and ok and will be waiting for me when I get there. What is it like there? Are you playing with other dogs, especially your friend Bubby? You are greatly missed by not only your mom but friends, family,

and playmate Lola.

And if I could get a message from you to Bandit what would you like to know?

You were my child for 12 wonderful years. I think about you all the time and wish you could come back to me. There will never be another dog like you. You are in my heart forever. I love you so much and miss you every minute of every day.

Is there anything else you would like to share with you Paws Pack about Bandit?

Several of us started a Facebook Fitness Challenge group on March 1st. The challenge that month was doing planks every day. Many of us would record and post a video each day. I decided to record a video as well. Bandit is in all of my videos, his last video was on March 15, little did I know that would be his last. It’s very difficult to watch the videos, but I’m thankful that I have them.

I decided to get a tattoo on the inside of my arm to honor my precious Bandit. I love that the paw print is Bandit’s that the Vet gave me. I was sitting outside with my friends after I had gotten my tattoo and the reflection of my glass and the sun created a rainbow directly on my tattoo. We were all in shock, so glad one of my friends was able to get a picture of it.

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