Becky, a tiny-framed 16-year-old girl with big brown eyes sat in my kitchen floor and played with the puppies. Giggling, she scooped them up and said, "I wish I could have one of them."

I told her that of course she could have one, if it was all right with her parents. I suddenly had a thought...

"Becky, you see that puppy right there...the one I call Precious?" She nodded so I continued, "That puppy almost died. Two of her siblings died the same way; they got chilled right after they were born. But, do you know what is so special about Precious?"

Shaking her head, I answered, "Precious wanted to live."

I told her the story of how Precious resolutely hung on to life, refusing to succumb to the illness that had so quickly killed her brother and sister; how she flat refused to die; and how I finally took her back to our vet that lived across the street even though he had already said there was nothing we could really do.

I told him, "This puppy wants to live and you are going to show me how to help her do that." So he did.

He showed me how to insert a tube down her narrow throat into her tiny one-week-old tummy so that I could feed her. From the moment she got the first drops of nourishment, Precious began to fight even harder…for life. Precious thrived from that moment on and became such a sweet, loving angelic puppy.

Becky was excited; by now she had decided she had to have that puppy. No other puppy would do for her once she heard the story.

You see, Becky was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of three months and had been fighting for her life ever since. She was now 16 years old and the fight was getting more and more difficult as her breathing became more laborious. Even short walks would tire her.

But, Precious did something for Becky; she inspired her to not give up the fight...for life. Precious was someone who could understand the hard earned right to live that we many times take for granted. Becky did get to take Precious home and the bond between them was an incredible sight. She loved that dog that had fought so valiantly for life and they were inseparable.

Becky died four months later and although I can't say for certain, somehow I like to believe that Precious helped her make her transition from life to death just a little less frightening. I also like to believe that because of the bond between Becky and Precious, her parents were able to feel they had a little something left of Becky besides their memories...they had a special bond for life with Precious, whom Becky loved with all her heart.

          -- Lynelle Dawson