lindsey-sm It was a Saturday morning and it was only January or February in the year 1998. That morning a newly pregnant Karen Santoro turns to her husband Bob and says; “Hey let’s go down to the animal shelter and just look  at some dogs.”  I have no idea what the heck this woman was thinking!  How does one go to a dog shelter with no intentions of bringing home a dog?  To me that’s like going to the chocolatier’s shop and saying; “No thank you, we’re just looking.”  What the Heck man!  So, we get there and sure enough, front and center, just inside the gate is a playpen with two incredibly adorable, 5 week old butterball puppies!  They’re rolling and falling all over each other.  I’m squatted down salivating, when some other guy bends down next to me and asks; “So which one are you thinking of taking?”  I turn and look at this guy and say in disbelief; “Which one am I taking?”  “What are you kidding me?” How can you separate these two?”  “I’m taken’ them both!”  With that, this woman running the shelter, named Shirley, says; “there were six of them last weekend.”  With that, my pregnant wife says; “Thank God we weren’t here last weekend!”  Karen then asks and says to me; “You are kidding right?  I just came to look today.”  And with that I said and asked her; No, you’re kidding me, right?”  Well, here’s how this story ends, Karen asks Shirley; “Can we put down some sort of small deposit and think it over the weekend?”  “Sure!” Shirley says as she looks over at me as I’m already looking at her and at that very second we both winked at each other as if to say; “See you on Monday!”

Well, eight months after they came home they welcomed their new “brother” Dawson to the family with us.  We had nine wonderful years with our two incredible “daughters and on may 28th (Memorial day weekend) 2006, we lost our tennis ball obsessed “daughter” Tobi to Cancer.  A little over a month later on July 1st, we decided to take Lindsey with us, for the first time, to our vacation home in New Hampshire.  This was the first time we were doing the trip in our own plane and we just didn’t have the heart to leave her back in California for the summer all alone now that her sister Tobi was gone.  After all they were inseparable for eight years since birth.  When the plane went down later that Saturday morning, I remember vividly as the plane skidded along the earth in that orchard, that the body of the plane twisted causing the two rear double doors on the passenger side to pop open and immediately seeing Lindsey jump out.  It was only for a split second and it was out of the corner of my right eye, but I know what I saw just before I passed out.

In the days following as I laid there in the intensive care ward, i would come semi-conscious at times and mumble; “Did you get Lindsey?”  They tell me I said that and then they would answer; “No, we can’t find Lindsey!”  And this went on for a week they tell me.  As the news of the accident was reported across the country, the side story was; “Family dog still missing somewhere near crash site” Lindsey was hero like.  Her picture in the paper, reward signs all around the crash site.  Then about a week later, the call came in.  Someone found Lindsey.  Shirley and her friends from the shelter took the 45 minute drive and there she was lying on the ground, emaciated, dirty and with a broken front leg.  To this day we still don’t know for sure if she broke her leg upon impact or sometime after.  The news was spread so fast that our local 24 hour emergency pet hospital offered to do the surgery on Lindsey’s leg free of charge.

Come the end of 2011, Lindsey will be 14 years old.  Her eyes and ears are not what they used to be but the old girl is still with us and she is a wonderful, constant reminder of her “mother” Karen who she loved, and loved her so much.