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My young man has received his wings. The newest, brightest star tonight belongs to the kindest, most intuitive boy ever It is just so fitting that tonight we are forecast for thunder. The Mayhem at the Bridge Reunion will be deafening. So many campers, most especially Paddy, and your dear friend Ginny have been waiting for you Aiden's story Paddy Mayhem was already reserved to become a camper, but something nudged me take another look and there was Aiden - newly retired and not yet spoken for. He was a plain red brindle hound but the *face* and his bloodlines are what sealed it for me: Kiowa Sweet Trey and Oswald Cobblepot on top, P’s Raising Cain on the bottom. It just doesn’t get any better and I told Kelly, “I want him too.” Aiden was my collateral hound The boys rode the hauler on a three-day journey from St. Louis to Connecticut with 38 LWFs! There are an equal number of stories that describe Aiden the comedian, who possessed a unique and humble sense of humor, as there are stories about kind and intuitive Aiden, who earned his CGC and was a devoted Pet Partner, sharing his joy and gifts to all he met along that path. I still laff recalling the silly boy who was a Rock and Bush Pooper who once sat on a stick, yielding himself a new one; Aiden’s first Christmas as a camper when he thought “The Best Day of Mai Life” was when he spread four cups of Graham crackers throughout the living room; the Evil Paintbrush incident; mistaking mom’s glasses for chikken; diving into the Indoor Pool to save Bea’s flying crab, without regard for his own safety Kindhearted, intuitive Aiden had that distinctive genius for knowing who needed him and when. He aced his CGC and Pet Partner exams - would he sit? All Day Long! Whether working as a therapy dog (where he often greeted his friends with a soft Rooo) or with mom, in a signature move Aiden would side-step into someone, carefully placing one foot at a time closer and closer until he was comfortably leaning into them and they into him for hugs. At home, he was considerate and careful with the senior campers yet in the next moment he could wrassle with Paddy and hold his own. [url=https://flic.kr/p/2mpmYdc][/url] Aiden had the most beautiful strong feet and they carried him through a successful career of 94 races, unbeatable in 15 of them including his Maiden at Wheeling Downs, moving steadily up from D/C to B/A and finishing at Sarasota. After sustaining an injury, his owners decided that he had done enough, and Aiden was retired and became a camper the day after his fourth birthday. Those beautiful feet would prove problematic, however; the tales of his amputated toes and “Aiden 1-5” and then “Aiden 1-4” are epic. No matter how many times he had to go to clinic he went in dipping his head, turning it slightly and smoothing his ears, and smiling! The sweet boy also sprung a toe on a hind foot and as he aged that challenge would plague him as his LS progressed. Recently, Aiden had begun laying down in two spots in the living room, always in one of two positions. At the same time, he had uncharacteristically started an outdoor projekt. His advanced kidney disease was rapidly progressing. Aiden and I had a talk and I prayed for a sign, which came very soon. Our bestest vet, who has known Aiden since the day he arrived eight years ago, was unable to help us but another kind soul from a different clinic came to Camp to give Aiden his wings. Aiden put himself on his couch and tucked his head to his left side. As he left so very peacefully, he was held and loved and heard our little song over and over … Aiden My Friend, Aiden My Friend. He was wrapped in his Angel fleece and took the few items that made Aiden Aiden: his other appendage - that Buffalo Chikken stuffy; green Gumby and red doggo stuffies from his dear friend and patient; Nylabone; treats; and one from mom: his first (of three) Pet Partner tags. Annie and Punkin had enthusiastically greeted our guests and, when given the option, chose to go to their beds and stay with Aiden. Afterwards, Punkin went to Aiden and sniffed him all over; Annie looked at him and had clearly already said her goodbyes. There was nothing but respect from both of them for their friend. There are now only two, exactly as our Camp had been when Seamie and TPGIT were waiting for Paddy Mayhem and Aiden to arrive so very long ago. Or was it yesterday? I’ve said before that the campers have the best friends, and I cannot adequately express my sincere gratitude to those who carried us through this heartbreaking time, some of whom were and are dealing with their own sorrow and struggles. Godspeed young man. Aiden My Friend, Aiden My Friend. My collateral boy. Thank you for everything. There is no doubt the thunder last night was the Bridge Reunion Mayhem and I know the feast you all enjoyed was prepared with extraordinary love by our Soos Chef and his helpers. Until we meet again, sweet boy. [url=https://flic.kr/p/2mpqzPZ][/url]