A Marines Tribute

Most of you know of my grandmother, Catherine De La Cruz, and of her dogs that have been in the show ring for generations. Most of you have also heard about one dog in particular, Falkor, who was taken to his championship by my mom, Debi Carpadus. He was also known in the Juniors ring as he was Brandon Carpadus' (my brother) juniors dog for many years (and the number 1 pyr handled in the juniors ring for several years running). He retired from showing and became a house pet, slowly moving his way from coming in the house sometimes, to living in my brother's room. I am heartbroken to say that today, Monday November 22, 2004 he passed away. Just two days before I am scheduled to come home.

My name is Tyler Carpadus, and I am a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. I am writing this from my barracks in Norfolk, VA. Because of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am coming home for a few days. The last time I was home was Easter. I learned of Falkor's sickness when my parents found out, and have been praying that he makes it at least until I come home so I can say goodbye. What most of the world saw was Falkor the show dog. What most people don't know is that he was my buddy, he was my brother. He and I got along better than any of our other dogs. He was my best friend. He knew when I was sad, happy, or mad. No matter what mood I was in, he knew what to do. If I was sad, he wouldn't leave my side unless told to. I'd lie down on the floor, and he'd come lie down next to me with his head on my chest, or steal my pillow. He never bothered or bugged me; he just said, "I love you brother." If I was sick and stayed in bed, he would nose my door open, came in and checked on me, and lied down between the door and my bed. If anyone came in the room, he was up and seeing what they were doing to me. During his show years, he knew he was safe with me. I wouldn't make him stack, or go out and do show stuff with him, so during show season he'd seek me out when he just wanted a break and to relax.

After I graduated from boot camp, I was able to spend 30 days back home. He got used to having me around again, and when I left my mom said that he'd go into my room, sniff my bed, and then come out to the hallway and put his ears up. It was like he was asking my mom "Where'd my brother go? He was just here." I was looking forward to seeing him this holiday season, and I thought I had a few more years left of seeing him, until my mom said that he had cancer and might not make it. Then the doc. said that he might make until January, but last night his kidneys failed and his time was now down to a matter of hours....not days. He was just too tired to go on. He was trying to make it until I came home so he could say goodbye, but he wasn't able to make it. I was doing some training today, and on the way back I knew that it was going to happen today. When my dad called me and asked how I was doing, I just said "what's wrong?" and he told me that my brother, my buddy, my favorite dog had passed away two days short of me seeing him, and I didn't even get to say goodbye.

He has his head on a pillow and he's resting next to his mother, Tasia (who passed in August), now. I don't know what I'll do without my buddy; home just won't be the same without him. Most dog people would say that he's waiting for a little kid at the Rainbow Bridge to go across with, but they're wrong. I have a feeling that he's waiting for me, his brother, so we can go across together.

Rest in piece my friend.
Tyler Carpadus

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