[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="Anastasia (Stasia) Janelle 1997 - 2010"]Stasia[/caption]

I remember it very clearly, possibly because it was exactly the wrong thing to do, but as I walked home on that fall day in 1997 one flier and one poorly thought out decision turned into almost 13 years of love. I had just worked my last shift at the local supermarket and had no job prospects in front of me. On my way home I passed a flier for free puppies. It's not like the small mountain town I grew up in was lacking for these sorts of fliers but something about the little black fuzzball in the photo called out to me and I was sure we should be together. Some convincing Heather and a trip to the vet later and that afternoon was the first day I met Stasia.

Stasia was my first dog. Our family had always had dogs but Stasia was the first dog that I had ever had on my own. Stasia has seen me through many phases of my life. She has been my riding partner, my hiking partner and my camping buddy. She was by my side through many storms, needing comfort during the physical ones and providing comfort for the emotional ones. She moved with me to Denver to Rochester and back again. Stasia was there to greet us after Heather and I got married, she was there to greet us when we brought K home from the hospital and again when we brought R home from the hospital. As the kids have grown she has been as much at part of their lives as she has mine and all while being so patient and protective.

This week Heather, the kids, and I are in Florida on vacation. We got a call from Heather's mom, who is watching her for us, to tell us that she passed away in her sleep last night. For the first time in a long time one of my oldest and dearest friends won't be there to greet me when I get home.

I love and miss you Stasia.

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